Following and Unfollowing on Twitter…

I love Twitter.

I love my Tweeps.

What I don’t love, are the Elementary School Yard games that some Twitter users play.

I do not automatically followback.

If I have no interest in your message or your “product,” I will not “sign up” and follow you, regardless of how many times you follow and unfollow me.

If you don’t fill in your Bio information, I’m unlikely to followback, but I’ve already written about that.

Some of my friends have between 15 and 50 followers, and they ask how can you “keep up” with 1200+ Tweeps ?

I find lists really helpful for that, and TweetDeck (my Twitter application of choice) accommodates different lists in columns.  It also allows you to show multiple accounts in the same screen. 

So, for instance, I have a column for YVR (Vancouver) TweepsVancouver Island TweepsFraser Valley Tweeps.  I have a column for Musicians and Music Industry folks.  I have a column for the Hockey Fans, and the Scotch Lovers.  Each of the columns is (usually) a separate set of conversations, which makes the process easier.

Recently, I wondered why my following number was starting to far exceed my follower number.

My guess is that some folks were probably turned off by the large volume of #Canucks and #TeamCanada chatter, and quietly unfollowed me. (Which I hope to have solved by starting a Hockey Account:  @BobSongs_Hockey)

And this is where I would love to hear some feedback…

If I follow someone, and they follow me back… I feel like I’ve entered into a relationship. And I am committed to that relationship, until one of two things happens:

1) You offend me.  If you start spouting homophobic, blatantly rude, hateful or insensitive tweets ?  Done… Blocked.

2) You turn out to be a spammer, with looping spam links in your Tweets.

Other than these reasons… I rarely unfollow anyone who I’ve committed to follow.

Do you feel the same way about “unfollowing” someone ?

I’ve had a number of people suggest Friend or Follow as a Twitter Application, to assess the Follower/Following/Mutual numbers… but I found some of the information displayed was out of date and sometimes didn’t seem to load properly.


Twitter Karma Screen capture

Twitter Karma Screen capture

I went searching again on the weekend, and found Twitter Karma.  It is Brilliant !!!

Very easy to use, very easy to understand, and seemed to me, to be able to accurately discern between active and inactive Tweeps.

The one “issue” was that it says right at the opening screen, that it will not work correctly in an Internet Explorer browser… but it seemed to load and work fine in Google Chrome.

I wish I had taken a screen cap of the initial findings… (hindsight)  …and a day later, I have unfollowed MOST of those not following me back… (Media, serious Bloggers and Celebrities excepted) and updated my lists to reflect the Tweeps I had missed.

Currently, of  1430 total users, I follow 212, 1004 are mutual friends, and 214 only follow me.

I can select any one of those criteria, or list all.  I can also sort them by last update, alphabetically or by follower count.

For each user, I can click and open their Twitter Profile. 

It is, in my estimation, the best tool for managing and understanding your Tweeps.

How do you manage your followers?

What, if anything, makes you “unfollow” someone?

You can comment here, or Tweet me @BobSongs

Thanks, I look forward to your feedback!


  1. Ryan Dempsey on March 11, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Good points. I myself don’t really care if someone unfollows me because I tweet about hockey too much. Tweeting during sporting events has become one of the most enjoyable aspects of twitter for me. I have been told by a follower from a foreign country that if I tweeted one more time about Canucks hockey she would unfollow me. Boo hoo. Another person said I talk about my kids too much. I want to be 100% myself all the time and I don’t think I would enjoy twitter as much if I wasn’t.

    The only time I ever unfollow someone is if they are spammers. Though I must say, I ignore more people on twitter then I actively follow. I use tweetdeck too, and I rarely look at the ‘everyone’ column. I’m all about twitter lists.

  2. Cheeky Cici on March 11, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Thanks for the recommendation for Twitter Karma, Bob. You’ve actually inspired me to review my engagement habits and also do a purge.
    What irks me is when someone recommends I follow someone, suggests I add them to my list of Juicy Brains, I do both, and I don’t get a follow back. It makes me feel used solely for the purposes of being listed. I know some people have a policy of not following most people back, and that’s fine. To each their own.
    However, it becomes fairly one-sided when engagement starts on the followers end. Always. It can be likened to one person always being the one to pick up the phone to call a friend. I like to believe engagement should go both ways.

  3. Cheeky Cici on March 11, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    It’s definitely tough to not take some things personally on Twitter, sometimes. I find that I have to remind myself of this. With the advent of lists, it’s too easy to not only them use them as a filter for information, but to filter *out*.
    I have followers who have never interacted with me. I follow people I’ve never interacted with. I tend to try and remedy this. However, I do remind myself that a lack of interaction doesn’t necessarily mean I’m being filtered out.
    There are plenty of peeps I don’t interact with, but I read their tweets with interest and I follow their blogs. I guess it comes down to: sometimes I just don’t have much to say.
    I’ve only been using Twitter since October, but I’ve heard from many people that the nature of engagement changed once lists were introduced.
    And yes, you have a right to feel irked. Someone makes an introduction, I think it’s natural to expect a follow back. Seems the courteous thing to do.

  4. Bob Gray on March 11, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Thanks for your comments.
    I ABSOLUTELY agree, when someone asks Twitter to support and follow a new user, and they diss us by not following back ? Just rude.
    I’ve been frustrated for a while, because I couldn’t find any software I felt comfortable enough with, that I would trust and that “did what I wanted”
    I was SO excited when I found Twitter Karma, because it seems to do what I want. Sadly, after that, I was dismayed, because I found the number of folks that I’ve interacted with, that I have been unfollowed by.
    For some folks it does seem to be more about numbers, than engagement… I don’t “endorse” everything my Tweeps do and say, but like family… I accept the folks I follow, and with the exceptions I noted, I don’t unfollow.
    Apparently others are more transitory.
    (Gee, can you tell it irks me ?!?)
    Thanks again for your comments !

  5. […] look forward to reading your tweets and engaging with you… and a few weeks later, you run an assessment program like TweetKarma, and they have unfollowed […]

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