Technology & Internet7 Twitter Turnoffs

Whenever I decide whether I want to follow someone on Twitter or not, there are a few "red flags". And I'm not talking about Twitter accounts that are obviously spam. I'm talking about things that I notice in a few seconds of looking at a Twitter profile and that make me decide NOT to follow a person (back).


Twitter can be used for various purposes, in various ways, so these are subjective "turnoffs". Before reading further, please know that I don't want to criticize anyone's tweeting style. If it works for you & your goals, power to you!

I'm talking from the point of view of a person who wants to promote useful things on Twitter, get interesting updates from others in her timeline, have followers and followees with whom she can interact, and grow surely but steadily. You know, the way Twitter was supposed to work :).

So here are my 7 Twitter turnoffs:

#1 Only promote content from their own blog/website

This has to be the biggest turnoff because it shows that the person is not interested in what others have to say and confuse Twitter with an RSS feed.

#2 No interaction with others

I quickly scroll down to see what tweets go out from that account. If I don't see any interaction with anybody, it's a red flag because it shows you probably never read what people you follow are saying, and, I might be old-fashioned in this, but I believe Twitter is also a tool for interaction.

#3 Number of people they follow is in the 5 digits range or close to zero

I admire your enthusiasm, but even when you're only following hundreds of people it's sometimes hard to keep track of who's tweeting what. I don't even want to imagine how fast the Twitter wheel spins when you're following over 10,000 accounts. How are you ever going to see my tweets and give us a chance to interact?

Another red flag is when the number under 'following' is close to zero, but this doesn't happen very often. Some celebrities get away with this. As do some famous people with turnoff #1.

Some people can only promote their own links and can follow no one, and they still get a big following just because they're so famous and/or interesting that we eat up whatever they say. But this is an exception to the rule.

#4 Latest updates are a total bore or low quality

No one is going to go through your whole Twitter history. The first and only thing anyone sees is the latest tweets. If those aren't interesting and appealing enough, if they don't show that you're offering quality information and/or interacting with others, what will?

#5 Unappealing profile description

This is very subjective to everyone. For example, I only want to follow people with whom I share the same interests, or who I find interesting in one way or another. If your profile description says you are an accountant and tweet about gaming, there's no sense for me to follow you because I'm not interested in either of those things (which obviously doesn't mean that they're not interesting for others).

Make sure your profile description fits who you are and what you're interested in. It will help you get followers with whom you can have a genuine Twitter-ship. :)

#6 Repeating the same updates over and over again

I get it. You also have a Facebook page and you love it and you want to have millions of followers there too. But, please, don't tell me about it ten times a day. Unless I'm your business partner, I don't care about it too much. And if I'm the type of person who you want to click on your page and like it, and be interested in it and so on, I will get the point the first, second or third time you tell me about it.

If you need to repeat something, maybe for the new followers, maybe to remind people of a great piece of content, do it every few days or every couple of weeks. People forget (thank god), but give us a chance to!

#7 Too many or too few tweets

If your last tweet was five months ago and your next one will be in 2014, you don't need a Twitter account. If you send 300 tweets per day, every day, you're probably a machine.

Again, you might disagree with me on some of these because Twitter is, in the end, a tool, and we each choose to use it in our own way.

So, what are YOUR Twitter 'red flags'?


Cv_photoSabina VargaFreelancerCopywriter, blogger, communication strategist


Strategic Planner and Copywriter Ann DruceStrategic Planner and Copywriter Ann DruceClean out the dead wood and bots

This sounds all too familiar. When I opened my Twitter account I followed almost anyone who followed me, and going through my (relatively small) list of contacts to evaluate them was a bit time-consuming. Happily someone suggested and I recommend it if you’d like to trim the quantity and aim for quality instead.

Sabina VargaSabina Varga

I did the same in the beginning, but now I just pay attention when I follow someone new. Thanks for the tip! A clean-up comes in handy every once in a while :).

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Erin  NelsonErin NelsonAesthetics

Hey Sabina,

Thanks for your article - you make some great points. I'm definitely with you on zero interaction tweets of low quality being reasons to stay away.

For me, it is also a red flag when they person has not changed their twitter egg (rookie move) or background picture. This tells me they are not really invested or interested in the platform.

Along these lines, if the tweets look sloppy or are hard to decipher b/c there are too many (or poorly spaced) hashtags, it is also a turnoff. When presentation is clean, it inspires interaction and makes it easier to access the information they want us to see in the first place.

These are small things, but in the huge sea of Twitter, they are deal-breakers for me.

Look forward to reading more from you!


Sabina VargaSabina Varga

Hi Erin,

You make some good points. Too many and poorly used # is definitely a turnoff, and anyone who's serious about using Twitter should have a profile pic. With the background picture I don't bother that much. I'd rather see a clean default background than a poorly edited one.

Thanks for your comment! :)

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Tech marketing content developer Susan TatumTech marketing content developer Susan TatumNo photo

Good list, Sabina. I also hesitate to follow anyone who hasn't bothered to upload a photo. And I just realized I dont have a photo here on ExploreB2B. I'd better get on that!


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Hoda MaaloufHoda MaaloufTwitter is not a broadcast medium!!

Interesting article!
Not long time ago, I was following a twitter "Guru" (50000 followers or so) who kept prieching that "Twitter is not a broadcast medium, but a medium for interaction". I replied to her tweet with a simple test to check whether she would reply to me. But she failed to do so. I tried again and again with no success. I decided not to follow her anymore: if she can't apply what she is teaching people to do why would I be interested in her broadcasts!


President/CEO Tunesmith Entertainment Nan CassidyPresident/CEO Tunesmith Entertainment Nan Cassidy

I haven't used twitter very long and find it really hard to gain followers but I think quality beats quantity every time. My pet peeve is the people who do every kind of selfpromotion out there just to build up numbers in order to be named social media guru or something similiar. If you use "force following" techniques just so you can flaunt yourself to raise yourself up on meaningless lists your probably NOT someone I would follow. I agree with mostly all Sabina said. I'll take 1000 really interesting folks over 500,000 unknowns any day!

Sabina VargaSabina Varga

Agreed, Hoda. The so called "guru's" you mention think they can get away with it because they have a lot of followers - and they do, most of the time. Which is fine, as long as others are willing to put up with it :).

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Entrepreneur Idehen kelly OsahenEntrepreneur Idehen kelly OsahenLEARNING BEFORE APPLICATION

Twittter like most other online media tool, comes with a number of tips and guidelines, most people never even bother what a privacy agreement or license agreement is talking about.
When opening a twitter account there are a number of useful informations and tips, you only have to be patient and deligent as the read may not be easy, but the information gained would undoubtedly improve your twitter account. This also applies to most ither online accounts.

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Ravi PathakRavi PathakTwitter is social Media tool

Twitter is count in best social media tool.. Where within 160 character you have to mention your story title and interest. Facebook and twitter is the place where lot of people make joining and friends too. people also use the twitter to share thoughts. Following and get followers are the part of the twitter where some of the people who are less following other but have lot's of follower is just because of popularity.
From:Website Development Company

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Amber FergusonAmber Ferguson2 more red flags

Although I'm relatively new to Twitter, two things have already really begun bugging me: those who frequently post only quotes (a few from time to time are OK), and those whose tweets are misleading. For example, I just followed an interesting tweet about what appeared to be a post regarding writer's block, and it was just another post trying to sell social media marketing help.

Alina CincanAlina Cincan

For those who are posting misleading tweets, there is a button called Spam. I use it. A few of these people replied to my tweets with a link. I followed thinking it may be relevant. It wasn't. It was advertising some product I had no interest in, so I reported them as Spam. Simple.

As for the rest of the points, nicely put, Sabina. I wrote an article on whether you should follow everyone back, like some "gurus" preach. I beg to differ.

Sabina VargaSabina Varga

Good info, Alina. I definitely agree that you shouldn't follow everyone back. People who you follow (and who follow you back) randomly are almost never going to click your links and interact with you and ever be interested in what you have to say. It's just a waste of time.

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Maria AprilMaria AprilSimple mistakes

This is very interesting and extremely helpful for those just joining twitter. It is so easy at the beginning to just follow everybody because you want to be followed back. I think at the beginning this is fine but eventually your followers should be people you have similar interests with. But lets face it, if your not familiar with Twitter these mistakes can easily happen but great article!

Sabina VargaSabina Varga

Thanks, Maria! I'm glad you liked it. I agree, in the beginning it takes a while to figure out how it all works and it's useful to get some hints. But I think the best advice for new users is to have patience, as no miracle will happen overnight.

M.A. Chris RoseM.A. Chris Rose

Great article and great replies.

It would appear, after about a year of Twitter, that I'm doing most things - not all - right - I actually have three different Twitter accounts for different reasons.

The third account has taken off leaving the other two somewhat in the shade - though they're now coming on better.

It's absolutely right, to think about why you would follow someone; look at their recent tweets - is there interaction; is there a personality?And if you ARE hoping to promote your work, which is fine, then make sure to promote others to0, those who work in the same field. Real good relationships can develop from it, and that's what Twitter's about for me.

No plug, but, coincidentally enough, I wrote a bit of a fun blog on this very subject a couple of weeks ago.

The above point about quotations inspired me to give you the link:

Great thread.



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Jon BakerJon BakerGreat checklist

Good list and I've shared it with some others.
The odd thing is how many people behave like this on Twitter, but complain about others who do!

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