twitter etiquette 101--monitor your followers

Twitter has been around for a while, so I'm not going to dispense the usual advice but instead just ask one thing: monitor your followers.

Some folks are apparently creating Twitter accounts, establishing the necessary links to run their blogs and other information through apps, then riding off into the sunset to never look at their account again. Nothing wrong with that. I run my blog through Twitter and sometimes tweet the same information at different parts of the day. However, I monitor my followers diligently for a couple of reasons.

The first is because if you are a writer or especially if you're a fan, I want to follow you back. I want to see what you're saying on your blog or what kinds of things interest you. When someone follows me, I get an e-mail, then I go to my Twitter account and see what you're tweeting about. If you're using a Twitter app to advertise your latest blog post; engage in #litchat or any of the other cool chats going on around Twitter; are talking about fiction (genre or otherwise); hell, if you're talking about your dog/cat/hamster/snake/spider/kids, I'm in! I want to follow you back.

BUT . . . if I check out your tweets and find that you're being followed by a lot of porn spammers, businesses, or if the only tweets on your account begin with CHECK OUT MY [fill-in-the-blank], I'm blocking you. Here's why (and my second reason for monitoring my followers): those spammers who are latched on to your account will periodically check out both your followers and the people that you follow, then they begin spamming them.

Somehow I've picked up such an individual who isn't monitoring their account and I'm getting a lot of spammy followers. They hit my e-mail box, I go to Twitter and not just block them but also report them for spam.

Meanwhile, I have to start looking for the common demoninator, the one user who isn't monitoring their account, and I have to block that individual. It's like shooting in the dark, though, and sometimes I knock the innocent out with the guilty, but I have to do it; otherwise, my e-mail box starts filling up with offers from mechanics from Ohio, movers from Florida, and strange women who for some reason don't realize that I am a) female and b) heterosexual.

So please, even if you don't care who follows you, monitor your Twitter followers--think of the rest of us who might enjoy your tweets, but not your spammers' messages.

Spam, ladies and gentlemen, can be very annoying--with or without Vikings involved.