What Determines Twitter Follower Order?

Danielle Reed
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One of the fastest growing social networking sites today, Twitter has 328 million monthly active users, one billion unique visits to sites with embedded tweets, and 82% of users are active on mobile. Many Twitter users often wonder how their follower order is determined. At the root of it, the answer is fairly simple. Followers are displayed in reverse chronological order, but specific situations can change the order depending on what happens.

People Following You

When you login to Twitter, your follower numbers are displayed right below your user name. On the desktop application, the total is shown below your photo and name. On the mobile application, switch to your profile instead of your feed to see your list of followers.

The desktop application shows your followers as a grid of image cards. In mobile, followers are shown in a list. The order of the display in both cases is reverse chronological order. The most recent person to follow you is found at the top of your list, and your first followers are at the bottom. Someone pressing the blue "follow" button for your account means they want to read your updates and see what you have to say on Twitter.

People You Follow

Do you actively follow people on Twitter? A lot of users don't personally send tweets but follow users they like to read about, laugh with, or get information from. Just as your own followers are listed in reverse chronological order, so are the users you follow. If you've followed someone in the past few days, they will show up at the top of your list.

Changes in Follower Order on Twitter

Twitter does have rules about how it determines the order of followers. It isn't always as simple as people liking your page, following you, and sticking with you until the end of time. Because it is a platform about speaking your mind, it is easy to lose followers and gain them at the drop of a hat. So, what causes changes in your follower order?

Unfollowing Then Following Again

Think about a celebrity account. When they are most controversial, celebrities attract attention online and on social media. This applies to people less famous as well. When a tweet makes a political claim, a person may unfollow that account. After some time passes, it is likely this person may run into the same account and realize the tweets are worth reading again.

The second time a person follows you, the chronological order changes. Twitter doesn't record the original date of the first follow; it records the most recent follow.

Blocking Your Account

When a follower blocks your account, you do not see them on your followers list. If you visit their page, you cannot see their information or their tweets. A blocked user changes the chronology of your followers as it removes one from your list. In cases of a mutual follow, both parties are removed from the list.

Fake Accounts

An adjustment in followers, and even a decrease of a few people, might show up on your page. This is because Twitter is quite active about finding fake or fraudulent accounts. If several of these are on your list, they are deleted from your page and also from Twitter entirely.

Privacy on Twitter

Are you worried about fake accounts or people blocking you online? Setting your account as private means no one can read your tweets unless they follow you and they cannot follow you if you do not approve them. If you have a private account, all follower requests show up as notifications on your account. This is a nice safeguard if you want your information to remain private or want to be sure you know every person that sees your account. Now, go ahead and try to increase your followers for a business or personal account!

What Determines Twitter Follower Order?