New to twitter
February 23, 2022 9:54 AM   Subscribe

I am setting up a Twitter account to follow some writers I enjoy. But I wonder about the "follow" process.

If I follow someone, do I automatically follow everyone else following that person? If I choose to follow someone, I really would only want to do so for that individual, not the maybe 5k others. Someone mentioned to me that you could block or mute someone. That seems like a real pia to do that.
posted by jtexman1 to Technology (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Following someone only follows that person. You may see other people's posts in your timeline either because Twitter is "recommending" them, or because someone you follow has Retweeted the post. But you won't be following all their followers; that would be quite unpleasant as you've imagined :)
posted by Ryon at 9:58 AM on February 23, 2022 [5 favorites]

No, you’re just following the person you follow. If they retweet something from someone *they* follow, you’ll see that too.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 9:59 AM on February 23, 2022

One tactic that I've seen people mention is to skip following altogether and just add the accounts you're interested in following to a private list instead. The other person's not notified, and you get less crapola in your feed w/r/t suggestions and whatnot. Lists are also good for organizing accounts if you follow a whole bunch.
posted by jquinby at 10:02 AM on February 23, 2022 [12 favorites]

You can also turn off retweets on a per-account basis, if you want to follow someone but are annoyed by their retweets. Just click the three dot icon on their profile and click "Turn off retweets".
posted by wesleyac at 10:04 AM on February 23, 2022 [7 favorites]

If you use a third-party Twitter client, you can avoid all the algorithmic nonsense and just get the tweets of the people you follow in chronological order (including anything they retweet, as mentioned above).
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 10:05 AM on February 23, 2022 [3 favorites]

No, you’re just following the person you follow. If they retweet something from someone *they* follow, you’ll see that too.
You can also turn off retweets (how is in this FAQ) for any given account if you like what their tweets but don't like the retweets or there's too much retweets.

If you want to get really strict about only seeing things from the people you follow, a third-party client app like Tweetbot or something is the way to go. But there are also limitations to these apps (e.g., you can't see polls).
posted by aubilenon at 10:08 AM on February 23, 2022

Just to second the idea of using private lists to follow people's tweets without actually following them.
The one reason to follow people (and have them follow you back) is if you regularly engage in conversations on a specific topic. Then when there's a bunch of comments on a tweet (usually from some prominent person in the field), comments from the people you follow appear first, and your comments will appear first to those who follow you.
posted by Jon44 at 10:10 AM on February 23, 2022 [1 favorite]

If you stay with the twitter webclient / app, then you probably want to switch to "Latest" rather than "Home" by clicking on the four-pointed star on the top right. Latest gives you (mostly) tweets from the people you follow, chronologically-ish. "Home" gives you "top tweets" as defined by the twitter algorithm, as well as tweets "liked" by people you follow.

(Twitter is inclined to switch it back to Home on a random basis too.)
posted by scorbet at 10:11 AM on February 23, 2022 [5 favorites]

Heads up, Twitter does have a “feature” where they suggest other accounts that “go with” the account you’re following, and with one click you can follow them all. Don’t click that button.
posted by ejs at 11:19 AM on February 23, 2022

I follow almost no one, and as jquinby says, I use lists for all the other people I want to read. You can also follow other people's lists as well.

On days when I really can't handle the firehose and am overwhelmed, it is awfully nice that all I normally see is the few people (none of them famous) that I like hearing from.
posted by Peach at 1:50 PM on February 23, 2022

You can block other users, and they will not be notified, but you can also mute them, which can be extremely satisfying. A blocked user will not be able to see your profile. A muted user will be able to see what you have public, but you won't see their tweets or replies to you, which, if they're awful, imagining them shouting into the void is pretty great.
posted by Occula at 2:53 PM on February 23, 2022

I follow about 2000 people and I use lists to make sure I don't miss tweets from the short list of people where I really want to read every tweet (my sister, bondcliff, maybe a dozen people). I'm fairly sure that you can put someone on a list who you are not following, and I know you can follow people you don't add to lists. I think of Twitter like a radio I tune into. Other people treat it more like a newspaper where they try to read what's in it. Definitely worth knowing about how the timeline works (latest vs. home) and about how you can adjust if you see other people's retweets.

In line with what Occula says it's also worth knowing that if you reply to someone and then it starts some long conversation among people you don't want to be talking to, you can also mute a conversation (upper left corner of a tweet, click on three dots, click "mute this conversation") which means you won't get notifications from that convo anymore.
posted by jessamyn at 3:00 PM on February 23, 2022 [1 favorite]

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