Twitter Unfollow Tools – Does Automation Work?

Last year, I wrote a post called Social Media Mentions – Do Negative Seeming Words Harm You? In it, I argued that automated tools which calculate your online reputation can produce very misleading results.

Recently, a colleague with a major Twitter following told me that she’s used Twit Cleaner to purge her account. She thought it was very useful.

So, I decided to try it, and ran a report on my followers.

Apparently, 46% of the 703 Tweeps that I’m currently following are “potentially garbage.” Yikes!!

So, who are these people? Turns out that they include:

  • @GuyKawasaki – named because he mainly posts links, does very few retweets, and mentions very few others.
  • @CorbinBall (noted expert in the meetings technology field), for link spamming 55% of the time
  • @TerryBrock and @PFripp (both great and popular speakers), because they don’t interact with any of their followers
  • @SCSentinel (the Santa Cruz Sentinel – my local paper) because it’s largely an RSS feed
  • @BentleyGTCSpeed (Alan Weiss, my consulting mentor) because he doesn’t follow anyone back

Twitclean will unfollow all these “dodgy” Tweeps for me automatically, at the press of a button.

Now in fairness, there’s a host of other far less famous Tweeps in these, and more, categories. I’d probably never notice that I’d stopped following them.

But in the cases that I’ve highlighted, there are either some good reasons for their actions, or I don’t see the problem.

Guy Kawasaki (who in full disclosure has just given me a great endorsement for my upcoming book) uses Twitter to share all the online content that he and his associates curate. Alan Weiss has always been clear that he has no intention of following people back, but is a great source of ongoing pithy advice. Of course a newspaper is going to produce a news feed . . .

Automated tools can be very helpful up to a point – but they have to be programmed with certain criteria, and they’re not good at nuance. So by all means use them, but add your own review and judgement – otherwise you might miss out on some valuable resources.

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