I’ve been on Twitter for about four years now, intermittently and unstrategically, which led to what it usually leads to – I was following more people than I was being followed by, and my streams had a lot of noise – neither good. Here are a few tips for how to get rid of people in a productive, loving way.
1. Find a core focus, and stick to it. This is the hardest part, because you have to really know yourself and your interests. This can be especially hard if you’re a writer with a lot of interests. It’s taken me years to figure out that in the deepest parts of my heart, I care about weird music, strange fiction, and outsiders. Everything else is interesting, but not crucial.
2. Set up lists for secondary interests. If there are people who you want to be able to check in on but don’t need to see in your stream every day, add them to a list on their topic, then unfollow them. This is a feature of Twitter I didn’t know about until recently, but it’s awesome. Combine it with Hootsuite and you can zoom into specific subfields.
3. Unfollow people without a clear identity. If someone isn’t a specialist, and you don’t know them personally, unfollow without hesitation.
4. That said, Don’t unfollow people you know. Twitter is, after all, about a conversation, and you’re more likely to get engagement from people you know. And that’ll keep you motivated.
5. Check people’s activity. A lot of people tweet for a few months, or even a few years, then disappear. I was following people who haven’t tweeted since 2011, which is doing nobody any good. This includes people you know, by the way.
This is a time-consuming process, depending on how many people you follow, but it will make your feed a lot more productive AND make your profile look better – since having more followers than follows is pretty essential to having even a modicum of self-respect on Twitter. After paring my follows from 650 to about 400, I’m betting I’ll have a much more exciting core feed, but I also have all those lists up on my Hootsuite that I can check in on when I want. Information control!
Follow me at @davidzmorris!