Why I Unfollowed 55,000 Twitter Users

Today, I made the decision to clean out my Twitter following list and start over. I was following over 55,000 users at the start of the day. That has been reduced to less than 100. Here’s why I unfollowed over 55,000 tweeters.

You Can’t Really Follow 55,000 People

Let’s be honest here. It’s impossible to follow 55,000 people. My Twitterfon app for my iPhone became unusable because it always crashed trying to download all the tweets. What ended up happening is I just ignored my main Twitter feed and just read the replies. Anyone who claims they can follow 55,000 users is either lying or spends 18 hours a day in front of Twitter to watch the tweets go by like a stock ticker.

My Direct Messages Contained Nothing But Spam

I’ve stop checking my direct messages because it was all DM spam. I came very close to deleting the Direct Message column in my HootSuite because out of 100 DMs, there would be 1 true direct message if I was lucky. I knew this would continue as long as I maintain the policy of following everyone who followed me.

Since I’m no longer auto following people who follow me, I’m happy to report that I’ve only received one direct message in the past 8 hours and it was a real direct message. My DM column is useful again!

You Can Still Send Me @ Replies

Just because I’m no longer following you doesn’t mean you can’t talk to me. You don’t need other Twitter users to follow you in order to send them an @ reply. You just can’t send them a DM, which is no big deal since no one reads DM anyways because of all the spam!

I Wasn’t Scared Of Losing Followers

I started the day with nearly 60,000 followers. I’ve lost over 10,000 followers since my mass pruning. Am I worried about that? Not at all. If the only reason those people were following me was because I was following them, then I don’t want them to follow me. You should follow me because you want to hear what I have to say, not because I will follow you back.

Most of the unfollows were done the same way as the follow: using automated scripts. Chances are, most of the people who own those Twitter accounts didn’t even know they unfollowed me. For them, Twitter is just a place to do DM spam and that means doing a lot of auto following and unfollowing.

My Twitterfon Works Again!

This was a big one. While I can separate my list into group while on my desktop, there wasn’t such a solution for the iPhone. Yes, there was TweetDeck for iPhone but it sucks and is full of bugs. My favorite iPhone Twitter app is Twitterfon and it would take up to 10 minutes to download all the new tweets from the 55,000 users I was following. Most of the time, it would just crash.

Now that I’m following less than 100 people, Twitterfon works great and I am once again enjoying one of the greatest benefit of Twitter: mobile tweeting.

I Wasn’t Really Following You

While my Twitter homepage may have said I was following 55,000+ people, the truth was I was following less than 100. Thanks to services like HootSuite, which allowed me to divide my followers into groups. What I did was was create a group call “Close Friends” and add the people I wanted to follow to that. What happened to the main group that contain the 55,000 followers? I deleted it! I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s done this. The next time you see someone following over 5,000 people, ask yourself if he will ever read or even see your tweet. Chances are, you’ve been placed in a deleted or completely ignored group.

Please don’t feel bad if I’m no longer following you because, unless you were in my close friends group, I never was following you in the first place. And if you’re one of the 10,000+ who unfollowed me because I stop following you, that’s OK. No hard feelings.