The 5 Most Annoying Types of Twitter Users

I love Twitter, I do.  Even though I took a while to “get it”, and then even longer to “like it”, I’m now a fan.  I have, however, made a conscience effort to limit not only my presence (follow me) on Twitter, but also the number of people I follow.  I believe that, just like RSS feeds, it’s very easy to not just get lost in the noise yourself, but to lose others.

Having been a Twitter user for some time now, there are certain groups of users that really start to annoy.  They are the users who immediately get unfollowed, or not followed at all. So let’s look at these groups of users, and what they’re doing wrong.

The “Please Pay Attention To Me”ers

I don’t understand where these people come from, or why they end up on Twitter.  You can usually identify them within a fraction of a second of their first post, which usually starts by asking if there’s anyone around that they know. And when no one responds, you can sense the frustration and anger growing tweet by tweet usually resulting in some form of curse on the users of Twitter for not paying attention to them.

The Twit-illiterates

There’s a big intersection between the Twit-illiterates and the Please Pay Attention To Me-ers, and one can very easily evolve into the other.  A Twit-Illiterate doesn’t understand how Twitter works and can be identified by a tweet that usually goes along the lines of:

Dave, you on here?

This is usually a first tweet and is made immediately after joining.  Now, it’s obvious that someone called “Dave” has told this person about Twitter, but then not actually explained it to them.  Of course, anyone who knows Twitter will understand that unless you are being followed by Dave, or you directly address a Tweet at them (e.g. “@Dave”), Dave isn’t going to see the Tweet.

One of the differences between a twit-illiterate and a Please Pay Attention To Me-er is persistence.  A Twit-illiterate has a reason for joining Twitter, so they will likely persist.  However, they’ll continue to struggle for some time, not quite understanding the difference between an @ reply and a direct message.  You’ll also see them having conversations with people who follow them without using @ replies, causing confusion all round and making them look like the digital equivalent of the crazy lady in the park who talks to herself.

The Shameless Self-Promoters

There are plenty of these on Twitter, and you have to be weary.  You’ll notice them because the ratio of interesting tweets against those tweets which simply link to something they’ve written/posted isn’t favourable.  There’s a big cross-section between these and the Auto-Twits (see below).  You’d be surprised how many so-called A-List bloggers are nothing more than shameless self-promoters when it comes to Twitter, or maybe you won’t.

The Auto-twits

Any tool that automatically adds tweets to twitters is a bad thing.  The two most annoying types of auto-twits are:

  • Bloggers who automatically send a tweet whenever they post any new content (some even do it when they first start to write a post, or even when they change a post).  If I wanted to subscribe to their blog, I would.
  • Music fans than tweet, automatically, whenever they listen to music.  This is usually in conjunction with Pandora and/or Last.fm and is very annoying for two reasons.  Firstly, I don’t really care what music you’re listening to.  Secondly, it will tweet every time a song plays, so consider each song lasts 4 minutes, that’s around 15 tweets an hour.  So don’t check your Twitter feed for an hour, and it’s filled with 15 tweets you don’t care about, that’s hiding other tweets you might.

The Spammers, Scammers and Salesmen

Because of the 140 character limitation of Twitter, to post links people use URL shortening services, like TinyURL.  And while many internet users are cautious when seeing these links in the wild, people seem less so on Twitter.  After all, there’s a genuine reason for using them.  This alerts those who would want to take advantage of this potential lapse in care.  Hence, Twitter is slowly filling up with Spammers, Scammers and Salesmen.  Fortunately, they are fairly easy to identify.  If you are a Twitter use, you will no doubt, at some point, have been followed by a Twitter user that only has one or two followers but is in turn following thousands of people.  It’s also likely that you’ve been followed by a Twitter user that, when you check their feed, has only tweeted links with non-descript text.

If you do click any of the links in their tweets you will find  site either trying to sell something to you, something you don’t want, or you’ll find a site that tries to scam something out of you.  Learn the signs, and be weary of them.

Beware the Sneaky Ones…

It’s fairly easy to identify the above groups of Twitter users, but you must be on your toes.  All it takes is a normal Twitter user to discover one the Auto-Twit’s tools and think it’s a good idea for them to turn.  So always be vigilant, for your own safety.