My Twitter following has grown by leaps and bounds over the last year. I’m up to nearly 3,000 followers, acquired mostly through using the methods taught by the Indie Book Collective. They’ve got free workshops explaining how to do it, if you’re interested.
Anyway, part and parcel of that is the autofollow–that is, following everybody who follows you. At least until you hit the ceiling of 2,000 people, after which people seem to add you for no particular reason. But what this inevitably means is that you wind up with a bunch of spambots and general junk that clutters up your stream and makes stuff hard to follow. Of course you can create lists–I have a favorites list where I keep all the people I talk to on a regular basis. But my “All Friends” stream? It moves so fast I usually have to minimize Tweetdeck because the constant motion is too distracting!
So what’s a Tweeter to do?
Clean up your stream, of course.
I’ve used two very valuable tools to do this. The first is Manage Flitter, which allows you to see who you’re following who isn’t following you back, who you’re following who is inactive, etc. It’s free. When I was trying to even things out so that mostly I was following people who follow me back, this was an INVALUABLE tool. I’d run it about once a month, weeding out people I’d followed who didn’t follow back, people who weren’t actually using Twitter in the last thirty days, etc. There’s no autounfollow anymore (Twitter said that was a no no) but you can just go through and check boxes, and then do a big batch, unfollow. It’s awesome.
But that wasn’t enough for me. With over 2,900 followers, I was following over 2,400 people. To be absolutely SURE, the vast majority of those people don’t actually TALK to me. Now, sure, I don’t carry on conversations with everyone I follow (obviously), and there are some people I follow just because they’re interesting (like Stephen Fry), but there is still a huge chunk of people I wanted to remove from my follow list to just kind of trim things down. Just going through and eyeballing it wasn’t efficient and didn’t really tell me what I wanted to know.
Yesterday someone recommended Twit Cleaner. OMG y’all, this service (also free) is AWESOME. It analyzes your account and creates a report that narrows down who the bots are, who tweets nothing but links, who never interacts with anybody, who tweet no original content, who repeats the same URLs all the time, who talks all the time, who does other dodgy behavior. Again, there’s no auto unfollow, and at the moment, it’s not as easy as a simple checkbox and mass unfollow, but you can go through the report, group by group and click on the profile link for each person and unfollow at their profile page. This was pretty time consuming yesterday, but I wound up unfollowing a grand total of 500 people. I think if you ran it on a weekly basis, it’d be a lot more manageable to keep up with.
Anyway, I’ve just been so pleased with both of these services, I had to share.
By the way, I’ve been unfollow happy the last 24 hours, so if I inadvertently unfollowed you by accident, just @ message me and I’ll add you back. I’m trying to pare down to most of the folks that actually converse with me from time to time.
This is actually one of the hardest things for me to comprehend as far as the Indie teachings. I get that having a following is important but I have no idea how someone keeps up with thousands of followers, let alone actually interacts with them. I tend to be chatty and try not to just post links to my site/stuff/whatever because that’s annoying. I loathe it when I follow someone and all they post are links or quotes and they are OUTTA there fast. I enjoy following people, mostly writers, who talk about what they’re up to as well as what’s going on in their lives. I LIKE actually talking with them even when it’s just a shout out.
So thanks for the links, they’ll come in handy.
I tried out Twit Cleaner when I saw you tweeting about it and it is awesome. I didn’t get rid of 400 people because that would’ve put me at zero, 😉 but it was very helpful. Thanks.
‘Tis the season, eh? I don’t auto follow, but I do follow anyone who’s a writer, or who I think sounds interesting when they follow me (*Everyone* I follow is on a list…so auto-follow won’t work for that). I wanted to clean out those who follow just until you follow back and then leave…as well as people who don’t post much, only post links, etc. I’ve been using Who Unfollowed Me? to make sure I only unfollow those who aren’t following me, which works pretty well – I trimmed out about 200 non-followers that way. Then when you tweeted about the Twit Cleaner yesterday, I tried that and got rid of a few more. Great tool. 🙂
I agree – it would be way easier to stay on top of it. I plan on running these about once a week from now on…
Thanks for the tips, Kait. Very helpful. I was just thinking the other day that I need to figure out how to manage Twitter better. I think I need to do one of the workshops…. But I have to finish “Ravenmarked” first…
*back to the cave it goes, red pen in hand…*
Great info. I’ve wanted to know for some time how to get rid of the spam that follows me. I’m expecting a dry cleaner in china any day now.
Thanks for the post on this. I have been preaching twitter to some friends and their self-published game. Most of the fans are not clued in to the power of twitter and I am trying to get them rolling to help promote the thing. Thanks for the extra info, and ammo for them 🙂
Hi Kait 🙂
I found if I go over 1200 I just can’t keep track of the twitterstream.
There are just so many wonderful literary people to Follow though!
Thank you for sharing the links too.
All the best,
Thanks for the info! I just got unfollowed a TON of people that I thought were following me. One of them was my brother-in-law! Whatever!
Yeah, I was writing two sentences at once there. I just unfollowed…:)
Those are awesome tools. 🙂 Makes me wonder where I fall on some of those tools. Especially the Twitter Cleaner one.
I also use the who unfollowed me tool. I’m not one to autofollow though. If it walks like a bot, talks like a bot… well you know. Advertisers typically give me 24 hours to autofollow before dropping me. 🙂 I love following real people though.
I cleaned out my twitter totally. I deleted it. It was a big distraction even though I had a smaller following. I can’t imagine trying to follow or communicating with as many as you do. Eventually I may go back to it, but right now it just doesn’t work for me.
I have a core of about 50 people I consciously pay attention to. Others I recognize and converse with if something they say catches my interest, or when they talk to me. But I like Twitter. I hand-sell a lot of books that way, so it’s an integral part of my marketing platform.