Twitter’s Follower Limit – Good or Bad?

    May 9, 2009
    Chris Crum

Twitter has had a limit on how many people a user can follow in a day (1,000) in place for some time, and on Monday the company said this limit was not being consistently applied to all accounts, but that it would be from here on out.

In a post on the Twitter Status Blog, the company says there are technical reasons behind the limit, but that it is mainly to discourage spam. Understandable given an increased amount of complaining about spam and a recent wave of worms spreading across Twitter.

Britney Spears Friends and Followers"Also, it is unlikely that anyone can actually read tweets from thousands of accounts which makes the mass following activity disingenuous," says Twitter. "We understand that there may be exceptions where mass following is needed in excess of the daily limit: for example, some API applications or for the ability to exchange direct messages. There are also some who think it’s simply polite to follow back other accounts."

Twitter encourages users who feel that they fit the bill of such exceptions to leave feedback with @twitter so they can address their needs.

Commentary around the blogosphere regarding Twitter’s follower limit ranges from one side of the spectrum to the other. "It seems Twitter would prefer that these celebrity accounts only follow, say… 93 as Ashton does, rather than the nearly 400,000 Britney Spears follows, which I would guess would be even higher if it weren’t for Twitter’s API troubles," says blogger Louis Gray.

"It’s likely Twitter is issuing this newest limit to try and stop spammers and go after the worms that have recently impacted the system," he adds. "But the ecosystem that has helped the service grow to such high visibility is getting impacted.

Andy Merrett talking about the subject at Performancing says, "Now, I have recently subscribed to the viewpoint that it is good to reciprocate follows – however I do so manually. Granted, I only get a handful of new followers each day at present so it’s no great problem, but it does mean I have a better chance at weeding out spammers from the outset."

"I just can’t get my head around the concept that anyone getting over one thousand follows per day can possibly keep up following them all back," Andy adds.

Would you ever have a need to follow a thousand Twitterers in a day? What do you think about Twitter’s limit? Talk about it.