Twitterlists made me Change my Twitter Habits

Last year, when Twitter still was a hype, I admit, for some time I auto followed new followers – no I never did Auto DM.

I did so because I was influenced by Twitter guru Guy Kawasaki, who took the position that you never know who is the one who follows you and then you better auto follow them, because you have the possibility to DM your followers. In addition having as many followers would bring you fame…. Sometimes, yes I admit, I even played the #FollowFriday or #FF play.

I’ve now come to the conclusion that Twitter better be about less followers, because so many types are cluttering my screens with nonsense, not wanted stuff, or stuff I’m not interested in at all.

So a couple of days ago I started manually un-following many types with many followers. Alas I have to do it manually as automatic un-following is not allowed anymore by the Twitter rules of engagement as of Mid January 2010.

After a couple of tweets wherein I notified those I un-followed that I’d labeled them for #UnfollowFriday I stopped, because it created discussions about why I was un-following them.I also realized my “real interesting and maybe interested” followers might get bored with such tweets.

I also stopped, because, while doing the un-follow, I found out that you can keep someone on a list without following them. This gave me the opportunity to create an #UnfollowFriday list. At present the list counts 111. Soon it will count more.

The funny thing is that while I have hit 7,700 followers last week. I’m presently at 7,649 followers and rapidly heading down. So just to document my all time high on twitter I placed the counter picture her. Clearly the Twitter inflated egos are leaving my Twitter ship by their own (auto) un-follow measures:-) Bye Bye to them! Looking forward to more interesting Tweets!

What is your take?

Update February 27, 2010

I’ve just once more had a look to the unfollow list and deleted it. Experiment closed. No more fun and just unfollowing is much easier:-)

And here is what Twitter Karma says:

On January 15, 2010, Twitter instructed us to remove the “bulk unfollow” capability of Twitter Karma as it has been determined to violate their Automation Rules and Best Practices. We have done so in order to comply with their request. We apologize to you, our users, for having to make this change, but hope you will understand it is outside of our control.

20 thoughts on “Twitterlists made me Change my Twitter Habits”

  1. I was not going to say anything since I firmly believe one can use their twitter feed any way they want. But I have to tell you I was taken back when I noticed the new list you added me to. I will admit we only engaged a few times but I really did enjoy your links and I thought you enjoyed mine… or so I thought. I recall mentioning you to a few people discussing your B&B since that was our initial connection. Upon my retirement I want to open a small B&B in my country of origin (Italy). With that said I realize sometimes things happen that we have no control over and this is one of them.

  2. Guido, I must admit I could just be taking this personally, (dare I say emotionally, must be my Italian drama kicking in) not sure why to be honest with you? Maybe it’s because I pride myself in listening and engaging with the people on my Twitter feed. To be quite honest with you, the people I saw on that list made me cringe. I actually used to follow a few of them and removed them a while back…Needless, to say I had my own reasons, which I won’t get into here. So there you have it Guido as much as I hate to see my name on that list, I will take it as a lesson learned.

  3. @Gabriella
    I’m glad you came along and took the time to comment. I even tweeted to you before I saw you commenting here.
    It’s not that everybody on the list is a spammer per se. In addition I see real friends even not following me because of the same reason: I might be cluttering their twitter screens. More rigorous types might block you. I didn’t do that! So we still can communicate, even via twitter:-)

  4. @Gabriella

    I like to be honest and like honest people. The lesson for me is this: Don’t do the same as I did: Getting carried away with the numbers of you followers. Never do auto follow…and your name is on another list right now:-)

  5. @HappyHotelier While I think this is ACTUALLY an attempt to get more people to comment to you on twitter and or here on your blog because of the unfollow friday list to which I have been added I will assure you of this I don’t auto dm, I don’t auto follow, I don’t auto tweet or any of those other things. And by the way, you do NOT have to unfollow people one by one that you’re unhappy with (nor do you need to list them) there’s several great programs that allow you to look at each account, analyze their “interaction” (to be sure they’re real people that are engaging their audiences), and to see their bio, how often they tweet (in case you feel they’re “filling up your stream”), etc and just click next to their name and unfollow them in bulk (and reciprocate follow interesting people as well). There is also a program that builds on twitter so you can have more lists or special feeds JUST for those that you REALLY want to connect with regularly but not OFFEND others. But because my tweeting is so irrelevant to you I won’t share any of those options/programs with you because it might waste your time. LOL. Best of luck to you in your blog (and attempting to monetize it I’m sure–although this one string of comments will not make advertisers think you are worthy of their advertising dollars) and your business (your “very small boutique hotel”). I’ll be sure and stay elsewhere during my travels. Oh and Happy seems to be a VERY relative term for you. And yes, I can simply block you on twitter to be removed from that list so no one will see it. I’ll give it a day or two to ponder. But for now I bask in its glory. 😉

    BTW: each person I follow is in a list (and no–not in twitter lists because it has such small limits) so that I can jump from feed to feed and never feel my “feed” is filled up with nonsense. Learn to use some good outside third party apps.

  6. Dear @Vetlovingpetshb.

    Thank you for commenting here and on Twitter.

    1. No, this is not an attempt to get more comments on Twitter or here. I just like to interact with real people and not with programs or machines or animals:-)
    2. I found this solution more elegant than a simple block, because I assumed with a block I would offend people much more.
    3. I’ve worked with programs like you’re hinting at. Mass un-follow simply doesn’t work anymore.
    4. Your reaction actually is more a of a flaming nature than a real contribution to this discussion, especially when you try to minimize my efforts, assume I want to monitize this blog or my tweets, or when you assume I must hate animals (quot non) in your tweets. An animal care center in The Hague or The Netherlands I could follow, even if they are not high on my priority lists, provided they are entertaining, love the same music or relate in whatever manner.
    5. I simply un-follow tweets with no url or no other url than their business website and tweets that apparently tweet using one of those darn programs. Also tweets who have a massive following are suspects. Once again I’m interested in people.
    6. Uhm and maybe you could use a happier dog as background for your Twitter account:-)
    7. Feel free to block me!

    Cheers and good luck!

  7. I like the idea of a un-following list, it made me smile, and now reading your post I’m laughing! I like the fact that you made a change in your Twitter usage and you even explain your reasons. Blocking is going one step further and I only block people who are offensive and rude.

    Bravo HH! Happy Tweeting.

  8. I’ve also taken to cleaning house, the best thing about lists….is you can subscribe someone to a list without actually following them. I was running into the 2,000 subscriber limit often that I had to fork out people into lists.

    Of my 11 lists, 2 of them are purely for reviewing content & not so much interaction.

  9. Ah @Clarke
    Off course the UF list is a bit about teasing the self inflated. But also to monitor it from time to time.

    IC you’re behind the 2001 followers bar. Been there. Don’t make the same mistakes I made.

    But I also see something else: You’re an avid Tumblr guy. I used to do that, but the later version of Posterous is much more versatile than Tumblr i.m.h.o.

    Have you looked into that?

    Lately you can even merge Tumblr into Posterous and from Posterous into a true blog.

    What do you think?

  10. Can you please tell me what the point is of constantly broadcasting on your Twitter feed of this mundane project of yours? Seriously, are you starved for attention? If you are truly unhappy because your twitter stream is becoming cluttered with spam or “irrelevant tweets’ than why not just unfollow them and be done with it? What is the point of announcing this over and over and then you take it even further by listing them in an “Unfollow” Friday list to further humiliate and bring attention to them and what you are doing. In my opinion as a business owner your actions are highly unprofessional. Before you think I am being bitter because I may have been unfollowed you, think again. I do not follow you nor you follow me but several people have brought this blog and what you are doing to my attention. As a business owner you do realize that you have just alienated potential business by your actions, right?

    I noticed you unfollowed a meeting planning company which in my opinion is stupid. I don’t know if you realize the meeting planning industry brings a lot of money to the travel industry which includes hotels. Dumb move in my opinion. Way to alienate potential customers. Bravo! Maybe you should change your name to Unhappy Hotelier?

  11. @TJ
    There is no broadcasting whatsoever nor over and over announcing it.
    You noticed it because, as you say, “several people have brought this to your attention”.
    Who are you anyway?
    Do I read you correct?
    Are you a business owner?
    Cheer up!
    Without some humor you won’t survive and neither your business:-)

  12. Thanks for the unfollow and list, Guido! ; )

    I only follow people I’ve interacted with or find interesting. I don’t think I was ever following you, as you didn’t interact with me, and I never stumbled across any of your content.

    Out of curiousity, what was it that made you unfollow me? No hard feelings… regardless.


    Ben (@bzalasky)

  13. @Ben
    Thank you for taking the time to comment much more graciously than some of the above commenters.

    I believe it was one of your recent re-tweets that triggered me. I fear you have once followed me whereupon I automatically have followed you. Another possibility is that we share something on Blip.FM.

    As I tried to explain in my post and further in my replies I’m trying to go back to the core of twitter and interacting with those I follow…and following those I find interesting

    Again no pun intended at all.

    As a matter of fact: adding those I unfollow to the UF list takes something from those I followed, but gives them a “list point” back instead of only taking away a follower……

    Anyway quite interesting to see how people can react differently.

    Thanks again and Cheers!

  14. I did the something similar near the end of January. Cleaning up my Twitter account lost me about 1,500 followers who immediately auto-unfollowed me. I unfollowed everybody, and started adding back those that I could think of off the top of my head, then everyone I’ve listed, and so on… It was totally worth it. My Twitter account had been stagnating since November/December. It’s impossible to keep up with 5,000+ people.

  15. However, it’s never been about keeping up with everybody for me. I’ve always seen Twitter as a stream of real-time, curated content. I like dipping my toes into the zeitgeist now and again.

  16. @Benjamin
    I’ve come to the same conclusions as you. Following over 7,000 people is ridiculous. So I’m more and more consciously unfollowing those who clutter my twitter screen. Some of them I can add to lists I like to dip in from time to time and then there are always the trendy matters to dip in from time to time…

  17. This is very interesting – I think Twitter is here to stay, but it’s moving away from the hype of last year. I see the fundamental concept of Twitter – real time search and communication – as a major future trend.

    But as you say, quality is much more important than quantity.

    The only exception I see is for businesses. Perhaps it is best for them to auto-follow back everyone for DM functionality?

  18. @Josiah
    I’ve hardly ever enabled auto e-mail with DM.
    Like many people I do not want to have a cluttered in box.
    I hate auto follow DM posts.
    Many of my contacts over twitter are with ppl who do not follow me.
    Usually they do answer to a @reply via Twitter
    Moreover I see no other use for a DM than an occasional personal remark.
    Hence I see no reason why business should autofollow.

    It is more important for a business to check their twitter account a couple of times per day. In addition they should monitor search terms that can affect their business rather frequently.

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