Twitter Snobs

I watched  this video from @perrybelcher on the concept of the “Twitter Snob.” It’s a pretty simple thing. There are some people out there with tens of thousands of followers who themselves follow a small handful. This is like going to a cocktail party and leading people around like a momma duck and never turning back to see who’s there.

This is in contrast to someone like Guy Kawasaki who is followed by around 30,000 people and in turn follows about 30,000 people.

There’s another type of Twitter snobbery I’ve observed as well. This type of snobbery is displayed by people who consistently ignore, and do not respond to, @replies sent their way. These people typically only interact with a tiny group of people and ignore the rest. This is as snobbish, I think, as the type of Twitter snob described by @perryblacher.

Obviously, you can’t respond to every single message that comes your way on Twitter and some @replies simply don’t warrant a response. However, there are people out there who ignore it all. Using the cocktail part analogy, this would be like someone staring you down in silence after you said hello.

I occasionally get some messages through Twitter that make no sense to me. When those arrive I try to reach out and come up with the most polite version of “what?” I can think of. One time this exchange actually revealed that someone really liked my avatar and just had an odd way of expressing himself in his first message. By not being a Witter snob I opened myself up to a cool exchange with a new friend.


  1. Line Storgaard-Conley on December 14, 2008 at 10:19 am

    Great post. That is so true. I have been on twitter since june/july 08 and have noticed the two kinds of twitter snobs that you describe in your post. I like Guy Kawasaki appoarch.

    • Dave Saunders on December 14, 2008 at 10:26 am

      Thanks for the comment. I use to autofollow people who follow me. I also check the profile for each new follow to make sure it’s not a spammer…if it is I block them. Otherwise, I invite the grand cocktail party that is Twitter. @perryblacher shared some great insight in that video. Great stuff.

  2. scott on December 15, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    You may want to check out yonkly:

    It’s the first “create your own microblog” that integrates with Twitter.

  3. Leif Hansen on December 20, 2008 at 11:33 am

    I don’t think that is necessarily true. People use twitter for different purposes, so it depends on one’s purpose. I remember a great post a while back that differentiated 3 different kinds of tweeters serving 3 different purposes. I think there was the Broadcaster (high followers, low following others); the Listern (low follwers, high following others); and the Social (balanced).

    Some people like to just share the goodies they find, ideas, etc. but don’t have the time or interest in listening to and filtering a massive stream. Lets be honest here, there is no way that you can read thousands of follower’s tweets and still have a productive life.

    In general, yes, one should respond to replies and DM’s –but even there there is a limit if you have a high following.

    My 2 cents 😉
    (The general principle is that its dangerous to judge things from the outside, motives can and are almost always mixed or variant)


  4. The Nourisher on December 22, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    Snobbing is a dangerous practise if you want to use social media to promote your dream/project/business/agenda. You never know who’s going to be an asset to you. As in the real world: Pride cometh before a fall. If there’s too many messages to answer, one tweet will fix that: “I’m so happy to have so many messages from amazing people who providence has sent to connect with me”. Just acknowledging your abundance of connections will create more. thanks Dave for following me and introducing me to your blog.

  5. RGebbiePhoto on December 23, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    People use twitter for a number of different purposes, in our experience it has been a great tool for gathering and distributing useful information and promoting our brand name. If a person chooses not to reply to others they could be missing out on valuable information or leads, if they choose not to follow back their followers they again risk loosing contacts and valuable networking connections.

  6. Maria Lavis on December 23, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    There are certain people who fall into your twitter snob category I think (while others are in categories Leif above describes).

    A while back some tweet friends and I called the snobs the “twitter gods”. Thing is, in this case to change religion is simple. Just unfollow. It’s what I do now, and what do you know, their snobbery is suddenly a moot point if it doens’t exist in your stream anymore…

    • Dave Saunders on December 25, 2008 at 8:26 am

      @Maria: True enough. The context for this post, and Perry’s YouTube video, (at least IMO) is that some of these particular Twitter snobs either advocate “relationship marketing” or sell products which include teaching on Social Media marketing strategies.

  7. Loren Woirhaye on December 29, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    Perceptions matter. Few people consider themselves aloof snobs yet on the internet, where quick and in-the-moment quippy writing
    rules there is a tendency for hot-headed comments or just plain thoughtlessness.

    It’s not particularly that I am thin-skinned or expect other people to be – it’s that I find arrogance obnoxious and I prefer to to hang-out with or do business with arrogant people.

    In the world of internet marketing in particular there is a lot of arrogance that goes with making some good money at it.

    It’s just not good policy to strut around looking down your nose at people who make less money than you do or are trying to break into the same profession. Of course there seems to be a lot of money to be made persuading “newbies” that they can pay you $1000s and you will share the keys to internet wealth… and the posture of arrogance – “I don’t care if you buy or not” seems to be a marketing tactic used today in – of all things! – the teaching

    People don’t like prima-donnas in general. It’s better to work a little harder and be perceived as approachable and humble than
    to lord-it-over your fans… because, as we see on the internet, there are plenty of others they can choose to follow.

  8. Stephen Denny on December 29, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    I’m not sure I completely follow you (no Twitter pun intended here).

    I’m the last one to come off as an expert on Twittequette, but “followers” follow because they like what someone says – but the automatic reciprocal follow shouldn’t be assumed. This isn’t a popularity contest (really – at least I think), it’s a blogging platform. You follow back if you, in turn, find their content interesting.

    I think this is a pretty above board litmus test. Agree?

    • Dave Saunders on December 30, 2008 at 11:09 pm

      @Stephen I don’t think it comes down to the nature of social media. There are people on these sites. Certainly there are people on Twitter who are not marketers and don’t have a compelling need to follow or talk to others but consider the issue from the context of a giant cocktail party or business networking mixer.

      Can you imagine trying to exchange cards with someone, or just saying “hi, pleased to meet you” and having that person look at you like you’re insane for even walking up to them?

      There are big name Internet Marketers on Twitter who present exactly that kind of attitude. This is also why some Internet Marketers don’t get social media…they don’t have the skills to be social and act like they’re still in high school.

      Perhaps some actually want to present themselves this way, but I suggest that such people do present themselves as snobs through these activities.

  9. Chris Morin on December 29, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    I used to auto follow anyone who followed me… and I thought the goal of twitter was to get as many followers as possible… That is extremely easy, you just follow a few hundred a day and it becomes and exponential thing where you can have 1000’s following you in a matter of days. I did that then realized I couldn’t manage following all of those people that had similar interests. Also there are a bunch of people that follow me that are simply spammers who either twit.. see my blog update incessantly or tell me they are going to a meeting, drinking coffee, changing a diaper, etc…so I don’t follow them and if someone auto ad’s me and sends me a message with BUY THIS… SEE ME.. I’M COOL type of thing I stop following.

    I don’t see it as being a snob… I do say “hi” at the dinner party, but if I have nothing in common with you or I find you trying to SELL me too hard… I wander off to find other’s to socialize with at the party.

  10. Allen Taylor on December 29, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    I often wonder how guys like Guy Kawasaki can follow so many people. If you have tens of thousands of people that you follow, how do you keep up with them all? What if you miss important tweets because your stream moves by so fast? I worry that when I get that many followers how I will manage that.

    • Dave Saunders on December 30, 2008 at 11:02 pm

      @Allen I think the short answer is: you don’t. I’ve collected thousands of business cards and I’ve given away thousands. I don’t constantly look those people up to see what they’re doing but they are a part of my network. I look in on Twitter a few times a day and I enjoy engaging anyone I happen to see in my watch list. I just take it as it comes. 🙂

  11. Pizonu on December 29, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    I totally agree with this. I’m just trying to engage with people on twitter (cause i’m new) and the blatant ignorance makes me feel like a stalker! lol

    Ps: Add me! hahaha 🙂

  12. Melissa Hall on September 17, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    I don’t expect everyone that I follow to follow me back, but what really bothers me is when I @reply someone that I follow and they don’t answer back. I’ve had that happen and it’s understandable that someone may not see every @reply, but when it happens after several @replies and still no answer back, it’s very frustrating. And it’s not that they have so many followers to keep up with either. Just think that’s kind of rude. I have about 500 followers and I reply back to everyone as long as it’s not spam.

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