Opinion: 8 habits of highly desperate Twitter users

by Gbenga Akinyooye

I started actively tweeting about two years ago, though I had a passive Twitter account for about a year before this. Since my active tweeting, I have noticed some crazy habits of people desperate to gain followers. Twitter is designed in such a way that your followership is a direct reflection of your relevance in twitterverse. Some people have millions of followers, from@ladygaga to @justinbieber, while others have followers running into their hundreds of thousands. I have about 170 followers on twitter, but even that has been difficult to build. On twitter you must have something to say that draws people to you. But what does an average joe like me have to say to draw a crowd?

I have discovered that to break this “barrier of entry” into twitterverse, many people employ cheeky tactics similar to what people do in real life to attract the attention they think they need. Twitter is a highly intimidating sphere where everyday, millions struggle to get noticed. Why they want to get noticed is another topic entirely. And why do you need to have a followership to be happy? Another topic again. But these are some of the dodgy methods employed by desperate twitter users:

1. Stealing

One of the strangest habits I have observed on twitter is the fact that people actually steal tweets! But how is this done? Someone sees a clever tweet on their timeline and instead of hitting the retweet button, they copy the tweet and paste on their own timeline, hence taking credit for it from their own followers or hashtag users. I have seen it many times and some of my tweets have been stolen too. Its like they are thinking if I can’t come up with a clever line, I will rob somebody for it. Just like criminals do in real life.

2. Sucking Up

Many people have got opinions on several issues, from the war in Iraq to the new ring on @kimkardashian‘s finger. But in twitterverse, many people switch sides, not because they’ve had a change of heart or received new knowledge, but because they are ready to kiss asses to gain followers. Someone might tweet “Oh Kim, I am a huge fan of your shows, f***k haters!” and then Kim Kardashian might retweet that to her over 15 million followers (the last time I checked), thinking he is a loyal fan. This could boost the sucker’s own followership as he is now exposed to millions of people by that single retweet, even though this person may have never seen more than one episode of Kim Kardashian’s TV show.

3. Attack Twitter Heavyweights

This is an offensive method where a desperate twitter user randomly attacks the personality of another twitter user who has huge followership (a twitter heavyweight). The attacker picks up an unnecessary argument with an Heavyweight hoping it will get him noticed on twitter. Many times the Heavyweight does respond to personal attacks, and to respond he has to quote the attacker’s twitter handle. Take this example, a well known TV presenter, say @piersmorgan makes a remark about a Premiership football player (as he normally does), a desperate twitter user may attack his comments just to pick an argument. And after a few exchanges with Piers, he would have been noticed by @piersmorgan’s over 2 million followers. He usually would get a trickle of followers from there.

4. Begging

Like some unfortunate people beg on the streets for money, so does desperate twitter users beg for retweets in twitterverse. They actually ask the twitter Heavyweights to “Pleeeeeaaase” retweet their tweets. “They could say something like, “I am running the marathon on sunday, I am so excited! Please retweet”, even though they may be sitting on the sofa eating cheese & onion flavoured crisps on that day. Some deliberately follow someone and immediately request a “follow back”, sometimes politely.

5. Ranting

Yes we all have opinions and get pissed off by certain people or ideas. But the type of rant I am talking about here is going on about a non-issue in a desperate attempt to come across as intelligent or opinionated, when in actual fact you are not. Someone for example might decide to rant about their bus journey to work, how crowded it is and how little government is doing to ease the “suffering”. They go on and on and on, until they get one or two retweets and some followers, then alight from the bus, saying thank you to the driver.

6. Tagging

Yes we have all done this at one time or the other, tag a major public figure in our tweets who we think might sympathise with our opinion. The “Voltron” retweets and followers keep popping up on our twitter account for the next few minutes, with loads of retweets too. But this is a difficult route for many desperate twitter users, as you must say something clever enough to convince the twitter Heavyweight to make a retweet.

7. Spreading lies and rumours

This is a very dodgy method as desperate twitter users obsessive with gaining followers deliberately spread rumours or lies. They usually capitalise on a “trending” incident (or accident) and tweet false information that sometimes aggravates the situation. For example, there might be a bus crash in town, instead of sticking to the facts the desperate tweeter user spreads misleading and false information like “OMG, the driver is lying unconscious” when in actual fact, the paramedics are simply performing routine checks on the driver on the floor.

8. Trolling

This is a very dark method, and only the “twitter psychopaths” use this. They mock innocent but vulnerable people and make sick jokes about others to gain notoriety and hopefully attract followers who may be keen to see more of their notoriety. Many trolls have been arrested and made to face the law because it has caused great pain to its victims and it is a very bad idea. It is actually a criminal offence in some countries.


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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Comments (3)

  1. I think the author of this article is merely assuming things because personally I D̶̲̥̅̊Φ some of these thing and I don't attach his acclaimed desperate motives to it

  2. I think the author of this article is merely assuming things because personally I D̶̲̥̅̊Φ some of these thing and I don't attach his acclaimed desperate motives to it

  3. I'm new to twitter so this is a helpful guide on what NOT to do in a bid to get followers. Hoping to attract people by simply being me. In the much loved Aesop's fable, the tortoise won in the end, even though the hare got off to a fast start 🙂 *fingers crossed*

cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail