It’s not you, it’s me…

This post can be subtitled – Why I Unfollowed You on Twitter.

Over the weekend, I did something amazing to my Twitter account. In the last post, we were publicising the competition to win a prize – an art catalogue pictured here on this blog, a guest post from Christopher L. Jorgensen (@jackassletters on Twitter) . The competition (open until 3rd March 2010) can be entered at his guest post on the Tweet Fail blog, The Secret to Fewer Followers. (NOW DRAWN – for details of Christopher’s adventure, see the previous post. Winner was @Fifikins!)

The post inspired me, and i decided to bite the bullet. I’ve always been strict about spammers in my nearly a year on Twitter – i use the Block & Report button a lot. I realised early on, that I don’t care how big my follower list is. As i’ve mentioned before in “So, how big is your virtual penis?” I’d rather have people i like and enjoy around me.

  • There were 850 people following me.
  • I had 550 i was following
  • About 20 of those weren’t following me back.
  • I was Listed by about 115 people.

So, i ran through the methods Christopher lists in his post, and loaded up Twitter Karma.

  • I began by Defollowing everyone who wasn’t still tweeting – in the last two months or so. That is, I blocked the person, then refreshed the page, then unblocked. (Twitter doesn’t give any other options.) This forced them to unfollow me. It seemed fairer to Defollow, than to simply Unfollow and leave them following me. After all, they can always follow me again if they want to, and i didn’t want people to think i was trying to rort my follower numbers. Most people don’t check their followers, so don’t know who’s unfollowed them. (It’s one of the functions that Twitter Karma has. See who is following you back.)
  • If anyone had turned spammy I blocked and reported – the more spammers are reported, the less of them will be causing Twitter to crash by overloading it with ads about raising the numbers of your Twitter Followers.
  • If i couldn’t figure out who they were, weren’t really into their conversations, and we didn’t seem to have even any Twitter buds in common (that they were talking to on first few pages), i Defollowed.
  • I looked at 100’s of profiles in the end, and anyone i didn’t recognise as someone i interact with, (or someone i follow and adore, but don’t interact with often) i Defollowed.
  • I also Defollowed some #amwriting people who i don’t personally chat to, as i can always follow their writing tweets on the #amwriting hashtag and they can read mine.

#amwriting was founded by @johannaharness
a wonderfully inspiring and supportive writers’ group on Twitter
it asks the question ~ what are you writing?
To find out more go here.

  • Then there were the people i’d spoken to and they’d not really ever spoken back, which isn’t much fun after the first couple of times. I mean, why would you want someone to follow you, but not be prepared to speak to them? (These were not people who had lots of replies, i checked.)

At four in the morning, also known as stupid o’clock, i finished, down to around 400, most of whom were ‘mutual friends’, with less than 10 one-way follows. There, i thought, staggering off to bed. That’s so much more manageable.

In the morning… – well, after lunch – i went back, and loaded up Twitter Karma again. (You can see all your followers on one page, makes it easy to see.) Now i’m down to 345 people. Wow, i can see my friends again! I hadn’t realised how cluttered it was.

After a few days, I’ve shed a few more people, (easier to notice who didn’t seem friendly) and added a couple. None of the new ones i’m not following back have spoken to me. No point in adding them but they’re welcome to follow. So far, they’re not spammers – i’ve blocked and reported maybe 50 of those. I’ve also Defollowed several who obviously only added me because of a keyword and didn’t seem to be engaging much with followers. Like the Newcastle radio station who ignored my tweet that said i couldn’t get their station from here.

I’ve also discovered ManageTwitter, which does multi-unfollows – thanks to @Tarale . It wouldn’t have helped me, as i wanted them to stop following me too, but it would have been handy.


In other news: The Thing (my work in fitful progress) proceeds – i had to lose 30,000 words. Not because i had too many, but because those ones were suddenly irrelevant. So i’m down from about 95k to about 65k. (My target is 110k so it was a hard cut to make.) I’m pleased with how it’s going, the plot tightened up so much with that 30k gone.

There was a scene where his mother fell off a tower, and the hero fell too, but the plot required her to be crippled and him to survive, but i couldn’t make it work until i realised – silly me – it was the half-brother what done it! I’d been trying to hammer the scene out, unable to figure it, and suddenly it dropped into place – like people falling off a tower. And 30k of it just didn’t work any more, because it was all trying to fit the scene in without it making sense. I keep learning so much as i go.


What else? Feck knows, i’m not paying attention, i’m trying to focus on The Thing. Whilst procrastinating, I have updated my bio on here – it was previously only about 60 words, now it’s 600 – the tab above with All About Me on it.

There is bad stuff happening all over, especially with the Puritans pushing for net censorship. I get irate on Twitter about it. And i look at kittehz, make jokes, swap food porn, pine for a larger garden, tease Generations X & Y, and send tweets to the Prime Minister that he never acknowledges.

Follow me there if you want to know what i’m ranting about today.
Or for a laugh.

I can’t promise i’ll follow you back.



About Lee Abrey

Most often on Twitter View all posts by Lee Abrey

11 responses to “It’s not you, it’s me…

  • Katrina

    Am feeling quite privileged that you followed me back. Keep up the ranting tweets. I enjoy them.

    • stinginthetail

      lol – you and i talk – besides, we only ‘met’ in the last couple of weeks. I do have a good memory for names, faces (when ppl change avatars i lose them for a bit), and if we talk. There were several hundred people i didn’t need to check, i knew exactly who they were from their name or avatar.

      I am so surprised anyone stays following me πŸ™‚ i suppose i assumed the culled wouldn’t miss me. I did look to see if they used Twitter on the web, or with something like tweetdeck – if they were tweetdecking, i decided they probably weren’t reading me. After all, I tweet too much, mention the weather, rave about food until they have to go eat, and so on. Thanks so much for liking my rants – it’s one of the major things i’m sure people must regret following me over πŸ™‚

  • Tarale

    I clean out mine regularly, although I’m sure there’s plenty of clutter amongst my followers that I haven’t managed to weed out.

    I report and block obvious spammers, and tend to periodically check for any who have become spammy, but it becomes very messy and is very time consuming.

    It’s always much nicer after I give it a clean out. I can find people who I like to talk to!

    • stinginthetail

      i am enjoying twitter so much since the Great Follower Cull. And i was surprised to see a couple of people i defollowed have followed me again. Now i know they really did want to follow me, instead of just feeing obligated cos i retweeted them once 9 months ago πŸ™‚

  • Merrilee

    I did the same after reading your guest’s post. Made a huge difference, and left room to add some people that I really should have been following back, but didn’t notice!

  • Tammi

    Nice post. πŸ™‚ I’m a fan of the regular unfollow, but I like your method of defollowing even more, as I’m with you on not trying to inflate my follower count with annoying spammy people – who I block when they follow me anyway. My magic number seems to be 400 for how many I follow – when I approach it again I do a bit of unfollowing. At that number i start to lose sight of the lovelies who are the real reason I’m on here, like you! πŸ™‚

    • stinginthetail

      thanks πŸ™‚ the defollow is handy for those who aren’t really spammy, but i wanted to give them the option of refollowing – i’ve been surprised that several have already – and likewise, i want to see my lovelies πŸ™‚ There are already about 20 following me, who haven’t spoken to me, but seem nice enough people, so they’re staying. If we talk, i follow back, makes it easier to see people.

  • Christopher L. Jorgensen

    I like the term “defollow.” On my broswer (Safari) there’s no need to reload after the block/unblock. You do need to reload to see the option to message the person go away, but once you’ve started to trust that it works they are gone after the block/unblock.

    The only downside I’ve found to this is that initially it took me hours to do this, since I did them all by hand. No bulk operations. Also, twitter has cracked down on auto-unfollowing. Eh, whatever. They just make it harder for legitimate people to do it.

    I wish dormant accounts would be flushed on a regular basis. Twitter claims they can/may/will do this, but I have an account I created a year ago and never updated once just to see if it would ever get removed. It hasn’t.

    Once you do the culling, twitter does become a better place. I still follow too many people for it to be manageable. I like to give the courtesy follow to anyone that doesn’t seem to be an obvious shill, but even some real people aren’t worth following.

    In the end, do what you like, but letting spammers hang on means you’ll get more spammers. I have no proof of this, but it’s a something I believe to be true.

    At some point it’s not possible for some people to do this. If you have over 30,000 followers I wouldn’t want to clean them out or vet them. Twitter would be a way different place if you could never follow more than 2,000 people. I doubt it would be better, but you wouldn’t see the people trying to race to 15k followers by following tons of people.

  • stinginthetail

    i don’t understand why Twitter won’t give us some more tools to run our followers/following lists – maybe they’re saving them for the paid version people say is coming.

  • 10 Reasons Not to Follow Me on Twitter « Sting in the Tail

    […] is fairer than just unfollowing, as i don’t really want you to follow me on Twitter. Once i did it to about 500 people, so don’t feel special don’t get […]

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