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.