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December 18, 2011

The Limits of Twitter

Screen Shot 2011-12-17 at 12.41.07 PM

An informative item by J.D. Biersdorfer published in the December 13 New York Times follows.

Q. Is there a maximum number of people I can "follow" on Twitter or who can follow me?

Screen Shot 2011-12-17 at 12.28.20 PM

A. Twitter does impose limits on the number of people you can follow from your account. But that number is fairly high: 2,000. The company states that this is to avoid strain on the system and to limit abuse to its service — most likely from spammers or other opportunists seeking to make a buck.

The company does not limit the number of people who can follow your account. Twitter does have other technical limits for account use. You can post up to 1,000 updates a day, (with retweets from other users counting in the update total) and you can send up to 250 direct messages a day to other Twitter members. An article on the Twitter site has more information on the company's policies.

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Judging from the accounts pictured above and many others I've seen following more than 10,000 others, Twitter's limit of 2,000 described by Ms. Biersdorfer above must be of relatively recent onset, with mega-following accounts grandfathered in.

Anyone who can shed light — or heat, we don't care much around here as long as there's some evidence of energy, be it conventional or dark — on this follower limit, please take a yoctosecond or trillion and weigh in.

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Note added at 12:39 p.m. today: Twitter's "Following Rules and Best Practices" page explains how some accounts can follow far more than 2,000 others — it appears to have nothing to do with grandfathering: "Once you’ve followed 2000 users, there are limits to the number of additional users you can follow: this limit is different for every user and is based on your ratio of followers to following."

December 18, 2011 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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