Ever have 47,000 people disappear on you out of the blue? It happened to me two days ago and I can assure you, it’s not fun. Was I freakin? Big time. Especially since I had no clue why it happened. Here’s the story…
So I go to log in to my twitter account on Friday night only to find a big red box on my login screen which reads, “Your account has been suspended due to strange activity.” I can’t remember what the small print said, but it was something like, “We’re not going to go into more detail and you can kiss our sweaty balls if you don’t like it, loser.”
As you might imagine, I had a heart attack right there on the spot and instantly soiled my Calvins. As my heart raced uncontrollably, I tried to dig up a plausible reason for my suspension. Did I spam anybody? Nope. Did I go overboard trying to follow and unfollow too many people? I’ve used the same following regime every day for the last 6 months without a problem. So then, what the f*&%?
I eventually convinced myself that Twitter must be under another 4Chan attack (for more on the infamous “Gorilla Penis” attack, go HERE ) and quickly put in a support request to let them know I wasn’t a hacker. About an hour later, I received an email explaining that my account was suspended for “follower churning” and that I would have to wait at least a week before I could petition to be reinstated. My stomach quickly knotted up as I reached for the Tums and proceeded to state my case right then and there.
I explained that, as far as following goes, I hadn’t done anything unusual, I’ve never spammed anyone and that many people would vouch that I’m a valuable member of the community. I also asked if they could explain exactly why I was suspended so I could avoid making the same mistake in the future. They refused to elaborate and just reiterated the fact that I was banned and needed to wait a week before I could contact them again. I choked back the vomit in my throat as I reached for the Zoloft.
It was now 4am and since I was too sick to sleep, I began scouring the net for answers. Apparently, “follower churning” can be anything from following far more people than are following you, following and unfollowing rapidly in succession, repeatedly following and unfollowing the same people, or following a large number of people in a short amount of time. At this point, I still had no idea what I did wrong.
Twitter’s support team refuses to go into detail when asked for specifics. I’m not sure if they’re purposely vague or don’t receive enough info from the bots to elaborate. Regardless, instantly banning someone without warning is a horrible business practice, especially when Twitter’s rules aren’t exactly cut and dry.
Part of the reason I was throwing up on myself, was that I kept envisioning my followers landing on a page that says, “This user has been suspended due to strange activity.” Wouldn’t most people quickly assume that the user was spamming left and right and involved in a bunch of other shenanigans? Up until now, I certainly would have. Considering a large percentage of members use their accounts for business purposes, you would think Twitter would have a system in place to help prevent someone’s perceived credibility from being destroyed in an instant.
Ok, enough bitching. Here’s what happened next…
My frantic search for help eventually led me to a Twitter expert by the name of Chris Voss (http://thechrisvossshow.com/) who sells a few e-books on the ins and outs of Twitter suspension and reinstatement. He was only charging $10 for a package of four so I instantly bought them all. The info was top-notch and I quickly sent him an email to thank him and ask a quick question.
Long story short, he helped me figured out that I most likely followed a bunch of people who I previously unfollowed a short time before. Since I regularly follow the followers of big name guru’s (like Tony Robbins) and don’t use any software to do it, it’s easy to lose track of all this stuff and, to the best of my knowledge, this is exactly what happened.
Apparently, once you make this mistake a certain number of times, it triggers the bots and you wind up suspended. Of course, since nobody knows what the parameters are, you never really know where you stand. Should you be paranoid? Well, I spent six months building a list of almost 50,000 followers only to have them all wiped out in a heartbeat. Maybe a little paranoia is a good thing.
To wrap this up, I began using Chris’ methods the next day and BAM… my account was reinstated in less than five hours. The gist of the method involves contacting the “correct” person and explaining your situation. The “wrong” person, as I discovered, will refuse to listen to a word you say and completely leave you hanging. Customer service at its finest.
So if you’re serious about Twitter, you MUST get your hands on Chris’s books. It’ll be the best ten bucks you’ll ever spend. Not only did I get my account turned back on almost immediately, but I now have a much better idea of how to avoid getting stuck in this situation in the future. Without this info, you just might be left a bloody mess when the Twitter bird decides to swoop down and pluck out your eyeballs. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
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