Being followed by another Twitter user: It's a delightful feeling that fluffs the ego as we bask in a dopamine rush inside our brain. I'm somebody!
While it is polite—however not required—to reciprocate the following, recent waves of malware and virus attacks born in Twitter's womb, as well as Twitter trollers just looking to boost their following by following anybody and everybody, have made me apprehensive about following Twitters users with what I consider "suspect" profiles and bios. (Got Twitter questions? Check out CIO.com's Twitter Bible.)
Of course, you can't fully judge someone by his Twitter handle, brief bio and profile pic. But I've noticed some tell-tale signs that particular Twitter users are either malevolent or just looking to gratify their egos. In other words, think twice before following these tweeple.
Any Twitter handle that includes the words "baby," "real," "stud" or "fake." Not Good
Too white teeth. Trolling for Followers
Any image that resembles a hastily-sketched cartoon that my six-year-old could have done better. Don't Touch with 10-Foot Pole
The "too professional" glamour shot. Probably Safe, But Going to Annoy You with Self-Important Tweets
Any image that contains: female and pillow. Stay Away
Bare midriff. That's Probably Not the Actual Carly Fiorina
The "Glory Days" photo from a decade (or two) ago. Safe, But Sad
Anyone who's pictured with their child or children. Typically Safe and Genuine
Image of celebrity. Be Wary
Image of Miley Cyrus. Too Late—Just Looking at the Image Means You're Infected
If the follower's RT complements your physique. Stay Away
Heart, skull or crossbones. Might Want to Avoid That
The "tool cool for school" guy with sunglasses on and hat on backward. Hey, That's Me! I'm Normal. I Swear!