Why Did You Start Your Twitter Account?

You’ve seen those Twitter accounts that just tweet out inspirational messages right?




What is going on here?

Are you a real person?


All of these accounts do nothing but tweet out quotes. I replied to each of the quotes above asking if the account was a real person… so far, no response.

It got me to thinking, what is the end game of this type of account?

When I first saw these types of accounts I didn’t take notice of them, but over time it has started to make me wonder why someone would go to all the trouble of setting up a full account, with a generic attractive female face as the avatar, a broad but mostly believable bio and even a customized Twitter background at their page.

It’s possible that these accounts are trying to build up a robust following to then switch over and become an account for something else thus looking like they have a robust following. But, if that’s the case, is auto-tweeting quotes really the best way to build a following of people you never have to interact with? I ran a test with a Twitter account a year ago that amassed over 1,000 followers by playing the followback game.

All the thinking about how these people got me thinking about how and why I got started on Twitter and what my goal was. I was an avid Plurk user before Twitter, but when my friend Lucas started using Twitter I followed him.

I wasn’t sure what to use Twitter for in the beginning, but soon I started following people that I wanted to learn from and that’s when the light went on. The power of Twitter is being able to connect with all of those people you wish you could connect with but couldn’t before. For me that lightbulb was Andrew Nystrom when he was at the LA Times. I was a lowly web developer at McClatchy Interactive at the time, and I had a conduit to another newspaper guy who understood what I was trying to make happen at my company. It was a good feeling to know I wasn’t as crazy as my bosses kept telling me I was.

Twitter allowed me to grow my network and finally build up enough escape velocity to leave the newspaper world and start living the dream.

Why did you join Twitter?

Why Did You Start Your Twitter Account? by

Phil started working on the Web before it was cool – he started as a web developer in 1996 and spent the bubble days gaining experience as a system administrator and trainer. Many hats later, he brings broad experience to any digital project, where his super powers include translating über-geek jabber to mortals and explaining marketing-speak in binary code.


  1. I joined Twitter in May 2007 because @Maggie and @Dooce were doing it and talking it up so much on their blogs, of which I was an avid reader. Kind of abandoned it until January 2009 when I met someone in Philly who said I should start using it to make friends. I was having a rough go of socializing outside of my teeny office and living alone, so I followed everyone he was following, and then some. Fast forward to June 2009, after meeting some of the people I followed IRL, I joined @BlameDrewsCancer and the rest is history. All of my closest Philly friends, and Raleigh friends for that matter, I found on Twitter first.

  2. I joined Twitter because the local marketing people I respect were on Twitter. I started to follow people – mostly local thought leaders I wanted to get to know better. Since that time I have found information, ideas and humor I never would have been exposed to and made a number of professional connections (locally, nationally and internationally) that would have never happened without Twitter. It can be a horrible time suck but and an instantaneous survey and advice tool. A Yin & Yang of social media.

    • Agreed, when I hear the damn sound of a new Twitter message I have to look and see what it is. It’s like a ringing phone of yesteryear, I just can’t not Tweet.

  3. I’ve been wondering the same thing about the bot profiles. The answer that comes to mind is that they’re of a network controlled by people who offer X number of followers on Twitter for a fee to unsuspecting businesses. They would follow many users at random hoping for follow backs.

    I joined Twitter mostly to find interesting content, but I’ve since turned more to Google+ for that.

    • I think that’s really the only logical answer David. I would love to do a test of how many users on Twitter have never replied since they started. I have to imagine it would be over 50%.

      • I try to report the fake profiles as spam whenever I notice them. Even if they don’t technically spam anyone, they obviously are being used for some less than ethical means.


Leave a Reply