Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and reading resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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Writer comics by Debbie Ridpath Ohi are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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Twitter Guide For Authors & Illustrators > The Basics > Why should I not be obsessed about follower count?

Index of topics: Main Twitter Guide For Writers & Illustrators page. To go back to my blog for kidlit/YA writers and illustrators, see Inkygirl. You can find me on Twitter at @inkyelbows (focus: writing and illustrating children's books) and @DebbieOhi (livetweets, chat, photos, personal ramblings). Also see my list of Other Useful Twitter Guides For Authors And Illustrators and Twitter Lists of: agents who represent kidlit/YAkidlit/YA editors, children's book art/creative directors and K-12/teen librarians on Twitter.

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Why should I not be obsessed about follower count?

Follower count can be a rough indication of how many people find your Twitterfeed interesting, BUT….

Contrary to what many Twitter spammers think, increasing your follower count should NOT be your main goal. At least it’s not mine. From what I can tell, it’s pretty easy to get thousands of followers if you’re just after numbers — just use an auto-follow (more about why I -don’t- auto-follow in a future post), follow lots of people who auto-follow, and don’t weed out spammers.

But what use is that? Spammers aren’t going to buy your books, nor are they reading your posts. As for enhancing your reputation, someone just has to browse your follower list to see how spammy it is.

If you want to check how many of your followers are actually spammers right now and have the option of giving some of them the boot, try Twitblock. (Note: sometimes non-spammers are mislabelled as spammers in Twitblock, so check before deleting)


Having said that, however, I realize that follower count DOES play a role in terms of platform and promotion. If you're querying an agent and they check your follower count on Twitter, then having over a million followers is probably a good indicator that you have a stronger platform than someone who has ten followers.


Also, don't beg for people to follow you just for the sake of helping you reach a certain follower count. Instead, give them a reason they should WANT to follow you.

Ok, fine. If you’re not after sheer numbers, then why ARE you joining Twitter? And here's my first piece of advice for writers new to Twitter.

—> Ask yourself what you want to achieve. <---

Besides, Twitter may be the hot thing right now, but who knows how long that’ll last? If you find yourself focusing too much on your follower count, ask yourself: “If the Twitter site shut down right now, would the time I spent there still be worth it?”

Last updated on February 25, 2012 by Debbie Ridpath Ohi