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Attracting Followers

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Everyone wants followers. We all work hard to create our characters, to stay on top of the action, to interact and make friends and have adventures. You can't do it unless you're following a lot of people, and you need others to follow you. Here are some tips on how to attract followers.

First: @mention Characters SPARINGLY

Nothing you do will register with people who aren't following you, and the only direct way to come to their attention is to put "@<theirname>" in your pose: this is called an "@mention" and it's a powerful tool, use it for good and not evil: few things are worse than someone abusing an @mention.

  • Just because you @mentioned someone doesn't mean they have to respond. Maybe you @mentioned them and they're not even awake/online. Maybe they are, but are busy. Maybe they not busy, but they're not in the same room/place as you, and responding would break the reality of the scene. Remember, just because someone doesn't respond doesn't mean they're ignoring you or have any baggage.
  • @mention someone only when it makes sense. If you and your friend are talking about that one time you remember meeting Princess @mlp_Celestia, it makes sense to @mention her once or twice. If @mlp_Applejack is in the town square selling apple fritters and you're passing through the town square on your way to the hardware store to get a shovel, feel free to @mention them. Avoid @mentioning someone totally out of context just for the sake of getting their attention, it's really annoying--like ringing a doorbell and running away.
  • If someone @mentions you, don't feel obligated to respond, play it as the situation dictates. A quick tip: if someone @mentions you and you're nowhere near them, you can sneeze. This is a trope people picked up from Anime, and from the Japanese tradition that when you sneeze, it's because someone somewhere said your name. It's cute, and harmless, in moderation.

The Golden Rule: Have Fun

Fun is attractive. If you're having fun, people will want to be around you. There's no faking fun: if you're having fun, people will know it. If you're not, no amount of talking about it or forcing it will help.

Fun on Your Own

Maybe you're new. Maybe the characters you normally hang around with aren't online. Maybe they're busy with other RolePlay (RP). You're on your own, and it's a great thing. Being on your own is your chance to have fun in the world, to say and do and be things just for you. Here are some tips:

  • Do things normal to your character. Are you an earth pony with a flower cutiemark who loves gardens? Go garden! And not just as busy work: find the fun in gardening. Normal, everyday gardening, not crazy magic plants or adventure-spawning garden catastrophes: just gardening.
  • Do things normal to everyday life, even if they're not specific to your character. Everyone needs a place to live. Everyone gets hungry. Everyone goes into town to run errands. These can be boring filler or they can be fun--it's up to you. Avoid the extremes: don't drown the twitter feed in tiresome details just to have something to say, and don't make your trip to the market some huge adventure. Just help build the world, and have fun doing it--people will notice you're comfortable doing normal things, and that's attractive.
  • Give yourself an adventure. Nothing wrong with that--in fact, it's the start of many a great RP. Go do something. Are you a painter who needs a rare flower from Everfree to extract your yellow pigment? Go have fun in Everfree. The rule of hoof here is, don't do anything that "forces" other people into your RP. No one likes to be forced. Example: You go into Everfree to get your yellow pigment flower, and are attacked by a manticore, oh no! You're trapped in the manticore's cave, you need a rescue, help! Help! You're forcing people to come get you--people who might not know who you are (you haven't met them yet) or who couldn't possibly know you're in trouble (and even if you find some way to let them know, you're forcing them to either ignore you and look like jerks, or drop everything and pay attention to you). It's a bad idea, it's close to powergaming (never good). Go have an adventure that you can enjoy--and get home from--on your own.

Fun with Others

Something's going on, and you want to be part of it. You've been following the Mane 6 ponies, or @mlp_Celestia or some other accounts and they're doing something that looks fun. Great, it's all about fun! But fun with others only works if they include you, which means they're already following you or are about to, because you're having so much fun. Here are some tips:

  • Don't crash the party. Inserting yourself right into the action is a force, and nobody likes to be forced. Example: @mlp_Rarity and @mlp_Spike are out hunting for gems in the gem fields, and they get attacked by Diamond Dogs, oh no! It just so happens your character is a brilliant pegasus fighter--so you show up out of nowhere, post that you "defeat the guards with your awesome moves" and that's the end of that. Now you've forced @mlp_Rarity and @mlp_Spike to give up whatever scene they were building (you removed their conflict), force them to be grateful, and of course, force them to acknowledge you. Even if you just show up and merely offer to assist, while that's better, you've forced everyone to stop in the middle of the action and somehow integrate you into their scene. Don't force.
  • Don't beg to join in. This is a little tricky, since there's nothing wrong with Direct Messaging (DMing) someone and asking them if there's room in their RP for you--but you don't want to come across as desperate or make your request feel like a "force with a please on it." No one likes a tagalong, but everyone likes fun, and those who contribute fun are likely to come along for the ride without ruffling any feathers. Even if you don't DM, "begging" to join smacks of despration. TIP: Don't say, "Hey, anyone want to RP?"--it's breaks the reality of TwitterPonies (4th wall) and seems darn desperate.
  • React before you act. If there's some action going on with other ponies, imagine yourself one of those ponies in the background of the show, watching @mlp_Rainbow Dash racing, or seeing @mlp_Pinkie Pie bounce along, or who has to step aside as a giant @mlp_Gummy/@mlp_Opal/@mlp_Tank "fight cloud" rolls by. Reacting to others' actions give reality and depth to their RP--include a few @mentions to show them and the world you're reacting. Example: Woah, was that @mlp_Spike sneaking around the back of Sugar Cube Corner, and why was he wearing a top hat? While @mlp_Spike might not respond, you're supporting his RP without forcing, and your reaction is appropriate and amusing. It'll make him likely to trust you, and possibly follow you or even draw you into the current RP.

Be patient! People have a lot of accounts to follow, and it's a significant thing to have them follow you. It may take a while for them to trust you enough to follow--and that trust is built up by following the Guidelines, by not forcing, and by seeking out good attention, not bad attention.

Remember the Golden Rule: if you're having fun, it's attractive. If your goal is to "first get followers and then fun will surely come from that," you've got it backwards. Have fun, revel in being in this Pony world, and followers will come.

Good Attention and Bad Attention

Every character is unique, but "unique" doesn't mean "quality." Yes, there are skilled role players and unskilled. Nothing wrong with being unskilled--everyone has to start somewhere. But skilled RPers tend to be the ones that are themselves very attractive and gain lots of followers: mostly because they follow the Guidelines and obey the Golden Rule and know how to have fun. It follows that people want to have those character follow them.

So you want to attract followers, that's why you're reading this wikipage. Okay, do you want to attract "quality" RPers or not? Note, your definition of "quality" is up to you, and that brings us to the different kinds of attention.

Good Attention is everything that isn't Bad Attention.

Bad Attention comes in many shapes. Here's a small sample:

  • Melodrama. Once in a great while, a little melodrama can be amusing, but usually just for a gag. There are times when you want to find a long-lost sister, or twirl your mustache while tying a pony to the train tracks. But that's the exception. Most melodrama comes from RPers who don't know how to get attention without it, and what they're seeking turns out to be bad attention. Example: I'm an orphan standing here in the middle of Ponyville, I can't remember much because of my amnesia, won't someone give me a home, because I'm just certain I'm probably secretly a royal or have some incredible magic potential. You're advertising to everyone that you're after melodrama, so you'll only be followed by those who enjoy melodrama--and not many do. It'll likely garner you bad attention.
  • Drama. Take a look at the television show: how many marriages have we had? How many foals born? How many divorces? Deaths? Abandonments? Betrayals? Ponies saying "You're dead to me!" and meaning it forever? How many professions of undying love? How much giggling and blushing over boyfriends/girlfriends? How much dating has gone on? How many huge reversals of fortune, with rich ponies going bankrupt, or poor ponies winning lotteries? How many grudges? The answer to all these is, "almost none at all," because that's not what the world of MLP:FIM is about. We're all here because we enjoy the world Lauren Faust and her team created, so it makes sense the closer you stick to it (and avoid drama) the more followers you'll have. If you engage in drama, you're going to be followed by those who like drama. Not nearly as many folks enjoy drama, so you won't have nearly as many followers, and you'll be attracting only drama attention. The choice is yours.
  • Competition for Power and Authority. There are many things to do in Equestria, and everything you choose to do--what you find fun to do--will attract those who find that fun. Some people are only having fun if they're in charge, or are the biggest badasses in town. While this can be good for conflict (think @mlp_GildaGriff in the gryphon episode, or @mlp_Trixie in her episode), it's not a great choice if you're looking for followers, because you're asking for bad attention. The rule of hoof: you don't have to be the "best" at whatever you do. Are you a sklled fighter? You don't have to be the Captain of the Guard. Are you a unicorn? You don't have to constantly strive to be the next incarnation of Starswirl the Bearded. No one likes a powergamer, and you won't attract anyone except other powergamers who either want to joust with you or (and this is far worse) who will indulge your bid for power in your area if you'll indulge them in their bit for power in their area. That guarantees you one follower, but probalby not many more. It's not fun to constantly feed someone's fantasies of power and control, you may find yoursel quite alone.
  • Tears and Sighs. Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone. The single most common way people try to get attention is to cry, or sigh, or mope, or pout, or nurse some feeling that someone did them wrong, or wallow in some frustrated ambition. You'll get attention at first, maybe even some followers: it's the pony way to help those in trouble. But it's bad news. Avoid whenever possible: this is bad attention. Remember, you attract more flies with honey than vinegar.
  • Butt-kissing. Compliments give you a warm fuzzy feeling for about two minutes. When the same person compliments you again, it's creepy. When they do it a third time or beyond, you know they're only really trying to kiss your butt. Don't suck up to ponies, not Princesses, not Mane 6, not anyone. The players behind show regulars are aware you might be a fan of the character and can handle a compliment or two, but it'll become clear that you're flank-kissing within moments. That's bad attention of the worst order. It's also against the very ideal of Friendship so important to the show.

There are plenty more, but if you avoid these most common sources of bad attention, and if you obey the Golden Rule, you'll probably be doing the sorts of things that attract people. Use the @mention wisely, and you'll have followers because you'll be having fun. Why else are we all here?

Followers in Flux

Nothing stays the same for long. Here are some tips on dealing with follows and unfollows.

Yay, You F​ollowed Me!

Congratulations, you just got a follower. What you didn't get was a new brother or sister, best friend forever, confidant or lover.

  • Don't tell the world. It's a break in the 4th wall to shout, "Hey cool, @mlp_Luna is following me!" It makes the person who followed you worry they've walked into some kind of trap, and will come into crisis should they ever unfollow you--that you have issues. It's also counterproductive: it makes everyone think you're here to collect followers, rather than have fun. It turns things into a competition, and this isn't about who has the most friends. Relax, enjoy.
  • Don't look a gift pony in the mouth. Someone following you is not a judgment call: it doesn't validate you, it doesn't mean you were "picked from among the herd," it doesn't mean you've been rewarded. It's something nice that happened, yes, but it's just part of the world: don't attach more to it than that. It's bad form to DM the person thanking them for following you, asking them why they followed you. That's just fishing for compliments. In general, the answer to "Why did you follow me?" is "Who cares?"--don't ask the question in the first place.
  • Don't assume they want to play. Especially in the beginning, when you have very few followers because your character was just created, getting a follower can be like a ray of sunshine through the clouds. But it doesn't mean they suddenly want to RP with you. Just because someone tunes into your radio station doesn't mean they want to call the studio and talk to the DJ.
  • Follow back, but only if you want to. Don't feel forced to follow back. It's not rude to accept that someone is following you and not follow them. In fact, it's a false friendship to follow someone for no other reason than they're following you: the reason to follow someone is because they've conformed to all the tips above (they're entertaining, having fun, abiding by the Guidelines, seeking only good attention, and so on). If you're following someone for other reasons, you're in bad faith--even if you're doing it "just to be polite." That can get you into trouble.

Oh No, You Unfollowed Me!

What did I say? What did I do wrong? It's the beginning of the end! No, it's not, it's just an unfollow. Take a moment to think it through:

  • THE GOLDEN RULE OF UNFOLLOWING: DON'T TAKE IT PERSONALLY. Just like a follow, someone unfollowing you isn't a judgment, a statement about your skill, or an insult. Just like getting a follow, getting an unfollow should affect you as much as a gentle breeze--notice it, but it shouldn't affect you at all.
  • The answer to "Why did you unfollow me?" is "Who cares?"--DON'T ASK THE QUESTION IN THE FIRST PLACE. The only reason you'd ask is because you took it personally and are trying to either talk them back into following you or locate precisely what you "did wrong" so you can change it as fast as possible in a desperate bid to get followers back or retain those you have. Notice none of this has anything to do with having fun? If you're thinking this way, it means you're here for the wrong reasons.
  • "Yeah, but why DID they unfollow me?" Followers are people, and people's lives change, their tastes change, their free time shrinks and grows, and they can also be a bit inconsistent themselves. Here are some reasons why people unfollow:
    • Their Twitter feed is too big to manage. Every plant needs pruning. Sometimes you wake up in the morning and see your TwitterPonies feed will take you hours to catch up on. Eventually, you unfollow out of sheer self defense. This doesn't mean you were the "weakest link" in their friends list, it doesn't mean you "messed up" or "posted too much," it could be they simply unfollowed, practically at random, just to cut down on their workload.
    • Their interest in MLP:FIM and/or TwitterPonies is on the wane. It happens. People get bored, or feel it's all too time-consuming, etc. Okay, that's life.
    • Their free time shrank. People might get a second job, have a baby, have to start school again, they might be unfollowing huge chunks, but you only see when they unfollow you.
    • You've taken your RP down a road they don't care for. This isn't a judgment on you! Your definition of "fun" is unique, as is everyone's else. If someone unfollows you, it could be they're just not into what you're up to now. Remember the Golden Rule of Unfollowing and don't take it personally.
    • You're RPing with folks they have issues with. Don't you hate it when your friends aren't friends with your other friends? Well, it happens everywhere. It's not your fault that someone unfollows you because you happen to be roleplaying with others and there's bad blood between them. It's not your job to mend fences, it's not your job to make peace. If there's drama, don't let a follow or unfollow drag you into it.
    • They're just not very mature. Okay, that's life. People know others take an unfollow hard, and try to use it as a weapon. Or they're just immature and are "taking their ball and going home." You're going to let it roll off your back, though, because you obey the Golden Rule of Unfollowing and not take it personally, right?
    • You screwed up bigtime. Okay, that's life. None of us are perfect, and maybe you had a bad day and lashed out at them. Or maybe you got caught in some drama. Or maybe you found yourself not having fun, not being entertaining, and they unfollowed you. Resist the urge to apologize, to try and "fix" whatever you did. Just relax. Go back to having fun, don't take it personally.
    • You may never know. For some people, this is a weapon too: they unfollow in some loud, grandiose way, then purposefully keep quiet as to "why" in order to drive you crazy. But they will fail in that immature swipe, because you're following the Golden Rule of Unfollowing and not taking it personally.

The Temporary Follow

One big reason not to get excited about follows or upset about unfollows is the very common Temporary Follow. Here are some reasons why someone might be temporary following you, or temporary unfollowing you:

  • It's a temporary roleplay. A party has formed to go find poor @mlp_Rainbow Dash, lost in Everfree with a hurt wing! You're part of that party, because you were all awake and watching when it happened, you all joined together, and it's clear you're part of the group, so others in that group who never followed you before suddenly follow you: how else are they going to hear what you say and see what you do? This is a pretty clear temporary follow. Don't celebrate, and don't weep when, after they find Dash, rescue her, everyone goes home, suddenly they unfollow you.
  • It's a temporary conversation. Maybe you're not in some big roleplay, but you are talking to @mlp_Applejack at her fritter stand in the middle of town. Maybe she follows you while you're talking about the weather, or apples, or something light. If they unfollow you after you've gone home, well, that's only natural.
  • You're on probation. Like it or not, some people use the Twitter Following system as a way to "check out" people, following them for a few days and then deciding to unfollow. Remember, you didn't ASK to "go on probation," this is behavior by someone else, out of your control. There is no "validation" if you stay followed, and no implied "criticism" or failure if you get unfollowed--it's just someone's else idea of how to manage their own follow list. Remember the Golden Rule of Unfollowing and don't take it personally.
  • It just happens. Twitter, and computers, and people, are fickle and sometimes just do things. Or make mistakes. Sometimes there isn't a reason. Relax, return to having fun.

The Formula for Success

The basic formula for success in TwitterPonies: The closer you adhere to the spirit and letter and play your character accounts within the letter and spirit of the following guidelines, the more likely you are to get Followers, avoid Blockers, be Included in conversations and adventures and have fun.

The converse is true also: the further you stray from the formula, the fewer followers you'll get, the less involved you'll be in conversations or adventures, and you might get blocked.

Read More

You've read this far, PLEASE read these pages as well. Yes, all of them. It's the secret to a fun time, and it'll keep TwitterPonies drama-free for all:

The choice is yours. None of these are rules.

That's how TwitterPonies works.

Got questions? Follow and DM the @mlp_Mod account. The Mod follows every character account, and will always respond to any DM as soon as possible.

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