Gaining twitter sanity by pruning accounts you follow with TwitCleaner

Date: Tue Feb 04 2014 social-networks »»»» techsparx
Have you followed the "follow everyone you can" tactic for gaining followers on Twitter?  Was your result to end up drowning in a sea of tweets, and you never INTERACT on Twitter because of the flood of tweets?  That's what I did, a few years ago I was happily sitting on Twitter all day long, interacting with people, and building relationships.  But then I read some advice saying to follow a lot of people because they'll follow you back, and that to have a big impact you have to have a lot of followers.

That strategy didn't work out very well, and I'm looking into approaching Twitter in a different way.  One which values using it as a conversational medium, rather than simply a place to dump tweets.

The first step is like weeding the garden.  Some of  the twitter accounts I'm following are not good to follow, either they don't talk about things of interest to me, or they're just dumps of blog posts.  Some look like they've been hijacked and are now being used to spew spam.  Some have gone dormant.  Some make me scratch my head and wonder why I ever followed that person.

Whatever the reason for unfollowing a specific twitter account - the goal is the same.  To reduce the noise in my twitter feed, and aim for conversation among a group of like-minded twitterers.

I have looked into this before when I asked on a different blog, Is "lots" of followers a good idea? Or is the idea to have valuable conversations?  It's simply taken me two years of pondering in the back of my mind to get around to doing something concrete about this.

I've found a fairly good tool for this - TwitCleaner - that gives relatively good guidance on cleaning up the twitter accounts you're following.  You'll need to sign in with a Twitter identity, and allow it to send you direct messages, which of course means following the TwitCleaner account.  Once signed in you can request a report of the twitter accounts you're following, and recommendations on how to proceed.

The report is divided into these sections:

  • Potentially dodgy behavior
  • Other dodgy behavior, but now absent
  • No activity in over a month
  • Not much interaction
  • All talk all the time
  • Little original content
  • Not so interesting
  • Eggheads (never configured beyond the default settings)
For example, an account that's just postings gathered off the RSS feed of a blog get categorized by TwitCleaner as a "Bot" with "Not much interaction".

Sigh.. that's what I myself became by following the strategy I did.

Once you're in the TwitCleaner report, you can unfollow the accounts directly from the report.  The report says they'll do the unfollows slowly, because otherwise Twitter might sniff that something is amiss.  However, I'm not unfollowing from the report because I want to put some of the formerly-followed accounts into lists.

My thinking is that I had formerly gone to a lot of trouble to find certain accounts.  Some of these are ones that while I don't want to see their tweets every day, I don't want to lose track of them.