Stop following me, creep!

This post is part of a series written by zcomm interns. Be sure to check back each week for their take on the latest in the public relations industry. This week, Hailey discusses the importance of knowing who to follow on Twitter.

Image: iconarchive.com

Sure, quantity may be more important than quality in some situations, but that shouldn’t be the case with Twitter followers. Quality over quantity is the way to go when deciding who to follow as well. For an individual, following as many people/brands/companies as possible would just be annoying and essentially pointless. For a company, brand or public figure, it could even get weird.

Just ask Nebraska Treasurer Don Stenberg. He learned the hard way to be mindful of whom you choose to follow. During a debate last week, the other Republican Senate candidate, Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, accused Stenberg of being “creepy” for trying to follow his 14-year-old daughter on Twitter. Politicians make accusations often, but I think Bruning got it right. Check out the video to see the awkwardness unfold.

Bruning didn’t even have to try to belittle him. The truth was harsh enough.

“Let me ask you this, Don. This Sunday, my daughter walks in, and says, ‘Don Stenberg’s trying to follow me on Twitter.’ My daughter’s 14 years old. Now you tell me: I’d like to know, why does a 62-year-old man want to follow a 14-year-old girl on Twitter? I’d really like to know. She said, ‘Dad, that’s kind of creepy.’”

Stenberg responded:

“Quite honestly, I don’t do my own Twitter. Dan Parsons does it for me. We’ve got thousands and thousands of folks, and as soon as we get done here, I’ll call Dan and make sure that’s taken off. I don’t think it’s appropriate.”

Personally, I think that’s a terrible response. A lot of public figures have others to tweet on their behalf, but they don’t come right out and say it. However, I don’t think there really is a good response to that. The best way to deal with a situation like this would be to prevent it.

A target audience is important with social media. I agree with Bruning’s accusation. I find it creepy that he requested to follow a 14-year-old girl because what are his intentions? His target audience should be voters, and she’s not even old enough to drive a car.

This rule holds true with any company, brand or public figure. What’s the point of following someone who is irrelevant to your company? Also, when you follow everyone, the ones who actually matter will be drowned out.

So long story short, don’t be creepy. Stick to your target audience.

  0 comments for “Stop following me, creep!

  1. April 16, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    As you know, Twitter does not require that age be listed, and in fact any Twitter account can be totally anonymous. In addition, the Stenberg campaign was using an auto-follow program that searched key words and automatically requested a follow.

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