Inspired by Ted Coine’s recent blog “Don’t be a Twit” (find him on twitter as @tedcoine) and some subsequent conversations with TrueTwit users, I decided to put pen to paper, or rather fingers to keys.

The increasing number of TrueTwit validation requests I get is really beginning to irritate me, particularly as, so far as I can see, it is a COMPLETELY USELESS SERVICE.

Here is the basis of their sales pitch (taken from their website):

Twitter spam is a drag. What if you could know for sure that your followers are truly human, and not some cyborg?”

Sounds like a really good idea – but hang on a moment. If you think about it in the context of how Twitter actually works you will realise that it means absolutely nothing. Because it is IMPOSSIBLE for one of my followers to spam me.

The only people (or bots) that can spam me are ones that I am following. Following me gives them no ability whatsoever to get anything into my twitter feed.

That would be like saying that because someone has subscribed to my blog, or added themselves to my mailng list they can now spam me - no they can't!

The entire premise on which TrueTwit are selling both their free and premium services is a fallacy.

You cannot see tweets from people you are not following, so it doesn’t matter who is following you. You could have every twitter spammer in the universe following you, and as long as you don’t follow them back you will NEVER EVER see any spam from them.

The problem arises then, not through who follows you but who you follow.

If you choose to use a bot to auto-follow back then yes, any spammer who follows you will get the chance to put their message in front of you.

But if you choose to keep who you follow under your personal control, as I have recently decided to do, then who is following you is completely irrelevant.

One of the TrueTwit users I got into conversation with said, “I want a manageable number of quality interactions & grow through 'meeting' new people.”  Which is exactly what I want too.

However, I just can’t see any way in which TrueTwit helps achieve that.

All it does is make sure that someone that follows you is prepared to take a minute or so following a link and typing into a captcha box. It certainly doesn’t guarantee that you will be able to develop quality interactions with them.

As I mentioned earlier I have recently taken personal control of who I follow. I have switched off all auto-follow backs and also all auto-DMs.

I realised that by using these auto systems I was actually missing out on most of the potential quality interactions that were coming my way.

The speed that my “All Friends” feed moves at these days means that I’m extremely unlikely to ever notice an interesting post in there. The only way I get to see the stuff I’m really interested in is by adding people to lists which move more slowly because they have less people in them, and the only way I can add new followers to lists is by looking at them individually, deciding for myself if they are somebody that I want to follow, and then following and listing them.

As a result of that change in my approach I have started to find far more interesting people on Twitter than I ever did using auto-follow back, or than I ever would by allowing some bot to make the decisions about who it’s OK for me to follow!


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