HOW TO: keep your Twitter followers list clean and tidy?

by | Jun 27, 2009 | Community and Networking | 7 comments

twitter-logo-150Being a Twitter user is fun, sometimes useful, addictive and can be very time consuming as well. To become a “celebrity” on Twitter it seems to be needed to have a lot of followers. Based on all kind of “spam” this is the main aim for many, because then “Twitter could become a money machine“. It looks like you should feel like a looser if you don’t add over a 100 followers a day. But WHY would I like to add over 100 not interested people to my account on a daily basis? What’s the use? I don’t want to buy, so please don’t try to sell. I would love to help, but that means that we need to interact. Interaction is something that is lacking on Twitter. Too many users are mainly sending. I prefer to keep my followers list clean and tidy. Therefore, I kick out as many “spam” generators as possible. But that is not an easy job. Keep reading if you want to know why and how I am doing this.

When I started using Twitter I did not really know what to expect. I already wrote before that some years ago I decided not to use it. I just didn’t see why I should use it: “Twittermania and I am joining it. For some reason at the beginning of this year I got interested a lot more. For sure my iPhone helped, because it enables me to send updates about where I am and what I am doing to people who like to know that. But I do not like to share that kind of information with everyone. That’s why I decided to have a private and a business account. In my recent post: “Tweeters are from Mars non-Tweeters from Venus” I explained how and why I am using Twitter. And that opinion has not changed. Currently my main focus is on finding the right people to exchange thoughts with. Not an easy job with the big ammount of Twitter users today. These are the steps I take to find new “friends”:

  1. Searching for like minded people and follow them
  2. Unfollow commercial Twitter accounts
  3. Review my daily time line and closely follow people with a message
  4. Clean up the list of followers now and then

Searching for like minded people and follow them

Fortunately on Twitter it is rather easy to find people with similar interests, “like minded people“. The Twitter web client enables you to search for keywords you prefer. Also filtering based on tags shows quickly the content you might like. Then it is a matter of checking the persons Twitter page to see whether he is tweeting more often about that subject. Also the bio is a good indicator. In general I do not follow accounts with empty or too commercial bio’s. Also a personal picture if preferred.

The above is quite time consuming. Twitter clients for your desktop like f.e. TweetDeck and Seesmic Desktop enable you to define “searches” based on your favorite keywords. I defined searches for keywords like: agile, outsourcing, project management, offshoring. I check  these lists from time to time during the day and when I notice somebody who is Tweeting great messages, then I start following him. When using these clients this is a matter of some clicks.

Twollow automatic follow

Currently I am also testing some automatic follow tools: Twollo, Twollow, Twitseeker based on the same keywords. Twollo and Twollow claim to fully take care of it. By entering the requested keywords these applications will start following presumed like minded people. Unfortunately, I need to conclude that this is generating a lot of new “friends” that I instantly unfollow again. These tools seem (not yet) to filter for commercial Twitter accounts. The positive thing about these tools is that for sure I found some people through them that I love to follow. People who like to interact and who add value to my network and I hopefully to their’s. Therefore, I take the unfollow task for granted.

Twitseeker gives you more control about the people you would like to follow. Based on your keyword you get a list of Twitter users. It is up to you to decide who you would like to follow. The main disadvantage is that you have to do this task manually every time again.

Twitter Grader overview for Gdansk

Another nice tool is Twitter Grader. This tools uses a detailed algorithm to define somebodies Twitter rank. Twitter Grader assigns every user you run through its system a grade from 1-100. Using this tool you can investigate how engaged the people you’re following are and that can help you decide if you want to keep following them. It also enables you to find high ranking Tweeters in your geographical area. If you login to your Twitter account you are directly able to follow people from Twitter Grader.

Unfollow commercial Twitter accounts

As mentioned above there are a lot of Twitter accounts with mainly a commercial aim. In general these accounts are not posting any valuable information. Most of them I directly unfollow if their “thank you for the following” includes a commercial message. An automatic “spam” checker would be really great. Till now I did not find such a tool, but for sure it will be somewhere.

To prevent too many “commercial” followers I do not automatically follow everybody who is following me. I prefer to decide myself who of my followers I would like to follow.

Review my daily time line and closely follow people with a message

By using several Twitter clients both on my desktop and iPhone I try to keep up to date what’s happening on Twitter during the day. To be honest I hardly follow the “all friends timeline”. I grouped the people I follow to be sure that I read the updates of the people that I like to follow closely. In general these are also the people I interact with. If I happen to find a great Tweeter on my all friends time line, I add him to one of the groups. Both Seesmick and TweetDeck provide nice ways to manage this grouping.

Tweetdeck grouping

Of course it is important to have a close look on everyone who is retweeting or mentioning you. In general these are good accounts to follow, because at least they seem to like you!

Clean up the list of followers now and then

Having a huge amount of followers and friends is not my main aim. Besides people claim that you need to be aware of a balanced followers/friends ratio. Therefore, I clean these lists now and then. Unfortunately this is not an easy job. By using the Twitter web client you can easily see who are the people who are following you and who you are following. When you are mutually following, “Send DM” is indicated. But having over 100 accounts to be checked this is becoming hell of a job. In my opinion both TweetDeck and Seesmic do not provide this functionality in a sufficient way. I am also using CoTweet to manage several Twitter accounts with other people, f.e. our company Twitter @GOYELLO. CoTweet shows you in one view when you click on the Twitter account name the follow/friend status for all the accounts you are managing with CoTweet. Besides managing your mentions, RT and DM’s is a lot easier with CoTweet.

Recently I found some tools that are helpful with keeping trac on your followers and friends. I share my experiences below.

Clean your followers with Tweepler

I really love Tweepler. As the image above show you can manage your followers in one single view. Followers you did not yet process can be moved to “follow” or ignore. Tweepler also enables you to review you current friends. The big advantage of Tweepler is that you can view additional information about the person in the same window.

Tweetsum - Digest your Twitter followers

Tweetsum is a similar application. In a simple way you can change the status of your followers and friends. Tweetsum adds its own index to treat somebodies Twitter value.

Another nice example is Your Twitter Karma which shows who you are following and who’s following you. You can sort by activity to enable f.e. unfollowing not active accounts or decide to unfollow people who are not following you. See the short introduction movie below.

A tool like Tweet Later can be used to automatically follow people who are following you. As mentioned before I would rather not advice to do that. Tweet Later can also automatically unfollow people who unfollow you. Besides it provides you with a nice overview of new followers through the “vetting” functionality.

Update: I just found a nice new tool Refollow and wrote a post about it.


Whether keeping your followers’ list clean and tidy is something for you is your own decision. I prefer to have high quality followers and friends, although this is quite hard to manage. Hopefully I managed to provide you with some tips how to manage your followers and friends. For sure I am not aware about all tools. Please add your experiences and tips as a comment below!


  1. Dignitas Ltd

    Interesting that you dislike Commercial Twitters, and yet it is you that followed me first, a Twitter that is purely commercial !!

  2. PetersOpinion

    Hi, thanks for the reply. You touch a good point. I am afraid that I did not define my “commercial Twitters” point right. In your case I have the feeling that you try to add some good knowledge to the community, but I might be wrong of course.

    I really dislike all the accounts that send you a message how you could get more followers the next day, or make more money online. May be I should call them Twitter spammers. They run mainly on autopilot, don't interact, etc.

    I used to auto connect to my followers and that caused this issue. Currently I don't use the auto follow anymore. This is also the disadvantage of autofollow tools. The good thing is that they manage to find people I like, but autofollowing again is causing the above mentioned issue.

  3. roezer

    Agreed A direct message is thanks for the follow and Not Come to my Site

  4. PetersOpinion

    Thanks for your reply Roezer. You will understand that I fully agree with your comment!

  5. Stephen Baugh

    Awesome post on Twitter Peter. Very helpful. Thank you.



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