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If you’d like to follow me on Twitter, I am @fennerpearson

There was a time in my early days on Twitter when I would routinely follow back anyone who followed me. I stopped doing this for three reasons:

Firstly, one acquires somewhat pointless follows on Twitter. Sometimes I flag these with a hashtag: #pointlessfollow. In my earlier, more welcoming days, I did follow back @sheds_wales and for a while their first tweet – “Currently building a shed in Bridgend” – was one of my favourites. However, over time the tweets lost this early promise and I’m sad to say that in the end I unfollowed, the ultimate Twitter criticism.

Secondly, some people are a bit dull. This is a tricky one to judge. For example, there is more to timing on Twitter than might be immediately evident and it’s true that occasionally a well-judged tweet of the classic “I’m on a train” has made me, yes, laugh out loud. It’s not even that I mind the little mundane events of people’s lives. Often the reverse is true, in fact. It’s more that I can’t stand grumbling and carping, unleavened by any sense of humour or self-awareness.

Finally, we don’t all like the same things. So, if somebody tweets a lot – I mean almost exclusively – about, say, football, then I am unlike to enjoy having them in my timeline.

These days, then, when someone follows me, I take a look at their profile and their timeline. If they are followed by more than one of the people I enjoy following, then I will probably follow back regardless of the timeline but if there aren’t any followers whose recommendation I can infer, then I will read the bio and take a look at what they tweet about. I’ll probably look at the numbers, too, actually. If they follow five thousand people and have four thousand followers, I probably won’t bother.

Of course, one thing will change all the above and that is if the person interacts with me. Sometimes someone will join in a conversation I’m having and often I’ll follow them. Or if someone who’s followed me that I didn’t follow back immediately subsequently comments on things I say, then I’ll usually start to follow them, too.

I like my Twitter friendships but one’s timeline can start to get a bit cluttered after a while. As I don’t like to unfollow people, the easiest way to avoid congestion is to be a little discriminating upfront. But I am a friendly fellow, so if you follow me and I don’t follow back, please don’t take offence, just say “hello”.

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