I’ve been doing some major Twitter cleaning in the past few days. It’s not over yet, but I’m getting there.
Let me make one thing clear from the get-go: I am not Mother Teresa of Twitter. First of all, that’s not even a thing that exists. Secondly, this didn’t make anything clear at all.
What I’m trying to say is this: I am not better than you on Twitter. Maybe a lot worse. I may very well be on your unfollow list. That’s perfectly fine with me. I don’t hold grudges, except for that time my childhood friend Pavel took my toy soldier and never returned it. You will come to regret this, Pavel! You hear me?!
In fact, the reason I ended up having to do the cleaning is because I’ve been doing Twitter wrong since the start. I followed a lot of mostly random people in the hope that they’d follow me back and we’d interact in the most meaningful way one can in 140 characters.
I’ve come to realise that this “strategy”, while bringing in many followers, didn’t result in much quality conversation. Sure, there are a few people I regularly Tweet with (hi, both of you). However, for the large part my Twitter stream feels like walking through an insane asylum where each patient is yelling out his latest thought debris for everyone to hear.
I decided it’s time to become a better Twitter citizen and interact properly with the Twitter crowd. I can’t do that if I’m bombarded with brain vomit and endless bot spam.
So, using some third party Twitter filtering and management tools, I’m now in the process of methodically purging these types from my Twitter:
Some people haven’t tweeted a word for months. In Twitter years that’s, like, years. In most cases these people have abandoned Twitter altogether, so I have no qualms in unfollowing them.
8. Foreign crowd
There may be absolutely nothing wrong with you! For all I know you guys are the most awesome Twitterers out there. It’s just that I can’t understand your words. I don’t que pasa your Macarena. You probably can’t borsch my Polka either, so why are we following each other?
How do you get into the “WTF” category? Here’s how:
- Your Twitter bio looks like QWERTY keys had an epileptic seizure while having sex with the CAPS LOCK key. Maybe something like “LOL i LoV3 l!Fe – - – foLLoW back”.
- Your tweets contain more hearts and symbols than letters. I’m not a secret agent, I don’t have the smarts to decode your messages.
- Your tweets appear to be an assortment of words assembled by a random number generator with dyslexia.
If your name is BestCarSalesQuotes or PornGirlsForYou, you’re being unfollowed. But hey, I like your self-explanatory bios, nice touch!
To be sure, RTs are an excellent way to engage on Twitter. I know I should start hitting that “Retweet” button more often than I do now.
However, if all of your tweets are just RTs of other people, then you’re not adding anything to my life. Seeing how I have eyes and a functioning computer, I am perfectly capable of finding things on Twitter by myself. I don’t need to you to be my personal content aggregator.
4. Pointlessness Dispensers
Just like Facebook, Twitter is filled with people sharing the most mundane things. “Goodmorning all”, “saw a dog”, “ate a biscuit”, “farted, “killed a hobo”, etc.
Listen, unless you’re doing this sarcastically or for comedic effect, nobody cares. In fact, I’ve done a few of these types of random tweets myself, just to see if anyone gave a shit. My findings: nobody gives a shit!
Again, if you do this once in a while, fine. But if that’s all you have to offer, then you have nothing to offer. There’s a reason they don’t have a reality show called Grandma Talks About Her Uneventful Day. People like two-way conversations, not a running commentary of your boring life.
This category also includes people exclusively posting regurgitated quotes. Trust me, I know how Google works. I can find countless inspirational quotes there in mere seconds. Hell, I can even find instructions on making a machine gun out of horse hair and coat hangers. Probably.
I don’t need you to remind me of this smart thing Franklin D. Roosevelt once said. I believe it was “The only thing you have to fear is being deeply hated by strangers on social media, you useless fucking waste of 140 characters”.
These are the opposite of parrots. I know many of us are on Twitter to promote our own stuff. I am. I share my blog posts and things I like. There’s no shame in it! There’s no shame in it, right? Right?!
What we also do, however, is interact with others. RT, tweet at others, ask questions, get involved.
If your feed is flooded with nothing but links to your book / blog / amateur interpretive dance videos and you never RT or respond to others, you’re unfollowed. If I wanted to be bombarded by ads I’d stand outside for hours and stare at billboards.
This is usually a mixture of 4. and 3. and goes especially for App Spam.
Look, I get it. Apps are awesome. They help us automate our lives and never talk to other humans again.
I personally use two apps to automate Twitter. One of them sends out a tweet whenever I publish a new post. The other one finds a random post older than 30 days and tweets it out, once per day.
You know what else I do? Log onto Twitter personally and interact with people. You can do that too every now and then. There are people out there and everything!
There’s also a special group of people who use 3rd party apps to regularly tweet shit like “My today’s stats: Got 4 new followers, lost 2 followers”. Why in the name of thirty seven pits of hell would you delude yourself into thinking anyone at all is remotely interested in knowing that?! There are NO exceptions to this. Even if you’re a huge celebrity, I’d rather hear you ate a biscuit than learn your daily stats.
1. Innocent Bystanders
Here comes the sad part. Because I was doing it wrong for so long I was following way too many people. To do a proper reset I needed help to filter and unfollow tons of people at a time. The result is that I have quite likely unfollowed some great folks that did nothing at all to deserve it.
I am really sorry if I did. I mean that. I’ve tried adding people to lists so that I could re-follow them again, but there’s a good chance I overlooked many of you.
Forgive my shittiness and do drop me a line if you see yourself unfollowed for no reason. I promise to follow you right back and tweet you a motivational quote or two.