twitter auto-follow – Stay N Alive

Twitter Now Removing Blacklisted Accounts

twitter.png(I’m beginning to move much of my activity over to FriendFeed lately. Scoble calls it the “World Wide Talk Show” – please subscribe to my feed to comment and participate!)

I was going to write a few more of my annoyances with Twitter today, but a few pleasant announcements have come out of Twitter lately that I thought I’d share.

First, just announced today, Twitter will be shutting down accounts entirely that they have marked as “spam” on their blacklist. What??? Twitter has a blacklist? Yes, you heard it right.

Before today, Twitter would mark accounts as “spam”, but not tell the owners of the accounts they marked them as spam. Those owners of the accounts could follow others, but no one was able to follow them, and there was no way for the owners of those accounts to know they had been blacklisted. It was the same with the API – it was actually a huge headache for me as a Twitter API developer because despite me following the user, Twitter would respond with nothing as though the follow went through, but the next day the user would show up again as not being followed. I checked with Twitter and they confirmed the accounts I was having trouble with were indeed accounts that were on their “blacklist”.

Today, Alex Payne confirmed on the Twitter Dev mailing list that from now on users marked as Spam on Twitter will have their accounts suspended entirely for violating the Terms of Service. He also confirmed that they would avoid the headaches Facebook has had (aka Scoble’s account being suspended) and contact the owners beforehand to let them state their case.

I strongly welcome this new practice – Twitter has all the stats on their end to flag accounts as possible spammers, and by removing their accounts promptly this will make Twitter a much nicer place to use. The only other thing I would suggest they add now that this is in place is a way for developers to notify them of possible Spam accounts. You can do this as a user by “blocking” the account in question – I have no way to do this as a developer that I’m aware of.

The second, very welcomed feature is the addition of a “since” variable when requesting the friends or followers of an individual. In the past on I had to do a request on all of an individual’s friends and all of an individual’s followers, and do a compare to see which of those following you, you weren’t following. For several A-list bloggers with near tens of thousands of followers, this was taking a few hours to complete the entire script, not to mention increasing the number of HTTP requests back to Twitter’s servers, I’m sure further burdening their already overburdened bandwidth.

Now, with the “since” variable, I can keep a tally of when I last checked your following/follower ratio and only do a request on those friends that have followed you since the last check. I can now go from checking those you follow on a daily basis, to checking almost every minute!

Last, Twitter has added the ability to determine, with one API call if a friendship exists between two individuals. Now rather than having to get a list of those you’re following, and then those that have followed you, I can just get a list of those following you and check to see that a friendship exists.

It is very refreshing to see such an active effort on Twitter’s part to help out the development community. I hope they continue to maintain the relationship they have with us, and continue to listen – many of us really want to see them succeed.

Improving the Twitter Web With SocialToo

socialtoo.pngI have a sincere favor to ask of you. Would you, if you have not already, go to and sign up and help me out in my cause? Share it with others, blog about it, Twitter it – this was written for you. Today, I launched something special on, something that I hope will make a better environment on Twitter. It only works if lots of people use it though.

Today I launched an intelligent blacklisting feature on After registering and logging into your SocialToo! Dashboard, you’ll see a text box where you can enter twitter screen names you would like to blacklist. For each “spammer” you see, or individual you simply do not want to follow, enter their Twitter screen-name, and when a certain percentage of users on all blacklist that same user (we have a unique algorithm that determines that, based on crowd-sourcing the definition of “Spam” on Twitter), we add that name to a global blacklist on When anyone chooses to auto-follow those that follow them on Twitter using the SocialToo! auto-follow feature, now those users will never be followed. You can now ignore them forever, hindering their reasons for being on Twitter! is a project I term, “the Companion to the Social Web”. After registering you have options such as the ability to automatically follow those that follow you on Twitter, add an automated message that gets sent to users (via dm) after they follow you for the first time, and on Facebook, redirect to your Facebook profile via More features are being worked on for multiple social networks, and the idea is to find all the needs that just are not provided by the traditional Social Networks, and make them available to the public. If you have a need let me know. All scripts that run behind the scenes at I am releasing on a single-user level via Open Source (GPL v.2) so you can run it on your own server should you desire.

The final feature, released today, is this Global, Intelligent, blacklisting feature. This feature, to me makes much more sense than services like, since rather than depending on ratio only, we’re depending on actual user definition, by the masses to determine who is a “spammer” on Twitter. I’ll look to also integrate with’s API in the future, and maybe even contribute back to it as we grow, but this is the start of something big. This is truly a Groundswell opportunity (I’m reading Charlene Li’s book right now) that you can be a part of.

Announcing New Features for

SocialToo!Many of you are currently using for auto-following those that follow you on Twitter.  Well, I just added 2 new features to the site that might warrant you wanting to log in again and seeing what’s there.  The first feature is Facebook profile redirects – now, “” will redirect to your Facebook profile if you click on a link on your SocialToo! dashboard (after logging in).  See my Facebook profile here and add me as a friend!: BTW, this is just one more example of how you can integrate the Facebook API outside of Facebook itself.
Also, I just added a UI to the blacklisting functionality I’ve talked about before.  This will allow you to specify specific users you don’t want the SocialToo! Twitter Auto-Follow script to follow.  You will of course have to unfollow them if you are already following them, but from then on they will no longer be followed by SocialToo!

These are just a few of many integrated Social Tools I’ll be adding in the future.  Stay tuned here and I’ll keep you updated (I’ll also shoot you a quick Twitter DM for the big ones like this!).  Let me know if you run into troubles.  Enjoy!

You can also read more about it on here: