Changing Twitter -The Coming Twitter Follow Collapse

October 23rd, 2009

As many of you know I market my book primarily through social networking. As each site is different in focus I also use different strategies and tactics according to how the audience allows marketing messages. I’ve also commented in my “The Monster Must Be Fed” downloadable pdf I posted here a while back that some of these social networking sites (“monsters”) will likely change just as soon as you get a handle on how they work best. So I’ve changed how I deal with Twitter.

Here’s what I’ve done. A while back I read a blog post by Dave at Area224 on Five Signs You’ve Got the Wrong Social Media Marketing Consultant. In his list #2 struck me a bit, he says of Celebrity and Social Media Marketing experts “[if you are a celebrity] …you are allowed to follow less than 200 people and be followed by more than 59,000 people. [and also if you] are a best-selling author and are not trying to sell your SMM Consulting services. Otherwise, your potential SMM Consultant must follow people back [to gain followers].” I’m borderline celebrity myself. I’d probably be a few letters below Cathy Griffith’s “My Life on the D-list” but I’ll take what fame I have. I can offer plenty of examples of either media coverage or Google rankings but what got me to thinking was the follow for follow idea. I disliked the idea from the start, but in order to play the game, you have to be in the game. I hated having to filter out and hunt for people I was interested in.

So one might think there’s a lot of programs that will filter out for me the people I want to read. The problem was that when I used them I was no longer on Twitter, I was on a third party application. Which means I don’t see the things Twitter wants me to see, many of which I need to know and want to know about. The other thing is that this third party software was a massive drain on my computer. It slowed my computer down by 15% when having it on and ever since I installed it I noticed a dramatic slow down of my browser even when the app was not active. And lastly this third party app creates more garbage to sort through, meaning each time I follow someone back I then have to either put them immediately into a category that I want to follow and then take them out of that focused category if I do not find them interesting. So one way or another I am handling my “follows” too much. And I have to receive a lot of garbage followers in order to show how popular I am.

These garbage followers are magazines, multilevel marketers, affiliate marketers, porn, Bible verse of the day, motivational quotes, real estate postings, the list goes on ad nauseum. As a marketer I love to spin things into my favor or to lead you to believe in a product and to ignore the downside of a product. And this is where I get into trouble with my advertising and marketing kin… eventually “your sin will find you.” Meaning that the spin will collapse on you, while it is great to promote a bunch of hype, jokes in commercials, and “cool ideas,” eventually you have to have a real dollar base in order to stay in business. For instance I can spin that I have over 4,000 followers on Twitter when I have a potential speaking engagement offer. But of those 4,000 followers you can bet that at least half of them are an automated twitbot and that no human is actually reading my posts. Another good chunk of those are also following a few thousand people too and one or two of my posts will not be more than a blip in their Tweet Stream. It is likely that only 300 people will see my post about the engagement posted on Twitter.

300 solid people is still a good number, but the odds of those 300 people attending the event is slim. Even some of these high profile celebrity expert posters will not likely fill a conference with their followers alone. I’ll take a stab in the dark and suggest that for every 10,000 followers only 20 to 30 will show up at a major event because of them directly following the celebrity expert tweeter.

SIDE NOTE: Something I did for fun and to prove a point was I created an account called @5minuteGenius The idea was to create an automated account to hit back at some of these “followers” of mine that I thought were garbage followers. With this auto account I posted one post that gave a link to my book on Amazon, then I went to a third party online software system and opened an account. I set the account to automatically follow the people that followed the account and set it up so that when the account gets a direct message it would automatically send a direct message back that said something like “thanks for the DM, I’ll return the favor and let you know about my book.” Then I went back to the automated Twitter account and followed some of the garbage accounts I knew about. I followed about 40 MLM and Affiliate Marketers and then let the system take over. In about a month the account was mentioned by two of the followers without any type of interaction by me. I find it amusing as well that now the account follows over 300 people and has 260 followers. And it has over 130 direct messages to it from “followers.” I’m sure these numbers would increase if I had targeted some other groups of people too. But I don’t need my book to be associated with spam, which I’m sure the account will eventually become if I don’t turn it off soon.

So back to changing my Twitter account and why I think the whole follow for follow system will collapse. As I followed more people I noticed I had less motivation to interact with people. I wasn’t interested in their posts, I really didn’t know who they were or if they even responded to people who responded to them. I also found myself dreading getting on the site because now I had to hunt for people to interact with and found myself looking only to see if people mentioned me in a post. If not I got off the site quickly.

Again, back to Area224′s post. I let it sink in for a while and decided my Twittering needed to change. I was missing opportunities to interact with my fan base, people of interest and media opportunities. Here’s what I’ve done:

1) I immediately quit following people who started following me. Unless of course it was someone that I had interest in.

2) Each time I got on Twitter if someone’s post was not related to any of my interests I unfollowed them. At first this scared me because I know that some people use software that unfollows anyone that unfollows you. But then it hit me, it doesn’t matter. If the only reason they follow me is because I followed them, then they really weren’t fans or friends in the first place, meaning they are not in the market. Having a smaller but solid follower base is better than a lot of “air” to spin to clients that can’t be backed up when the dollars want a reckoning for the effort.

3) I unfollowed posters that did only “push” posts. A push poster is someone who does not interact with their audience but simply posts things about their company, product, quotes, sayings, links, news retweets, etc. I checked each one I saw, if they only pushed, I unfollowed. If they interacted and I might have interest in what they post then I kept following them. Although some eventually are getting unfollowed based on the shear volume that following 4,000 people still has.

4) I decided it is okay if people do not follow me back. Sometimes people are following you just so you will follow them back. They don’t have interest in you or what you have to say. I had to decide that not following someone is okay. If I follow someone I no longer am concerned if they follow me back. I also will not be checking to see if they follow me or unfollow me. What is becoming more important is that I like what someone posts.

5) It still is not enough. There was still too much clutter. I used to use a software program called Karma so that I can unfollow those people who unfollowed me. The idea was good enough, but now that I am no longer concerned about that I use Karma for another reason. Karma has a great interface that puts all my followers on one page instead of like Twitter, where I have to page through a few hundred pages to see who I follow. With Karma all the faces and links being on one page I went through and found all the names that said anything like MoneyMaker2000, AffiliateFreak, BibleVerseToday, SexyJen, JimFollowMeSmith and the like. Then I told Karma to bulk unfollow these people. While I still have some filtering to do, afterall going through 4,000 names you are bound to miss some, you would not believe how much more I get out of Twitter now. I can see the people I want to follow without a third party app. I can respond faster to media requests. And best of all I am no longer tied to the burden of the popular “YOU MUST FOLLOW BACK.”

6) Its still a process. Some people I’ve continued to follow even though I don’t have interest in what they post. But since they interact with me, I’m fine with that, for now anyway. I think eventually my follow list will dwindle down to under a thousand. What that will do for my follow numbers is anyone’s guess. Even if it gets down to a few hundred people who follow me, I know they are likely following me because they have interest in me. And as a marketer, interest in my product is better than boring a market that has no interest.

7) After I get more of the spammers, autotweeters, mlm, and other garbage posters off my list I’ll be following these rules for me to follow you: A) Your account can be beneficial to my business and book. B) Your posts are interesting to me.

And here are my rules to unfollow you: C) If you post multiple posts (more than five) in under one minute, you will be unfollowed. Not even Peter Shankman who makes his living from posting journalist requests all day can get away with that. D) You do nothing but Push posting. Even if you are not peddling a product you will be unfollowed.

8) I repeat. It is ok if you do not follow me back. And don’t be offended if I do not follow you back. Its going to be all right.

The whole follow for follow concept is a flawed idea. It is essentially building a house of cards. When the market realizes that inflated numbers don’t translate to dollar sales, the market will turn against you. You will be considered “all hat and no cattle.” Even if you are using social networks to simply interact with people you cannot maintain good interaction with thousands of followers by yourself. You will have to unfollow the bulk of who you follow back. You don’t have thousands of friends in real life do you? The rules of real life will eventually kick in on these social networking sites. You’ll even unfollow people you do like. :)

Companies will demand hard data on your follower list. Do they actually buy your product or service? How many will actually show up if we announce an event? Basic business practices will overcome the joy of high followership.

The so called “influencer” will have to actually influence. And the reality of those numbers that are influenced will shock you.


Things you don’t say to your wife

August 31st, 2009


Clips from my TV show are up

August 7th, 2009

I’ve put some clips from the TV show I produced for PBS Atlanta up on YouTube. Here is the intro. More at


Creative Ideas to Fix the Economy -Dave Van de Walle guest blogger

July 11th, 2009

Sometimes you ask for something and you get more than you asked for. Dave Van de Walle is a marketing extraordinaire who invited me to give my input on Personal Branding. He and I have hit it off quite well, like all crazy marketing people do. Mostly because we see the world sooo differently than much of the world. But hey that’s why you like us right? Take a listen….

Dear Gary,
When we started chatting about a guest blog post several weeks ago, I was suffering from a Blackberry addiction, looking into working as a carnie and contemplating the formation of a Grand Funk cover ban that performed only in Spanish and wore sombreros.  (“Nosotros Mexicano Band” would be our hit.)

However, all of those ideas failed and it was time to pull out the trusty slide rule and fix this brokened economy.  Here are the ideas that I, as guest blogger, will share with you, Creative Genius.

Creative Ideas to Fix the Economy:

The $7 Bill.
I propose the creation of a new denomination of the US Dollar: the $7 Bill.  Sure, it’s an odd number, but it’s a prime number.  And no odd prime number after 5 is featured on US currency, to my knowledge.

The great thing about the $7 Bill would be the contest that the US Government would conduct — get your face on the $7 Bill.  For the low, low price of, you guessed it, $7 (plus tax), you can enter the contest to have your picture featured on the $7 Bill.

What law-abiding, God-loving, gun-toting US Citizen — whether or not they support Ron Paul, Ralph Nader, or that guy who used to be Uncle Fester — I mean really, what law-abiding US Citizen would not spend $7 on this contest?  Even in this economy?  THEN, when cute little Amber Lou of Lawton, Oklahoma — AGE 7, of course — is “randomly” selected to be on the $7 Bill…well, what blue-blooded, card-carrying, born in the USA, Bruce Springsteen-worshipping American wouldn’t buy one and keep it as a collector’s item?

Resurrect the Yugo.

Why are we saving GM or Chrysler when the real lessons are to be learned from Yugo?

Now, if you’re under the age of 30, Yugo sounds rather odd, because Yugoslavia doesn’t exist anymore, at least I don’t think so.  Wait, let me check the map.  Anyway, the Yugo was quite the car — it was $3990 and it was small and it got 3500 miles to the gallon* (*highway, margin of error of 3490 mpg, your experience may vary).

The Yugo wasn’t just a car — it was a lifestyle.  A lifestyle that said “why buy all the syllables from some exotic country when what you really need are the first two?”  AND when the first two serve as a play on words — “You. Go!” I can see the ad agencies drool over the possibilities.

All of Michigan can get to work right now on the New Yugo — and, at $3990, it can be quite a deal!

Reality Show Tax.
Henceforth and forever more, under my new America, the following will be taxed.  Reality Shows: 28% Flat Rate on Top of All Production Costs.  Reality Show Advertisers: 31% in addition to the ad rates.  Reality Show Hosts: 50% of all wages from hosting, plus banishment to France.

“Infomercial Tonight” Show
While I despise the reality TV format, the creation of a new genre called the Nightly Infomercial (or, on NBC, “Infomercial Tonight”) carries with it tremendous potential for saving the economy.  Similar to the Jerry Lewis Telethon or “Life is Worth Living” with the Bishop Fulton J. Sheen; or anything on The Disney Channel.  With a product available for purchase at a value price.

Tap Water
My final idea is a pretty radical one.  The EPA tells us that it costs $2 for 1000 gallons of tap water.  At $6.49 for a 6 pack of one of them there high-end waters, my math tells me it is $8000 for 1000 gallons of the expensive stuff.  Drink the tap water, folks.

Unless you’re driving a Yugo.

That’ll be $7.


Davd Van de Walle is the Master of Disaster and Ayatolla of Rock-n-Rolla at Area224 a strategic communications advisors to emerging brands. You can find him at, @Area224 and on LinkedIn


Getting Creative With Autism. book interview

July 1st, 2009

When I heard about the book from Karen Mayer Cunningham I was interested. It is about her Autistic son and a very unique way of solving the issue of getting him healed. Most of you know my thoughts and feelings on religion, and this story is another great reason why you should never discount Divine intervention. There are many stories in the Bible where God chooses not to heal someone in the blink of an eye, but instead tells them to go do something. That “something” is usually a bit off base to what the “experts” would tell you outright that it won’t work or has nothing to do with solving the problem. An example of that “won’t work” would be when one of God’s Prophets told a military man to go dip himself in a river seven times and his leprosy would go away. Not exactly American Medical Association guidelines. But then again when has the AMA ever been pro active in finding new cures? Its usually the crazies like you and I who venture to try it anyway.

So below is an interview with Karen, pay close attention to her second to last statement that the way her Autistic child was healed is not necessarily the way another child may heal. As I’ve seen with an old neighbor of mine who has an Autistic child, there are a number of ways to get results. The key to this story is Karen (like most moms) had to get creative when the world was against her.

I believe creative people have a wide variety of interests, past jobs and experiences. You have a real mix of talents in addition to being an author. Will you please tell us about yourself?

I am a stand up comic and speaker with a passion to impart truth and hope to people and to remind them that God is still purposed to have them move into their destiny.

Your new book, Defying Autism, is about your son, James. Will you tell us a little about him?

James is my first born, the apple of my eye. He was born right on time, perfect in every way. He progressed and hit all of the appropriate markers ahead of time. He was one of those vey easy babies that you could pass to anyone and he was still a happy baby. He was pointing and babbling at a year, and into everything!

At what point, did you start to notice that something was wrong?

We took James in for his 18-month check up and shots, after which his behavior took a dramatic, turn for the worse. When we brought him home, he would run to the same spot in the hall and stand with his back to the wall and slam his head backwards into the sheetrock. To say this was upsetting was an understatement, but then I thought maybe this is the dreaded terrible twos, or little boys are rough. So we would redirect him and send him on his way. The redirecting stopped working; it was though he could not stop behaving this way. He had many other strange habits, obsessive behaviors that began to appear. He would eat the little pieces of sheetrock, where he had actually put a hole in the sheetrock, he pulled the wallpaper off and ate it, he pulled up the corners of the carpet and ate the foam underneath it, he ate the rubber lining out of our car doors, he watched videos for hours standing in front of the TV.

What did you do? Who did you go to for help?

First we went to other parents of children. I owned a salon so I had the free advice every hour from women who had “already been through it”. I wanted to believe as they all said, that this is a phase, this is the two’s, little boys do strange things. We then went to professionals, pediatricians, speech therapists, ENT specialist, pediatric specialist, state agencies, MHMR and of course our church for lots and lots of prayer.

What can you tell my audience about autism?

Autism is a severely handicapping disorder that begins at birth or with in the first two and half years of life. For many years autism occurred in 5 out of 10,000 births, however since the early 1990’s the rate is now calculated at 1 in 150 births. Most autistic children are perfectly normal in appearance, but spend their time in disturbing behaviors, which are marked differently from those of normal children. They may stare into space for hours, throw uncontrollable tantrums, show no interest in people including their parents, and pursue strange repetitive activities with no apparent purpose. They have been described as living in a world of their own. Some autistic children have remarkable giftings in certain areas such as music or mathematics, and all need help.

What was your greatest fear?

My greatest fear was losing my child at five or ten years, or as an adult, to an institution. I would watch the movie Rain Main over and over again and assume that would be the best outcome for my son.

What was a typical day like for you and your family?

A typical day for us would be James up before we woke with a video in and grunting for what he wanted. He would only eat a few foods, several times a day he would throw up to let you know he didn’t want or like something.

Crying, tantrums and fits filled the day from sun up to bedtime. His fits had no beginning and sometimes it felt as if there would be no end. In the spring of 2000, when he was almost 6, he was still in a diaper, on a bottle and only spoke 20 words.

Did school help James?

School did help James; he did much better with a strict structured environment. The opposite of that however, is that it is hard to duplicate that environment at home with a family. School helped James academically, but not emotionally or socially.

Did church help James, or you?

Unfortunately, church did not help James at all. My husband and I were music ministers and would fill-in at churches that were looking for a fulltime staff person. This meant a lot of changes every few months – new locations, new staff, and new strange glares inferring what a bad mother I must be for my baby boy to behave in such a way. Church turned into a place I dreaded and had been such a place of family and belonging before.

What was the turning point for you in this journey?

Having heard the weekly cry of my heart for help for my child, one of my clients recommended a ministry team, a deliverance team, Gospel Revelation Ministries. I didn’t know what deliverance was, but I had no doubt I needed some. I went through personal deliverance and then followed with James in the spring of 2000. I was terrified but they said that God said he was going to be healed, so I stood with their faith. As we brought James into to the room for deliverance, he began to thrash and point to the door to leave, he was ready to go. The team prayed and laid hands on him. They said that the first demonic curse would have to go in Jesus’ name to the dry places. With that, my son reached his hand out and screamed, “come back, come back, come back, come back!!!” He was calling out for the demons that were leaving him. That was the turning point!

So, what was next?

The first thing I did was the most difficult. I changed my mind.

I changed what I believed that God could –and would – do if petitioned. I changed what I thought about the stories in the Bible. I changed my belief in what is available to us, TODAY, by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

When I began to be open to the truth of the scriptures, and not just what someone else said I should believe, or someone else’s interpretation of the scriptures for me, then…the Word of God began to truly be a light unto my path.

That was several years ago. How is James today?

James is wonderful! He is 15 years old going in to the 9th grade. He’s six foot tall and an amazing athlete. God’s promise is that he will restore our minds daily and James has caught up with remarkable speed. He is still about 2 _ years behind academically, and in three resource classes, but is making up lost ground daily. He is completely healed from the oppression of autism.

What do the professionals say?

Doctors say it is something, maybe higher than what they have in the medical field. It is nothing short of a miracle!

What can families hope for who have children with autism?

Families can believe and stand for their loved one’s healing. Jesus is in the miracle working business. He healed James.

James’ story could be anyone’s story. I was not the “good” Christian, but I stood, no matter what, believing for my child’s healing. Your healing may be through diet, environmental changes, behavioral changes, or even the way James was healed. However it comes, do not waver from the promises of God. Exodus 15 says, “I am the Lord your God who heals all of your diseases.” He is Jehovah Rapha, our God who heals. If it is in His name, it is in His will!

Karen, where can our readers get a copy of your book, or find out how to have you come and speak for their group or organization?

They can find out more about my book and speaking information on my website at I would love to hear from any of you who are dealing with autism in your family or among your friends. I hope you are encouraged by our story – that there is hope, healing, and freedom for your situation.


Keep Moving Forward!

June 10th, 2009

I found this on YouTube from a dshank711 and thought I’d share it with you. I’ve guest written some blogs and had some interviews and many people ask me about failure. To which I quote from Meet The Robinsons “keep moving forward.” Failure, is ok when you are learning. Unless of course you are putting a live person or animal inside a rocket that you haven’t tested….


Fun Social Network Questions

April 18th, 2009

• If Twitter says I can communicate with only 140 characters, why are more than 3,000,000 characters communicating?

• If it’s MySpace, why don’t I get part of MyAdRevenue?

• How long do you have to tumble to become a Tumblr?

• If LinkedIn has technical problems, does that make me “off the chain?”

• If I don’t follow Oprah on Twitter, does that make me a sinner?

• Can I tow my YouTube behind my boat?

• I claim the TV room as MySpace!

• If I’m not found on Mashable, am I unmashable?

• If Ashton Kutcher avoids the Paparazi why does he want so many people following him on Twitter?

• Can I Twitter around MySpace before I find a good place to read my Facebook?

• If my video gets leaked on YouTube does GoodYear have a patch I can use?

• Why do I need LinkedIn if I already know the person?

• Shouldn’t Facebook be called NonFaceTime?

• FriendFeed? My friends eat half my refrigerator already!

• Is is possible to Twitter to the Choir?

• Ecademy? Isn’t that the movie with all the goofy police officers?

• MySpace, I’ve been there, its like Times Square right?

• Can I Twitter high enough to get my BrightKite untangled?

• If I Google my own name, is that Googlebation?

• No I don’t Flickr! For one I don’t pick my nose and two I’d use a tissue!

• If Twitter is “follow for follow,” is that like the blind leading the blind?

• Do I need a pump for my YouTube?

• In MySpace no one can hear you Twitter.

• How long would my YouTube air last in MySpace?

• How come the networking guru’s don’t have as many followers as me?

• Does my boss give a twit if I Tweet?

• My BrighKite string broke and it flew into MySpace.

• I over Tweet so now I’m on Tweet ‘n Low.

• Yeah I’ve been FaceBook’d. I told the police I wasn’t anywhere near the crime scene!

• Blogging, isn’t that what the CIA does to Terrorists to get information?

• Does my Amazon book ranking affect my social networking score?

…that’s all folks! fer now.


The Monster Must Be Fed! -a satiricle description of social networks

April 4th, 2009

The Monster Must Be Fed!

Here is a free pdf with a satirical description of some popular social networking sites and how to deal with them. Feel free to download it and pass it around if you feel it has value to others.


*clicking link will automatically begin download.



Call for a new keyboard character: The Queslamation Mark

April 1st, 2009

We all do it (well except for the English Majors and the self appointed Grammar Police), the dreaded double mark. Where we are asking a question but also exclaiming at the same time. It looks like this:

You want me to do what?!


You want me to do what!?


You want me to do what??

As the internet age becomes more pronounced in the English language (think BFF or OMG) and now with the popularity of Twitter and the allowance of only 140 character spaces to get your point across, a single space can mean a lot. Think also of the other sites where your status update space is limited as well. I think many people really don’t want to break the rule of only using an exclamation mark or only using a single question mark or even using them together, but they need to emphasize in writing their verbal intonations. The Queslamation Mark does that.

I propose font makers create the character for use as a main character and that computer makers, operating system makers, keyboard makers, mobile phone makers, etc. put the Queslamation Mark as a main character on the keyboard. For the English market I suggest putting it in the upper left in place of the Accent mark (see circled in red. keyboard image below). The current and likely future of the written English language won’t use the Accent mark as it did in the past.

I propose that the Queslamation Mark not involve holding down the shift key or any combination of keys in order to type the mark into an email, Twitter, status update, Word document, design program or wherever you do typing.

Here’s what I need from you:

1) Grass roots level support. Contact Apple (click the corporate PR profiles), Microsoft (click the general inquiries), Dell, Motorola, LG, AT&T, even Amazon’s Kindle needs one -and whoever else you can think of. Contact them about this post. Tell them you want this character.

2) I need a PR firm to help get the word out pro bono. (I don’t make a dime from the use of this new mark idea)

3) Spread the word about this mark via Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, BrightKite, YouTube, FriendFeed, …and on and on.

***Note: Yes I am aware of a character called the Interrobang. It is an attempt from the 60′s to do the same. The problem with the Interrobang is that it is ugly, not really a “single” character, visually doesn’t come across, and you have to hold down numerous keys to get the thing to come up. The average person does not know it is there and won’t use it because of the multiple keys one must use to get it. Hence my total redesign and call for the Queslamation Mark on the external keyboard like our main question mark and exclamaition marks.


Ebook now available!

March 31st, 2009

In case you are from Europe, Africa, South America or currently unemployed I have good news for you. My book is now available as an Ebook here on my site. See the shop link up above.