Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Sirens' Golden Gaze

Ever heard the Siren's call?

Star spangled shades shade your eyes
But could never hide your golden gaze.
Red summer skies bright your smile
And could never hide your golden gaze.
Have you ever answered it?

When it comes to Twitter, I'm amazed by the number of attractive young women who seem to like the cut of my jib and choose to Follow me. Until I realize that all of them are singing the same shanty, luring me like Odysseus to the island of Anthemusa, into an amusing cul-de-sac awash with alluring images, identical tweets and click-through links to heavily-monetized aggregation websites.

So, especially if you have a Follow Back policy, how often do you vet your Twitter Followers? How easy is it? And why should you vet at all? The answer to those questions depend upon a variety of factors.

It depends first and foremost upon why you're using Twitter. If it's a social medium to keep in contact with acquaintances, then you're unlikely to have a huge following, so vetting and blocking users should be plain sailing.

If instead your Twitter account is a medium for advertizing yourself, your products or services, whether that be material goods or ideas, you might like to take a different tack. Who follows you can have a serious impact on your Klout as well as the usability of Follower data for trending marketing metrics.

Whatever way you use Twitter, the more you're followed, the harder it is to keep track personally of who it is that's following you and to clear the decks of those Sirens, pirates and other bucaneers.

Various sites, such as SocialOomph and TrueTwit, offer automated vetting services to help you weather the storm of spam followers. These can include the requirement for followers to validate themselves. But this validation step can also put off a lot of potential followers, some of whom may see this firewall as either self-aggrandizement or an intervention by the World State. It's counter-culture to what Twitter stands for.

Ultimately, the choice is yours on how to pump the bilge.

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