@ToddKincannon has done us conservatives on Twitter a world class service with his idea around the hashtag #TGDN (Twitter Gulag Defense Network). If you want to know the background on what #TGDN is all about, you can read Foolish Reporter’s excellent piece.
The strength behind this network is thousands of old and new Twitter users creating new links by following each other en mass. Fine as far as it goes, but Twitter has a few (okay, a bunch!) of rules that sometimes stand in the way of getting all the followers one wants. In addition to following to many to fast as mentioned in Foolish Reporter’s piece linked above, one must have at least (or around) 1,900 followers in order to follow more than 2,000 people.
Yesterday I began noticing tweets from many well wishers, pleading for more followers on behalf of people stuck at the 2,000 following level because of having only 1,200 or 1,300 followers. I also began to get direct messages from some I had followed a day or so before, letting me know that they were stuck at 2,000 following and would follow me back as soon as they broke through the barrier.
I myself was just over 1,600 followers and was following around 1,800. I also had over 200 not following back, some who I recently followed and just hadn’t yet followed me back and others who I’ve followed for a long time who will never follow back; mostly politicians, columnists, talk radio hosts or other personalities with tens of thousands of followers.
I began to realize if I didn’t start approaching the challenge of more followers tactically, I could get caught in what looks to becoming a Twitter gridlock (a twitlock?). So here’s what I came up with:
- do not immediately start following as many people as you’re “allowed” each day until you’ve hit the magic 2k. I’m not sure what is a good ratio of followings to followers, but I’d guess keep them within 100 to 150 of each other.
- once you are at 1,500/1,600 followers, be careful of who you follow from that point. Don’t follow someone who is at or close to the 2K limit if they only have 1,100 followers; they may not be able to follow back very soon. You can go back and follow them after you’re well past the 2K barrier.
- think twice about following someone who has thousands of followers but only hundreds they are following; they might not follow you back.
- I have had to unfollow some of the politicians/columnists/personalities to free up some head room for following people who will follow back. I can go back and follow them again later.
- use one of the free Twitter support apps, such at Tweepi or who unfollowed me to find out who’s unfollowed you lately (and routinely). I’ve had several people who I followed and they returned the follow only to later unfollow.
If anyone has any other ideas or tips, just leave them in the comments section or send me a tweet!
Updated 20130112 15:30: The last couple of days has revealed a couple more tactics that should help get you past Twitlock (though while I’m well past 2400 following and 2200 followers, I still get put into a modified form which I’ll discuss later).
- there seems to be quite a few folks that appear more interested in gaining followers than participating in a gulag defense network. Don’t follow anyone with a follow/follower ratio of less than 50%. (I’ve adopted a 25% standard unless the numbers are low [say 50/130]. Figure I can always come back later and see if they’ve gotten with the program.)
- If I see someone has been tweeting within the last couple of hours and they haven’t followed back 300-400 followers, I pass on following.
- once I passed my magic numbers (which BTW seen to be somewhere in the 1850-1865 range), I made a point to follow everyone on the TGDN 2K limit Help list created by
@BatteredCitizen (thanks!). The sooner these people are past Twitlock, the sooner they can add their strength to our numbers.
Again, if anyone has any other ideas, add a comment below or Tweet me.
One last thought; don’t get intimidated by the seemingly millions of tweets streaming on your timeline. Start using lists to identify those people you may want to keep closer tabs on, and then focus more on those lists.
Random thought: if someone started reading this post and had no idea what Twitter was … they would leave thinking “what the he…. heck is this idiot talking about?”
Updated 20130123 07:55: Having had a number of people ask specifically about “what do I do if I’m already stuck at 2000 and only have 1400 followers.” here’s my best advice:
- go to one of the Twitter apps mentioned above or sign up on JustUnfollow (I like this app because it shows you everyone’s total followers and follows) and click on “Non Followers” on the left menu. Sort the list by “oldest first” and start looking for those you followed who are not following you back … and aren’t also locked at 2000 themselves.
- If someone has 500 followers and are following 300 (or any such combination of follows to followers), unfollow them! Chances are slim they will ever follow you back.
- If you followed someone three weeks ago and they haven’t followed you back (and they aren’t stuck at 2000 following), they aren’t active tweeters; unfollow them. You can always go back later and follow anyone you unfollowed if you want.
- Be more selective of those you follow after you’ve cleaned up your tarty follows. Only follow someone who has tweeted in the last couple of days. At this point, don’t follow anyone who follows 75% or less of his followers.
After you’ve reached around 1850 followers you’ll be able to begin following more (read a tweet that the actual number is 1821 but I have not confirmed). At that point, you now are locked by the 10% rule! You may only follow 10% more than follows you … are you glad?