What Does Follow Mean on Twitter?

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When we're talking about Twitter, the word "follow" can have one of two meanings:

  1. Twitter users whose updates you subscribe to (people you are following)
  2. Twitter users who subscribe to the updates you publish (people who follow you are called your followers).

How Twitter Works (in just a few words)

Every time you write a new update (or "tweet") and publish it to your Twitter profile, it's available for the world to see (unless you set your account to make your tweets private).

Inevitably, there will be some people who are very interested in what you have to say and will want to know whenever you publish a new tweet. Those people can select the "Follow" button on your profile page to subscribe to automatically receive your tweets. That means when they log into their Twitter accounts, their main Twitter feed page will be populated with a chronological list of the tweets of everyone that they're following, including yours.

The same holds true for people that you choose to follow. When you log into your Twitter account, your home page will show a chronological list of tweets from everyone you have chosen to follow by clicking on the "Follow" button on their Twitter profile pages. You can choose to follow (or unfollow) any Twitter user you want at anytime.

How to Stop People From Following You

The internet being the internet, people sometimes have what's called... Oh, let's face it: Some people are just jerks, plain and simple.

And if they spoke that way in real life, they'd end up in a heap of trouble. Thanks to anonymity, however, people get up their cyber courage and say some awful things. If they are directing at you, you can block them and they will no longer be allowed to follow you. They can, however, make a new account and start following you again and, once again, direct vitriol your way.

Twitter is working hard (some might say not hard enough) to make this better, but for now, the Block button is your first line of defense. And remember, it goes both ways. If you spout some awful, mean-spirited words, you can find yourself blocked, too (which is how it should be).