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Unfollow and Declutter Your Twitter Account

by Miguel Guhlin
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“How many Twitter followers do you have?” That’s a question that some people lead with at conference events. While many of those events have shifted online, the question remains. One of the questions that comes up as well is, “How can I better manage Twitter followers and who should I follow?” You might think it’s irrelevant. But if you follow too many, you may miss out on important updates and shares. That’s why it’s important to periodically unfollow people who haven’t followed you back.

But Twitter doesn’t make it easy to unfollow in bulk. In this blog entry, we’ll explore three tools for your Android device that make it a little easier to dump unfollowers.

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A Twitter brawl between educators seeking relevance and engagement

Wait, Before We Start, How Many Do You Have?

It’s not the number of people following me that bothers me; it’s how many people I follow that fail to return the favor. That’s right, when people don’t follow you back, what’s the point? There’s a better way to deal with people you want to follow than to follow someone who doesn’t reciprocate. We’ll explore that as well.

In my professional account, @mguhlin, when I began this blog post, I followed 13K people. Twitter makes it easy to follow people, but you can’t remove them so fast. Over the past week, I’ve been using three apps to help me remove people who I follow but who don’t follow me back. Known as “unfollows,” they are hard to dump. What I need to do is follow only the people who engage with me.

Let’s take a quick look at three tools you can load on your Android phone that will clarify Twitter.

Tool #1: Follow Checker for Twitter

This nifty tool, Follow Checker for Twitter, makes it easy for you to see your stats. Here are my stats after a week of unfollowing people who don’t follow me back:

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As you can see, I have 1,905 followers who don’t follow me back. That’s down from the almost eight thousand earlier this week. So, I made progress with shedding my “unfollows.” Follow Checker makes it easy to remove my unfollowers via an “Auto” button.

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Follow Checker for Twitter  does something else that’s interesting. It tells me how many users that I don’t follow back. Those 7,596 people represent an audience I could be engaging with, but I’m not. This could have happened because they followed me, but I was too busy to follow them back. Follow Checker will do its best to unfollow as many people as it can, more than other apps on this list. This makes it my favorite tool.

Tool #2: Follow Back

unfollowersFollow Back is another tool that does the exact same thing as Follow Checker. The interface is a bit different and you have to suffer through boring ads (which you can turn off after three seconds). Aside from that, the app works in a similar manner. In spite of the ads, I found Follow Back to be a bit more endearing. One of its distinguishing characteristics is the timer.

You see, Twitter doesn’t like it when you unfollow people in bulk. So it sets limits on the interface that allows that. You can only unfollow so many people before Twitter holds up a STOP sign. Follow Back tries to avoid that problem. It stops after fifty unfollows, then sets a timer with a notification. When the time expires, getting you past Twitter’s guard dog, you can unfollow another fifty.

Tool #3: UnFollow Today

If you don’t mind tapping an “x” next to the name of the person you want to unfollow, UnFollow Today is the tool for you. You scroll and tap, tap, tap to unfollow people. While not my favorite of the bunch, it works to get a few more people unfollowed. I like to think it sneaks in and pushes a few more names off. That said, if you have LOTS of unfollowers, this may not be the tool for you.

Now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out there are MANY apps that get this job done. You can also find a few websites (Unfollowers) where you can spend your cash. Skip that and use tool #1 over a couple of days.

Making Lists

unfollowersEarlier, I mentioned that there are people you want to follow who will NEVER follow you back. Those could be news organizations, magazines, non-profit organizations, and others. Instead of following them, add them to a Twitter List. Here’s Twitter’s set of instructions:

  1. In the top menu, tap your profile icon.
  2. Tap Lists.
  3. Tap the new List icon
  4. Select a name for your List and a short description of the List. List names cannot exceed 25 characters, nor can they begin with a number. The default setting for your List is public (anyone can follow the List). To make the List only accessible to you, drag the slider next to Private to on.
  5. Tap Done.

You can see my lists online. Well, you can see most of them. Some are private. In this way, you can add people or organizations you want to follow to a list. They may never follow you back, and you can only view them when needed. Better yet, you avoid cluttering up your Twitter. Isn’t that worth some Marie Kondo affection?

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