9 types of people I unfollow on Twitter

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?!

Green Toy Soldier Grenade

Toy soldiers don’t grow on trees, Pavel!

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.

Dancing Robot

“Come on, human! Join our Harlem Shake dance class!”

So, using some third party Twitter filtering and management tools, I’m now in the process of methodically purging these types from my Twitter:

9. MIAs

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?

7. WTFs

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.

6. Non-People

If your name is BestCarSalesQuotes or PornGirlsForYou, you’re being unfollowed. But hey, I like your self-explanatory bios, nice touch!

5. Parrots

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”.

3. Narcissists

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.

2. Spammers

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.

49 thoughts on “9 types of people I unfollow on Twitter

  1. I did a complete rework of my Twitter followers about a year ago. I enjoy humor, so I go to Twitter to get a laugh. However, it took me a while to figure out how I was going to end up using Twitter. When I first started, I followed everyone I knew just like I would on Facebook, but Facebook and Twitter don’t work the same way.

    I purged anyone on my list who didn’t make me laugh. Today, I don’t do follow backs like I used to. If you make me laugh, you stay. If you end up unfollowing me, for any reason, that has no effect on whether I follow you or not.


    • Sounds like a reasonable approach. Somewhat ironically, I haven’t been using Twitter all that much since I wrote this post. So I’m sure I’m on someone else’s blacklist by now. Thanks for dropping by!


  2. mary says:

    couldnt agree more i would also add the ones that say buy followers now or similar if i had to buy followers how do i know they actually want to follow me , or that they know they are being bought? another one is people who tweet the same tweet three or four times in a row or if you stumble upon someone you want to follow only to find they send an auto message asking you to buy stuff …….thats not why i follow i have also ditched a few celebs who just moan and bitch about others or just say what they had for breakfast and how hard they are finding life..


    • Yeah most of your examples fall solidly into the “Spammers” category. If you’re selling followers or spamming link to your book 4 times in a row, then you’re a spammer. Thanks for the comment.


  3. I pretty much follow these guidelines too. I have to think that the people that post how many followers/unfollowers they got today just don’t know they’re doing it. At least I hope they don’t.


  4. I recently had a good purging and it felt nice. Honestly, the reason I stopped using Twitter as much as I did before was because it was so hard to sift through all the crap that people tweeted and find quality tweets. Now when I go on, if I see two tweets from someone that are pointless, I unfollow them.

    You really nailed it with this post, though.


    • Exactly. A part of my daily routine from now on is to look at the Twitter stream, spot any off-putting Tweets, check whether the user always does that, and then unfollow them if that’s the case. It’s very refreshing!

      Glad you liked the post, thanks!


  5. Like so many others here, I need to do some twitter house cleaning, as well. I’m pretty sure that anybody with more than 10 000 followers is only sending me requests to increase their numbers. I think I’m going to start with those. There’s been a bunch of those coming in lately that I followed back in a moment of weakness.


  6. transformednonconformist says:

    I think I have to agree with everyone of those. However, on the RT, I found a new trick. I have a few people I follow who I love, but they RT way too often. Plus, I really don’t care about the stuff they are retweeting. I only want to see their stuff. When I learned you could turn off people’s retweets, I spent hours turning off that function on lots of peoples profiles.

    I use an automated service for Twitter also. One that tweets when I publish a new post. The other I use to schedule posts. If I think of something funny I want to tweet, but it is 4 a.m., my ego wants people to see it. So I will schedule it to go up at 7 the next night, when more people will be available to see it.

    On Twitter, just like on my blog, I will not follow someone just because they are following me.


    • Very true. Although in the case of “Only-RTers” I simply prefer to unfollow them. There’s no button to hide ALL RTs from everyone, so individually going to each user’s profile and clicking on “Turn Off Retweets” is more of a hassled then just cutting them.

      Yup, I also use Bufferapp.com for automating some Tweets, it helps. Nothing wrong with apps, just as long as you don’t hide behind them all the time and show yourself on Twitter.


  7. Since I closed my old Twitter account that was associated with my now defunct blog, and have started a new one, I’ve been lucky so far and haven’t been followed any 8s or 7s. Quite a few 6s though. This list is totally spot on!


    • Thanks, glad you enjoyed it. I can see I’m still following you on Twitter, plus you’re on the “Writers” list, so you should be safe at all times. Even if I accidentally unfollow you I’ll re-follow you right back.


    • Twitter can be great if you’re willing to actually interact with people. Or you can end up with the social media equivalent of a “junk mail” folder. I’m trying to move from the latter to the former right now, let’s see if I succeed.


  8. I don’t tweet, yet, but I’m getting to this fed up point with Facebook. Half the time I don’t want to log on because in order to get to the good stuff I have to scan through a bunch of pointless crap. The time has come to cut the fat! Good bye inspirationalists and over-promoters


    • Hear hear. The difference (for me, at least) between Facebook and Twitter is that on Facebook I usually (with a few exceptions) have real life friends who I have met in person. So I am a bit more inclined to put up with their motivational quotes and random updates. On Twitter I can allow myself to be a bit more harsh.

      Thanks for stopping by!


    • Damn, I meant to add you to the “Absolutely To Be Deleted” list, but I guess I misclicked. Guess I’ll have to keep you on the “Writers” list then.

      Thanks for dropping by and the Twitter share. Twitter house cleaning is a somewhat liberating feeling actually…


  9. Val says:

    Hi, I came over via Carrie’s RT and am glad I did. (I’ll follow your blog in Google Reader). On Twitter, I currently follow about half of the people who follow me, though I was following quite a few to start with. I’d actually be very happy if the people I’ve unfollowed would unfollow me back (as it is, it’s like a guilt-trip with them still following) but I have to hope that they’re following me because they actually enjoy my tweets!
    And as you say, some of the people we’ve followed might be perfectly nice people, too, but I need to ‘get’ what people are saying, and I need to also get something out of what they’re saying. The majority of people who follow me these days are spammers.

    The excessive Retweeters drive me nuts. Another category that does is the ‘everything is positive’ crowd. I’m not a negative person (except for that!) but do like a balance.

    The only people I’ll follow on Twitter who fall outside my unwritten ‘rules’ there are people I know from real life. For instance, my sister followed me, so I follow her back, but she rarely tweets.


    • Hey Val,

      Appreciate you stopping by and the comment. I agree. You can’t just have the philosophy of “following for the sake of following”. Your’e on Twitter for a purpose (interaction, meeting new people you’re interested to read/hear from, making yourself known to others). You’re certainly not on Twitter to read random words that give you absolutely nothing.

      In other words – only follow who you actually truly want to follow, and not someone you feel you “have” to.


  10. I am SO glad Carrie tweeted the link to this. I love it! Just today I came to the realization that I’m doing Twitter wrong. Why should I have to filter through countless ads on my stream to see the posts I want to see?! Just because someone follows you, doesn’t mean you MUST follow them back. I began the purge this morning, and will probably be down to, like, 7 people I follow soon.


    • Glad you liked it! Yeah at some point you realise that you’re just sinking in Twitter trash, so a major cleanup is necessary. Let’s reclaim our Twitter today! How’s that for a motivational quote to tweet?


  11. Phew. I had to go check to make sure you are still following me. I promise never to tweet about my gastrointestinal system. However, I cannot promise never to tweet about anyone else’s.

    This is a great post, and I agree. I couldn’t get by without my Twitter lists, but I need to redo them. There are some I never look at because they merely contain endless promotions or quotes or other tweets that make it impossible to interact. And then there are those I reserve just for tweeps who I know want to interact. If we don’t interact, what’s the point? Sure, you can get the ‘news’ on Twitter, but if you really want accurate news, Twitter probably isn’t the place to go.


    • You were always safe.

      Twitter can be a great engagement tool, but it can also be a garbage dump of endless stream of nonsense. I’m trying to turn mine from the latter to the former now. Let’s see if I succeed!


      • You’ll have to update us down the road.

        I just followed all of the fictional Big Bang Theory characters. They each have a Twitter account. This would have to be my lowest point yet.


  12. raeme67 says:

    I know what you mean. I started doing it right and then found myself doing it wrong. I started on Twitter to “talk” to people and to “meet” people around the globe. Then my mouth got the better of me and I just had to purge. The I stared following people who in real life I would have ignored, but they were so nice to follow me, how could I be so mean not to follow back? You have inspired me and I am going back to my old ways. 😀


  13. Kianwi says:

    Oh, phew, I checked and I made the cut!! Yay!

    I recently cleaned my Twitter out a little, too. It hadn’t occurred to me to do it before, but then I started to wonder why I was following all these people whose tweets annoyed me. I do puh-lenty to annoy myself, don’t need to follow people to do it, too!


    • Exactly, our time is too precious for endless quotes. I’m too busy looking for endless LOLcat pictures.

      And of course you’ve made the cut, I find you quite tolerable indeed!


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