Why Not To Use Blast Follow!

I recently learned an incredibly valuable lesson at the expense of having my Twitter account suspended for 10 days. Don’t believe everything you read from social media experts!

As anyone who has read my blog knows, I am a social media manager who works primarily for authors and musicians. I love music, books, movies, theatre, art, poetry, photography and have an appreciation for almost every form of creativity. I also love dogs, Ireland, all things Celtic, travel, medieval history, nature, swimming, sailing, Guinness, cheese and ice cream which in part contributes to my constant struggle with my weight…

However, as a social media manager, I try to keep up with some reputable social media expert bloggers and Tweeters so that I may learn things that I don’t already know. Working in this field involves a constant learning curve and the development of my own expertise is a fluid work in progress.

Ten days ago, I read a blog about the Top 5 Most Indispensable Twitter Tools for Marketers by the Social Media Examiner (who is an excellent blogger and source of information) and learned about Blast Follow. I proceeded to open an account with Blast Follow and use approximately five different keywords to find people to follow who share my interests. I subsequently had my Twitter account suspended within one hour!

“BlastFollow is a Twitter utility that enables Twitter users to follow other Twitter users who share their interests en masse. This is accomplished by searching for users who have tweeted with a particular hashtag recently.”

BE VERY CAREFUL ABOUT USING THIS UTILITY!!! I found that while I ended up following hundreds of new people immediately, and also gained about 150 followers as well, that many of the people I ended up following were not in fact people who tweet about subjects that I’m interested in, and in fact, many of them were very annoying bots or people who don’t speak or write in the same language that I do.

This morning when I discovered that my account had been reinstated after I had done some serious virtual groveling to the Gods of Twitter, I was re-sent email that I’d already received and dealt with months ago, and not only that, but I spent hours deleting people I was now following that I have no interest in following. The whole experience turned out to be a giant waste of time!

Twitter, like most social media networks, works best when you actually take the time to get to know the people you are following or at least pay attention to their tweets once in a while. After all, it’s not called “social” networking for nothing. People want to get to know YOU and what you’re interested in and they don’t want to receive a bot-produced DM (direct message) thanking you for following them either. I know it saves time, but it’s not at all personal or social and I for one am not interested in following people’s pre-meditated broadcasts that have been set up hours or days in advance. That might make me a foolish business person, but I truly believe that it defeats the purpose of social networking. I think that gathering friends the old-fashioned way, by selecting them because of their common interests, is much more beneficial in the long run. If you’re only involved in social media because of the money you think you can make and not because of the people, then where is your integrity? Most people who make a living using social media are not making $10,000 a month working part-time!

Using social media successfully takes time. I know that it’s not possible to get to know thousands of people that we’re connected to through social networking on a personal basis, but making even the smallest effort and communicating with them once in a while is better than nothing. They will remember you, and if they don’t, they can find out easily enough because they’ve probably decided to keep you as a friend/connection because they actually heard from you. More friends, followers, connections does not necessarily mean better! If you simply collect followers to increase the numbers for the sake of appearance, it will ultimately backfire on you and people will delete you when they realize that six months to a year has gone by and they’ve never received so much as a “Hi!” from you even once.

Finally, it is very important for all social media bloggers to let people know what applications are banned by Twitter (and Facebook, MySpace, etc.) and will result in the suspension or complete deletion of your account. If that happens, you’ve just wasted an enormous amount of time and you’ll end up screaming and pulling your hair out! I was naive and didn’t realize that what I was doing was breaching Twitter’s policies, but I certainly know now that I will carefully check out other suggestions that I read about before I act upon them.

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10 comments

  1. Charles Robertson · September 4, 2010

    Interesting article. It is difficult working one’s way through useful and useless information on the web. With the reality changing on the internet daily, it makes it even harder to keep up with the rules. Creating great content is always number one and you are doing a great job at that! Keep up the good work!

    Charles

  2. Jessica Kupferman · September 5, 2010

    Aww that’s a shame that your account was suspended. I read the same article and tried it with one hashtag – but similarly, was annoyed with the result. Spent hours unfollowing people who weren’t of similar interests or even real people. Also, I thought I might be able to hand choose who I would follow but it just started following all the people at once!

    I agree that true connections take time and should be well thought out – and that “gurus” don’t know everything. I’m a consultant too – let’s connect on Twitter! Then we’ll have one more like-minded individual. @JessKupferman

  3. Sami · September 5, 2010

    Hi Christine,

    I got my fingers burnt as well. It’s a great tool, but risky. My account not suspended (thnx God) and I’ll keep away from it.

    Best Regards, Sami Matani

  4. @TweetSmarter · September 13, 2010

    Very sorry to hear to were led astray by Social Media Examiner. In fact, the first three tools in that article violate or skirt Twitter’s terms of service.

    Another way to find quality users is by researching quality Twitter lists in an area that interests you, and then subscribing to keyword searches via http://listimonkey.com/ on the lists that interest you.

    Hashtags generally provide low-quality search results since they are so frequently abused. It takes visual perusal of highly custom searches—which often Twitter’s search engine chokes on—to find quality users via direct search.

    RE: Twitter’s terms of service—automation generally violates it, though many serious Twitterers use it. Some have “test” accounts where they try new things first. It helps if you don’t follow more than 10% as many as follow you. Your account is more likely to be flagged if you do much more than that.

  5. @TweetSmarter · September 13, 2010

    An example of a simple search that you could put into Yahoo Pipes and then filter further would be something such as http://j.mp/apvNDU 🙂

  6. 乳膠床墊 · September 22, 2010

    I am so happy to read this. This is the kind of info that needs to be given and not the random misinformation that is at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this beneficial content.

  7. Kesha Brown · October 24, 2010

    Wow, I’m so glad I found this article. Just last night, someone told me to use blast follow so I did some research first and found your site along with a few others who said it doesn’t work well. Thanks for your candid post and helpful information!

  8. Mike · December 29, 2010

    Just don’t get over zealous with it, and think about what you are doing, before you do it. This is technically spam following, which is outlawed by Twitter. Once you realize that is what you are doing, you need to find that fine line where you are okay and where you get in trouble. I recommend doing it in small bits, 1-2 hashes every couple days. It’s a slower process, but still works.

    Remember, just think before you do something, and you will be fine. Don’t blindly follow the recommendation of social media bloggers. This is a useful tool, just be smart about it.

  9. Lakeesha Rehnborg · March 28, 2011

    Am i allowed to web page link as much as this, through my web page? I’m going to gather as much reasons for tips as i am able.

    • scullylovepromo · March 28, 2011

      I’m not exactly sure what you mean by your question but if you are interested in putting a link to this article on your web page, yes, that is okay with me. Thanks!

      Christine

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