11 Sure-Fire Ways to Get Me to Unfollow You on Twitter

11 Sure-Fire Ways to Get Me to Unfollow You on Twitter

unfollow 300x86 - 11 Sure-Fire Ways to Get Me to Unfollow You on Twitter

I love Twitter, no doubt about it. I have found it to be a fabulous tool, through which I’ve come to know countless brilliant and fascinating people. To me, Twitter is about building relationships. Like all social media tools, there is no one right way to use Twitter. I cannot control how others use it, but I can control who I follow and how I interact with them.

I follow most people back who follow me. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, but I do aggressively unfollow if your use of Twitter is not aligned with my own style. Of course, you are always welcome to similarly unfollow me if you feel my content is inappropriate or a bad fit for your twitterstream.

Just so we’re clear, here are some of the deal-breakers for me which will likely earn you a big unfollow from me:

  1. You’re naked (or nearly naked). Yeah, I don’t really know what you’re wearing, or not, when you’re actually tweeting, but please put some clothes on that avatar.
  2. You talk about yourself endlessly. This is where most of your tweets are just broadcasting links to your blog, your e-book, your teleclass, your LinkedIn profile…enough already. Way to take the “social” right out of social media.
  3. You tweet links for me to “Click here to make money on Twitter” or “….get 1,000s of followers.” I’m here because I want to know *you* – if the feeling isn’t mutual, that’s OK. We’re just not a good fit. And, I appreciate that you’re guaranteeing that I’ll make tons of money on Twitter; I’m still not interested.
  4. You recommend people you don’t even follow, including me, in a #FollowFriday tweet. What’s up with that? How can you recommend someone you don’t even remotely know?
  5. You include links which are misleading. I’m not talking about RickRolling here; I mean making it seem like there is really great content if you just follow this link, only to have it lead to promotional material or a squeeze page. This happens when you take advantage of the common convention of shortened links on Twitter and is a violation of the trust your followers have placed in you.
  6. Your tweets are automated and often post content repeatedly in bursts where suddenly my twitterstream is nothing but you. It may be easier on your end, but it is just rude for those of us on the receiving end.
  7. You don’t engage with others. When I look at your profile and don’t see any tweets which begin with an @ symbol, this means you are just broadcasting information, not actually talking or replying to anyone else.
  8. You don’t practice what you preach. There are some on Twitter with huge numbers of followers who preach about the importance of engagement, yet routinely don’t reply to others. When following huge numbers of people, this can become a challenge, but there are many who manage this successfully building their own credibility by walking the talk.
  9. You have tweeted twice, yet are already following hundreds of people. I sense you’re a bot, rather than a real person, and can already see spam on the horizon.
  10. You use TweetLater or some other service to send auto-DMs (direct messages) to me once I start following you. You are so excited that I’ve decided to follow that you tell me that I seem like a really interesting person or you offer me a free e-book or send me a link to take a survey for new followers to help you get to know me (yes, really!). I’d much prefer that you read a few of my tweets, interact with me and really get to know me. I don’t need to be bought with a gift for being your friend and, heaven knows, I surely don’t want a stranger selling stuff to me right out of the gate.
  11. You don’t get that authenticity is a key component of social media success. You have the default Twitter avatar or are using a photo of your dog. You haven’t completed your Twitter bio – come on, it is really, really easy to do. I don’t know your name and can’t find your blog, your LinkedIn profile or any other online presence. I’m here for networking and to get to know people. If you want help setting up your profile, all you need to do is ask, I’ve helped many others and would be happy to help you.
  12. Even on a list of 11 items, it is worth repeating #1 – Go put some clothes on. Seriously.


While you’re here, you’ll also want to check out my 11 Tips to Thrive on Twitter.

What about you? Do any of these points sound familiar? What would you add to the list?



  1. J.S. Gilbert July 11, 2009 at 9:24 pm - Reply

    Great advice. I will some folks here for a little reality check when need be.

    Perhaps my only disagreement might be regarding avatars on number 11. I agree not to use the default nothing box that twitter gives you, but a pic of your dog or favorite painting or even the Eifel Tower shows that someone made an effort and has provided something that can be considered an “icebreaker” Too often one can be judged based on their looks, age, race or sex and the beauty of social media is that we can avoid the baggage and predispositions.

    • Irene Koehler July 11, 2009 at 9:40 pm - Reply

      Point well taken. I have known many who were wary of posting a real photo when they first joined Twitter. Almost all have found value and felt comfortable adding their photo after settling in.

  2. Mariam Ispahani July 11, 2009 at 9:28 pm - Reply

    You hit several nails on the head, thanks a zillion! Tired of the junk on twitter and worse is having to read through it all to get to the good stuff!


    • Irene Koehler July 11, 2009 at 9:42 pm - Reply

      I find that it is worthwhile to occasionally “prune” my network on all platforms, not just Twitter, to allow me to focus on the right people by weeding out those with different objectives than my own.

  3. Jim Connolly July 11, 2009 at 10:06 pm - Reply

    Hi Irene,

    You make some very good points here.

    Another little Twitter tip is that if you want people to follow you, you should follow them back.

    As you know, I used to be the 3rd most followed person in England and one of the top 50 most followed people in the world. Then, I reset my account, to zero following and zero followers. Today, I ‘only’ have a few thousands followers because I only follow around 50/60 people.

    I get just as many new followers each day as I used to, but because I don’t blindly follow people back, (until they either tweet me or respond to one of my tweets,) they unfollow within a day or so.

    That said, the quality of my network on Twitter is massively higher these days and Twitter has become far more enjoyable.
    .-= Jim Connolly´s last blog ..34 marketing tips and ideas =-.

    • Irene Koehler July 11, 2009 at 10:16 pm - Reply

      Thanks for your input, Jim. I absolutely agree that not one style works for everyone. The truth is that while I do follow-back most everyone now, it may be that there will come a time when I want to reconsider this strategy. You’ll note that I did not mention “you’re not following me back” as a reason I’d unfollow someone. I know there are many people for whom this is a deal-breaker, but not me. That is part of the beauty of using social media tools – we each get to tailor our use to best meet our own style.

  4. Keith (aka Tsudohnimh) July 11, 2009 at 10:31 pm - Reply

    Amen! I use these rules exactly as she stated them. Good stuff.

    This comment was originally posted on FriendFeed

  5. Tsudohnimh July 11, 2009 at 10:36 pm - Reply

    Great post! You exactly identified the reasons that I unfollow people. I’ve become more strict in my following policy ( http://su.pr/9O6zRv) and in turn I unfollow more liberally now.

    Found you via @jimconnolly and his post on Friendfeed. http://ff.im/56X96

    Glad to make your acquaintance I think we will get along fabulously. Love the post.
    .-= Tsudohnimh´s last blog ..We hold these truths? =-.

    • Irene Koehler July 11, 2009 at 10:45 pm - Reply

      Glad to meet you as well. Look forward to getting to know you. Ain’t social media grand?

  6. Waseem Sufi July 11, 2009 at 10:41 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the notes. As a fairly new user, these pointers will not only keep me in line with good twitter etiquettes but also help me stay focused as well.

    Perhaps an e-book/blog on twitter etiquettes (for current as well as new users) is in order, if there is not one out there already!


    Waseem Sufi

    • Irene Koehler July 11, 2009 at 11:26 pm - Reply

      Hi Waseem. You are the perfect new user. You watch, listen and aren’t afraid to ask questions. You’ll find that those involved in social media are, not surprisingly, quite social – and also happy to help. Soon, you’ll be the one helping someone else settle in.

  7. Elena July 11, 2009 at 10:42 pm - Reply

    I just wanted to say that sometimes people don’t tweet right away because they could be on the shy side. For them, just being on Twitter and having an active account is a huge step. Maybe the ones who do alot of promoting whether it’s their blog, website or latest marketing tweet that because it’s a definite source of information in their minds that some readers may find useful. I’ve found that after 4 months on Twitter, it’s trial and error with many of the followers. I have lost some followers but I try not to let that get the better of me since so many of the initial followers were one-sided in the first place. I think the longer you stay on Twitter, the number shouldn’t matter as much as the Twitter friendships you’ve started to form. The good thing about this site is that you only need 140 characters. The ones who provide great information and can tweet in a way that’s inviting without being pushy are the tweets I find most useful. So, my point is that Twitter is still new to some of the twitterers and it may take some time before a person gets in their groove. I tend to agree with the guy above who said the less he follows the more quality twteets he receives.
    .-= Elena´s last blog ..Dogs in the News: Still Shocked! =-.

    • Irene Koehler July 11, 2009 at 10:49 pm - Reply

      Valuable points, Elena. Actually, I recommend that people new to Twitter put a couple of tweets out there and then sit back for just a bit to see what others are talking about and spend time finding interesting people to follow.

      The people I was referring to above with just one or two tweets, but hundreds or thousands of followers are not really people, but automated bots.

      Thanks for taking the time to add your perspective.

    • Samuel July 15, 2009 at 9:19 am - Reply

      Elena: “I just wanted to say that sometimes people don?t tweet right away because they could be on the shy side. For them, just being on Twitter and having an active account is a huge step.”

      There are also those of us who are sort of social but anti-social at the same time. Observers… how ever you want to describe it. Wanting to be part of it, but not in the middle of all attention. Lurkers. In real life and in the virtual. People without families or friends to connect to (for what ever reasons) or people whose native language is not English. People too polite to talk to starngers. It’s not always shyness, but the results can be just as restraining.

      I’ve been online since early 1996. First it was the BBSs, then Usenet, later IRC, then the web. Not really chatting or “social” stuff like that, just helping people who had problems with operating systems etc. Answering questions, taking time to help people. Watching in the shadows till needed to step in, but always knowing what was happening out there. Finger on the pulse?

      It was Irene’s #canihelp that brought me to almostsavvy.com, BTW. Knowing my background you can understand why.

      I don’t think there’s such a thing as a typical (or stereotypical) Twitter user. Not everyone wants to use it to promote their business or their egos. I know the question on the Twitter frontpage is “What are you doing?”, but I see it being much beyond that. I’ve been Truly Inspired via Twitter this week and that is something to write a song about!

      Already back in 1996 they said that the web is the great equalizer, giving a mom-and-pop business the same platform as the big companies. When Google’s AdWords came along, it was no longer so: those who have more money to burn got more attention. Come along Twitter and I find us going back to the roots again.

      I’m just a regular guy following Stephen Fry, Esther Dyson, Seth Godin, Irene Koehler. One of the four has replied to me but hey, I know they are all busy. I don’t *demand* a reply. But how great is it that I can be in the same virtual room as them, listening to their words of wisdom. Could that happen in real life? No. To me, *that* is the power of Twitter.

      (And no, English is not my language)

      • jcarljr July 27, 2009 at 7:11 am - Reply

        I thought you were right on with your thoughts. I’m surprised that I will be the first to comment on your post. Not every one is out going and able to generate great content on a regular basis but that does not mean that they are not worth following. Twitter does allow each of us to socialize in our own way even if that means just sitting back and taking it in until the moment we feel comfortable & confident enough to join the conversation.

  8. Darren Christie July 11, 2009 at 10:54 pm - Reply

    Good points, other quick way to loose me is to spam me with those annoying blip fm tweets they r so annoying.

    • Irene Koehler July 11, 2009 at 10:57 pm - Reply

      Right, Darren. I meant to include that, but totally forgot. There do seem to be a lot of people who really like them, though.

    • Brian Hanson September 13, 2009 at 10:10 am - Reply

      Music on Twitter is one that doesn’t annoy me. I myself use FoxyTunes that allows me to post what music is playing in my Winamp with 1 click. Many, many people do enjoy it and often comment a “big thanks” for taking them back to some fond memory from a classic 60’s-80’s tune that I might post. I do not like Blip.fm though, as they require me to search for a song, thus wasting valuable time.

  9. Jim Connolly July 11, 2009 at 11:20 pm - Reply


    You are TOTALLY right about blip.fm. I wish there was a way to filter them out, like you can on FriendFeed.

    They drive me nuts.

    Why should someone broadcast what they are listening to? Do these same people drive down the street shouting out the window, each time the music changes on their car’s radio?
    .-= Jim Connolly´s last blog ..34 marketing tips and ideas =-.

    • Rob July 12, 2009 at 11:20 am - Reply

      As with followfriday and other keywords we may not want to see, TweetDeck has a Filter. I have used it and seems to work well. You can set up a column off the screen (way to the right) for all tweets then apply the filter to the one you want watch.

      You also have the ability to make groups.

      • Irene Koehler July 12, 2009 at 11:26 am - Reply

        Tweetdeck is awesome. Love the ability to filter by including or excluding any particular terms. It’s very useful!

  10. MarkRH July 11, 2009 at 11:27 pm - Reply

    Good article.

    I think each person has their own criteria for who they follow or not. There are some whose subject matter and style of tweeting tend to turn me off. I’m sure that if most of my followers hadn’t come while I was tweeting on about NASCAR during races, they’d drop me in a heart-beat LOL.

    Those that follow me that have updates that are mostly via TwitterFeed will usually get added to my RSS reader if I’m interested in their links (or their blog itself). That’s all they are really using Twitter for anyway..another mechanism to pump their RSS feed into without any real interaction. The exceptions would be breaking news tweets that I want to appear in my twitter stream.

    • Irene Koehler July 11, 2009 at 11:30 pm - Reply

      Great suggestion, Mark, to add those who are just tweeting links to blog posts and such to your RSS reader rather than follow them on Twitter. Very effective solution!

      • MarkRH July 11, 2009 at 11:41 pm - Reply

        To avoid some possible confusion. It’s my WordPress ID of MarkRH showing here. On Twitter I’m @mrheadrick. @markrh is someone else.

  11. Sid July 11, 2009 at 11:31 pm - Reply

    Good post.

    RE:#1 – I think it because the myspace crowd is doing the lemming walk.

    • Irene Koehler July 11, 2009 at 11:34 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Sid. I’m not sure why, but I know that I wish they’d put some clothes on. Color me old-fashioned. 🙂

  12. Jim Connolly July 11, 2009 at 11:52 pm - Reply

    It’s handy to have a post like the one Irene did, to point noobs at.

    This comment was originally posted on FriendFeed

  13. Matches Malone July 11, 2009 at 11:58 pm - Reply

    Great stuff here. May have to link to this post at some point. Especially noteworthy is #4. I often wonder if people RT’ing the #FF lists actually follow those people first….
    .-= Matches Malone´s last blog ..A Horse Designed by a Committee =-.

  14. Dan July 12, 2009 at 12:16 am - Reply

    I get what you say about #7, but please be careful here. The “thing” about Twitter is “What Are You Doing?” It isn’t “What do You Think About Me and What I’m Doing?” The original idea of Twitter (and the instructions above the web posting box if anyone still uses that) IS to post about yourself. There’s likely some back-and-forth occasionally, but I’m as likely to unfollow someone who generally posts links or comments to others and never tells me “What They’re Doing” as I am for those with disturbing avatars (you got that right.)

    • Irene Koehler July 12, 2009 at 12:21 am - Reply

      For those that take the prompt literally, you are right. It is very “me” focused. It is my sense that most people believe (and again, this is just my own sense) that the prompt is outdated and limiting. It has evolved far beyond the original design and intent. People now use Twitter much more broadly. There is no one way to use Twitter, so you are as right as I am. You may want to unfollow the same people I think are fabulous, if that’s what works for you.

  15. gautam hans July 12, 2009 at 6:31 am - Reply

    I get a lot of followers of the naked type and many profiles having the same avatar. And I have to started to become stricter on who should i follow.

    By the way a great post!
    .-= gautam hans´s last blog ..Finding Great Content to Tweet =-.

    • Irene Koehler July 12, 2009 at 12:39 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Gautam. I promise to keep my clothes on so you won’t have to unfollow. 🙂

  16. Toni July 12, 2009 at 7:12 am - Reply

    I agree with every point that you have up there. My rule is quality not quantity and you are on my quality list.

    • Irene Koehler July 12, 2009 at 12:41 pm - Reply

      So insightful, Toni. Quality does rule and the feeling is mutual!

  17. Sheri July 12, 2009 at 8:03 am - Reply

    Great list! You hit many of my own personal Twitter pet peeves. I know that, to some, getting the highest number of followers is what it’s about; however, I’m more about quality than quantity. Like you, I regularly weedwhack my followers list to block those who are JUST selling something (including themselves–ewww).

    I’d add a number 12 to your list of fastest ways to get me to unfollow you: EXTREMELY frequent tweeting. If someone sends out 30+ tweets a day, I’m not interested in following them, because I’m already getting a lot of tweets from a lot of other people.

    • Irene Koehler July 12, 2009 at 11:09 am - Reply

      I know many share your view about the prolific tweeters. I do have lots of conversations on Twitter, but they won’t show up in your stream unless you also follow the person I’m replying to.

      • Sheri July 13, 2009 at 8:00 am - Reply

        Irene said: “I know many share your view about the prolific tweeters. I do have lots of conversations on Twitter, but they won?t show up in your stream unless you also follow the person I?m replying to.”

        Right, and that’s not necessarily the person I’m talking about. I’m talking about people who are sending prolific tweets to EVERYONE who follows them, not as a matter of conversation, but purely as an answer to “What are you doing now?” But way, way overdone…inane reporting of their every activity.

        I’m about to unfollow someone today for this very thing.

  18. Mark Aaron Murnahan July 12, 2009 at 10:51 am - Reply

    You are still following me, but you never did answer my *guarantee* to make tons of money with your 1,000 new followers per day. What gives? I mean, really, what part of “easy money” or “massive success” did you not understand? Just for that, I am taking off my shirt! Maybe my manly chest will help you to find greater use in my new Twitter affiliate program. ROFL!
    .-= Mark Aaron Murnahan´s last blog ..Twitter Success Stories =-.

    • Irene Koehler July 12, 2009 at 11:10 am - Reply

      Mark, you are hilarious! You’re right; I didn’t understand the scheme. Now that you’ve explained it, I’ll rush right over and sign up. 🙂

  19. O.G.Net July 12, 2009 at 11:16 am - Reply

    I fully agree with you, even for some people who don’t want to reveal themselves they should still get avatars. I have a deal for you if you want me to make an avatar for you too, check it on my website.

  20. Nati Kuhn July 12, 2009 at 11:21 am - Reply

    Totally true. Spammers are pretty annoying, but also people who needs more than 140 caracters and sends like 3 messages with 140 caracters to finish their thought. I’d rather unfollow them.

    Great article 🙂
    .-= Nati Kuhn´s last blog .. =-.

    • Irene Koehler July 12, 2009 at 11:27 am - Reply

      Great addition. I don’t see much of this, but do see it occasionally. There are also services which allow messages longer than 140 to be continued through a link which leads to their site.

  21. Roger Ewing July 12, 2009 at 11:26 am - Reply

    Irene, I couldn’t agree more. I am an aggressive un-follower. In fact if I check out the profile of someone following me and I am not impressed, I don’t follow them at all. My goal is to follow no more than 100. That way I can actually follow them individually and get some real value out of continuity in my following. I am constantly ungrading my follow list. (I added you BTW). I have use Tweetchuck as well to filter some potentials.
    Great article, I am going to post on my company blog to share with my real estate agents.
    Best wishes,

    • Irene Koehler July 12, 2009 at 11:30 am - Reply

      Many thanks, Roger. I take being added to such a carefully culled list as a wonderful compliment. I’m delighted to have you share this on your blog. I’ll have to check it out.

  22. Angela July 12, 2009 at 11:40 am - Reply

    Great list – One note on #4… there are two circumstances where I would (& have) recommended someone I don’t appear to follow myself: Besides my own account I manage a couple for work and one for a community group and may recommend someone on one account that I follow on another, also, when I have a friend that is new to twitter I might do some checking around to help them find others specifically of interest to them

    • Irene Koehler July 12, 2009 at 11:44 am - Reply

      Thanks for pointing that out, Angela. My guess is that this is not what others are doing when I see them tweeting many names of people they don’t follow, including my own name, but huge kudos to you for going the extra mile to help others find the right connections to ease the transition. Your point about managing more than one account is also an excellent one which may be transparent to those on the other end.

  23. Navin Parray July 12, 2009 at 12:12 pm - Reply

    Interesting discussion so far. I follow most people who follow me. The exceptions would be if you have zero updates and loads of following and/or followers; all your tweets are you posting about your day then every five posts or so is a link to the same ‘get-1,000,000-followers-in-one-day’ website. If I’m unsure of your intentions I’ll usually give the benefit of the doubt until I’m proven otherwise.

    One thing that annoys me is when the follow Friday thing is overdone. When I get 20 posts from one person about who to follow in one continuous stream, that just mucks up my stream. I haven’t stopped following anyone yet but I’m getting there.

    My stream contains mainly links to things I find interesting. I post maybe 10-15 times a day including replies or comments. It depends on what I’m doing/reading. These sometime initiate a conversation which I always like. Most links usually stays in the areas of design, technology, environment, sustainability, programming and photography. But, I’ll post about anything I find interesting. What I do with my links however is I try to describe what the link is. I actually read what I’m linking to and give my opinion or as best as I can within 140 characters. The link is going to be about something I’m interested in or have some knowledge about, so I’ll tell you why I’m posting it. I know my style isn’t for everyone but I still have followers so I can’t be all that annoying.

    I’ve also started using posterous, so my plan is to expand on things I find interesting there. This feeds to my Twitter, Facebook and Friendfeed streams. My objective isn’t to gain some large number of followers but to connect with people who are interested in similar things. I’m still trying to figure out a good workflow for me, with using all these sites.

  24. Annette July 12, 2009 at 3:16 pm - Reply

    You make some very good points. I follow people who provide with specific information that I interested in. Usually they follow me back but I seldom tweet because I don’t often have anything interesting to say. I need to work on that. But my pet peeve is people who tweet constantly. Seriously, I don’t need to know what you’re doing every moment of your day.

  25. Scott Allen July 12, 2009 at 6:32 pm - Reply

    I pretty much agree with everything here. I’ll just make a couple of comments/caveats:

    #1 – If you’re a porn star / swimsuit/underwear model / stripper / bodybuilder… feel free to ignore this. It’s part of your brand. Just don’t be surprised when businesspeople don’t follow you.

    #6 – I confess to using some automated tweets…to promote a cause I believe in, with no commercial benefit to me. I have like 5 different tweets, each of which goes out like once every 2 weeks. I figure that’s reasonable — it’s what I would do anyway, it just makes it more convenient and makes sure I don’t forget about it.

    #10 – I still maintain that auto-DMs are great in theory… it’s just unfortunate that 95% of them are useless junk. Every so often, one really makes me smile, laugh, think and/or want to get to know that person. If they were all like that, I don’t think people would have such hatred for them.
    .-= Scott Allen´s last blog ..Bacon Explosion ? 12 Essential Tips =-.

    • Irene Koehler July 12, 2009 at 6:42 pm - Reply

      Agree with all that you say here. I realize that some degree of “nakedness” may be part of someone’s brand and more power to them. I won’t be following them, though. Regarding #6, I’m not against all automated tweets, it is the amount and timing of them. The way you’re using them sounds well thought out and reasonable. And the DMs – Bingo!

  26. Susan July 13, 2009 at 12:12 am - Reply

    I completely agree with all 11 rules – ESPECIALLY #1. An almost-naked avatar equals automatic unfollowing/blocking. Thanks Irene for this very informative post!
    .-= Susan´s last blog ..Science Online London 2009 =-.

    • Irene Koehler July 13, 2009 at 3:36 pm - Reply

      Appreciate the support. The number of naked or nearly naked avatars is astounding. Clearly, I’m not in their target market (meaning anyone who wants to click on their link to get more money/followers/photos of me).

  27. Nicola Quinn July 13, 2009 at 1:04 am - Reply


    What really riles me is people who I am not following spamming my mentions column by adding my name to the end of a tweet. A bit like tagging in FB.

    That is so rude, and you can’t unfollow!



    • Irene Koehler July 13, 2009 at 3:37 pm - Reply

      Grrr, indeed. While you can’t unfollow them, you can certainly block them. If enough people block an account, Twitter will check it out to see what’s going on.

  28. Jesse Porter July 13, 2009 at 1:52 am - Reply

    I agree fully — the Twitter revolution has ushered in plenty of new ways to annoy me. Worthy post.

    I do have to join with Dan above in disagreeing with you on #7, however: I’m not at all a believer in carrying out conversations on Twitter. In my opinion, someone whose profile is full of “@” symbols is the most irritating user by far. Since I follow everyone in my social circle, my news feed is full of @thisfriend from @thatfriend, so I wind up being bombarded with the contents of personal (and largely inane) conversations that don’t concern or interest me at all.

    The “what are you doing?” prompt is one that I believe still ought to be taken at face value. I want to know what my friend is doing, not what he thinks of what my other friend is doing. Those wishing to engage in back-and-forth conversations should utilize the “direct message” function — or, better yet, a number of other tried-and-true tools outside of Twitter.
    .-= Jesse Porter´s last blog ..07/15/09 – the southern Rh?ne is so 2007 =-.

    • Irene Koehler July 13, 2009 at 3:39 pm - Reply

      While I do use the @ reply function for some level of interaction, I could not agree more that there is a time and place for everything. Once you’ve gone back and forth a few times, it may be time to move to email or, dare I suggest it, a phone call!

  29. Napoleon B July 13, 2009 at 5:08 pm - Reply

    Thanks for a great post Irene,
    I’ve unfollowed people for most of these reasons. I’ve even blocked some people who were clearly spammers and sent their @ to @spam. Just doing my duty as a part of the Twitter community.

    There’s nothing like a nekkid iPod wearing yoga master’s profile pic to ruin my lunch. oy.
    .-= Napoleon B´s last blog ..P0_P0: RT @irenekoehler 11 Sure-Fire Ways to Get Me to Unfollow You on Twitter | Almost Savvy http://digg.com/u180Az =-.

  30. Patricia Skinner July 14, 2009 at 12:38 am - Reply

    This is an article I could have written myself: I agree with every single point. As if you got right inside my head Irene, lol.

    Look forward to reading more from you.
    .-= Patricia Skinner´s last blog ..Twitter: Will Spammers Murder Our Favorite Social Media Tool? =-.

    • Irene Koehler July 14, 2009 at 7:17 am - Reply

      Now that I’m inside your head, Patricia, I see so many other great ideas for blog posts. Thanks!

  31. Samuel July 14, 2009 at 6:00 am - Reply

    Great post, thank you.

    I totally agree. Automated DMs or advertising forced down my throat work every time… I only recently joined Twitter, so not many updates or followers yet – it’s easy to keep track. If I see my follower count increased, checking the Followers page shows their last tweet. If it’s something about getting huge following in Twitter or making easy money in the net – I just block them and be done with it.

    #1: That’s why I left MySpace two years ago.

    #11: I don’t have my ugly mug in my avatar. but if you look closely enough, you’ll notice that the N is fully clothed and decent. 😉


    • Irene Koehler July 14, 2009 at 7:19 am - Reply

      Bring on the ugly mug, Samuel. I think you’ll find there are folks of all types proudly wearing their mugs online. It took me awhile to get used to it myself, but now my mug is plastered everywhere.

      • Samuel July 14, 2009 at 7:59 am - Reply

        Not sure if the new gravatar will show up, but I changed it on my Twitter profile as well. Now I’m waiting for the champagne… 😉

        Gautam: I agree. Quality over quantity. Every time. In every situation.

        • Irene Koehler July 14, 2009 at 10:54 am - Reply

          Hearty congratulations on taking that big step. Will DM you the bubbly right away. 🙂

  32. Julio R Varela July 14, 2009 at 6:36 am - Reply

    Yes, yes, yes. My favorite is that one where you have tons of followers but you don’t engage at all. Major brand, personalities and self-promoting gurus need to really understand this one because I truly believe that in the end, they will all become irrelevant. Excellent post.

    • Irene Koehler July 14, 2009 at 7:22 am - Reply

      Thanks, Julio. It may be that the brands only care about promotion and their audience only cares about news, but I agree that this is changed at a rapid rate. Many of those that “get” it are being found by new people through the evangelism of their audience.

  33. Dawn Thomas July 14, 2009 at 8:23 am - Reply

    Irene–I absolutely love this post! Jason Crouch sent it to his FB friends, which includes me, and I sent it on to mine and my Tweeps!
    .-= Dawn Thomas´s last blog ..A Big Push Up – and Now Coming Down =-.

  34. Rahul Jauhari July 14, 2009 at 10:19 am - Reply

    Great post Irene. I neither have a huge following, nor follow too many people – content is important for me.
    A lot of people have been talking of “Get 1000 followers with a click’ etc – but to what purpose?
    I wouldn’t follow someone who either doesn’t tweet or tweets trash.
    People would expect the same of me.
    Twitter, unless channelized correctly, can end up being full of millions of twitterers who exist in name only.
    Social Media can be successful only if it has social relevance – and that’s a function of how relevant my tweet or your tweet is.
    Great Post 🙂
    .-= Rahul Jauhari´s last blog ..Mission? What Mission? =-.

    • Irene Koehler July 14, 2009 at 10:56 am - Reply

      Right on! It’s all about value. Some people struggle with that because this is a relative concept, but the beauty of social media is that we can easily craft our own definition of value.

  35. Kat Jaib July 14, 2009 at 4:23 pm - Reply

    Irene, I’m so with you. #1,3,9, 10 I don’t even follow in the first place, if I can help it. In last few months, I’ve been reading every bio and 1st tweets page to see who they are. Once in a while, I skip that and just follow back. Always regret it!

    #4, 6, 9, 11 are grounds for rapid unfollowing.

    #7 & 8 : Most important.
    Yesterday, a semi-celeb (in twitterworld, not real world) complained about those who don’t follow anyone back. But out of 4 times I’ve replied to her, she’s only responded once. And we have a mutual friend IRL.
    Honestly. That’s about as engaging as dinner with a narcissist.

    Great post. Look at all the comments!
    Thanks for saying hi.
    .-= Kat Jaib´s last blog ..Katnip Awards =-.

    • Irene Koehler July 14, 2009 at 4:36 pm - Reply

      I’ve had that exact experience many times and know that you and I are not the only ones. You’re right; it’s not engaging at all. Thanks for letting me lure you to the post. Once I saw your tweet, I knew this would resonate with you.

  36. Jeffrey Fry July 14, 2009 at 7:03 pm - Reply

    Love IT! Great advice and I DO have my clothes on! Do have an Astroboy avatar, but that was my fav cartoon when I was a boy!

    • Irene Koehler July 14, 2009 at 7:17 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the reassurance. No naked commenters allowed. 🙂

  37. Barbara Nicely July 15, 2009 at 5:24 am - Reply

    Good job, Irene. Great observances. I’m with you on #1. UGH. YIKES. ETC. I was sent to you via LinkedIn and believe I actually received something of value. Thank you.

  38. Sheri July 19, 2009 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    I was unfortunately just reminded of another thing that people do on Twitter that BUGS me: Some people pick a trending topic then send out a tweet full of unrelated garbage (ads, gimmicks, porno sites, etc.) with the trending topic tacked on the end. Their tweets have nothing at all to do with the trending topic, they just tack it on to get their tweets seen (often multiple times in a row with the same trending topic). Annoying!

    • Irene Koehler July 20, 2009 at 11:35 am - Reply

      Aboslutely! I call these folks “hashtag hijackers” and this practice is rampant and endlessly irritating.

  39. […] few days ago, my friend and social media maven Irene Koehler wrote a fantastic blog post entitled “11 Sure-Fire Ways to Get Me to Unfollow You on Twitter”.? After I laughed myself silly over #1 (you’ll see why), and smiled and nodded at all the […]

  40. CathyWebSavvyPR July 22, 2009 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    Irene, wish I’d seen this sooner. Just found it due to an RT form another twitter peep.

    #7 is one of the big deal breakers for me. I do want to know who you are and a bit about what you do. And I too am here to interact and engage with people. But, not everyone has the same reasons for using twitter. I think it’s all about balance.

    Really, to unfollow someone is not a crime, and to be unfollowed by soemone is not shameful. Itthe act of unfollowing is just saying that – I am looking for something different from what you are currently offering in my twitter stream.

    Yes, we all have egos, but at it’s best twitter is not a popularity contest. I don’t take it personally when someone unfollows me.

    Keep the balance!
    .-= CathyWebSavvyPR´s last blog ..Tips for Connecting the Social Media Dots =-.

    • Irene Koehler July 22, 2009 at 4:20 pm - Reply

      I’m glad you found your way here, Cathy, and I appreciate the feedback. As you know, I’m here for the same reasons and want to get to know people, not personas.

  41. Nhi H. July 24, 2009 at 12:29 am - Reply

    I agree with your list/points 150% ! Everything on your list is true and I’ve seen it all . I really liked your “interact with others” points. On my page and many of my friends [and many of whom who are NOT bots/spammers] i have the @ sign pretty much covering my profile. I love interacting with people and I think that others should too! After all , isn’t that why twitter is there ? Goodjob !

  42. Mike Lawson July 26, 2009 at 5:03 am - Reply

    Well, this was a great find on a Sunday morning for me. I’m a freelance writer and am contracted to write a small handbook on maximizing the use of Twitter in a business setting.

    The targeted audience is internet/network marketers wishing to develop a presence in the various social media venues. Aside from the standard “rules” I see mentioned here, several new ones appeared as well as ideas for applying twists from a business perspective.

    I personally use Twitter as a research tool as much as anything else. I often find new takes on old ideas from many of the tweets I get; providing fodder to write about. In light of that I have some pet peeves, I suppose:

    * I find people to follow using a tool that sorts them by category (according to the topics I am researching). It really whittles my stick to follow someone who says they are into “crm management,” for example, only to be spammed to death with offers for diet pills by them. That’s an unfollow,a block with two circles and a snap.

    * I also manage several Twitter accounts for businesses. In other words, I kinda take all of this pretty seriously. Like stated above, I seek quality over quantity every time. I may use a tool to gather “candidates” to follow, but I go through the list by hand and vet each one. So, bots and spammers have a short shelf-life around here anyway and are wasting their time (albeit a bit of mine as well).

    * I do a lot of re-tweets simply for the reason that my client base is quite varied. If I see something they may benefit from reading, I re-tweet that sucker. I do that for my health, as I suffer from MDD – motivational deficit disorder.(Being terminally lazy, I find that easier than writing a piece myself – why reinvent the wheel, eh?) In fact, I predict this very post to receive at least 4 tweets some time today.

    I’ll admit to being guilty of several Twitter crimes myself time to time; ie sending out a lot of ads and such. But I had to know first hand the effects of it to write about it. Yes, I’m the guy that sees the wet paint sign and touches the park bench just to see if it really is. What can I say?

    Really enjoyed the piece and the response you got from your readers as well. Be back to read more soon.


    .-= Mike Lawson´s last blog ..The Magic of Autoresponders and Email Marketing =-.

    • Irene Koehler July 26, 2009 at 1:03 pm - Reply

      Mike, Thanks so much for articulating your thoughts and your take on Twitter so well. There is no one “right” way to use Twitter or any other social media platform, for that matter, but this list was written with what *I* look for when connecting – or disconnecting – from people online.

  43. Mike Lawson July 26, 2009 at 6:06 pm - Reply

    Well, short of the long: your piece here helped me a lot in my research for some grass roots “don’t doits” on Twitter. I agree with all 11 of your initial recommendations and many of the others I saw here as well. I left pointed in several new directions for further research. Many thanks.

    .-= Mike Lawson´s last blog ..How to Leverage Targeted Traffic into Repeat Buyers =-.

  44. Barry Dalton September 10, 2009 at 1:12 pm - Reply

    Excellent list. I’d add this one to the list: The self-professed ‘guru’.

    But here’s a couple of twists on that I’m noticing as a sort of subversive way to that same end. Falls into your broadcasters category – #7. (could use opinions on this):

    1.tweeters actually retweeting themselves. Or every time someone retweets them, they retweet that retweet.

    2. it seems like a group of…(wannabes, coat tail riders are terms too strong) folks on the fringes of the established Twitter social media guru set fom whom I’m trying to learn (analysts, etc) are intentionally retweeting each other excessively on these topics. Then you check out their profile and their job/experience/etc provides no basis for expertise on the upon which they are tweeting. It appears conspiratorial but that may be too cynical.

    Am i misguided? Any thoughts? Thanks again for a great post!

    I think I need to reevaluate some of these follows as I’m not getting
    .-= Barry Dalton´s last blog ..Customer first? I say employees first =-.

    • Irene Koehler September 10, 2009 at 1:18 pm - Reply

      Great additions to the list! There will always be people who over-sell themselves in any field and social media is no different. It is just a little harder to drill down to real experience because it is all so new – for all of us!

  45. Deborah Smith September 16, 2009 at 11:30 am - Reply

    I wrote a very similar post a while ago. Two of my pet peeves. The “Compulsive Quoter” the guy who quotes everyone else, all the time and never has an original thing to say. Or, the “Stream clogger” the person who posts 10 posts one right after the other clogging up everyone’s time line.
    .-= Deborah Smith´s last blog ..The Social Media Mindset =-.

    • Irene Koehler September 16, 2009 at 11:33 am - Reply

      Oh yes, I can definitely relate to both of those pet peeves, Deborah! Great additions to the list.

  46. Saje Williams September 18, 2009 at 3:47 pm - Reply

    People are as likely to read what I’m thinking at any given time as what I’m doing. Occasionally I might mention a movie or TV show, or a book I’m reading, or I’ll mention that I’m back working on my own latest project, but I might tweet about nearly anything, seemingly at random–from politics to science to culture and society, history to philosophy or speculative fiction. My brain is a great randomizer and it’s like Forrest Gump says: “… You never know what you’ll get.”

    I’ll adapt my style to Twitter soon enough, I suspect.

    • Irene Koehler September 18, 2009 at 3:52 pm - Reply

      Is it you adapting your style to Twitter or your followers adapting to your style? You may find others who have similar “random” interests.

  47. Helen September 18, 2009 at 9:11 pm - Reply

    I had a good laugh at this because all these reasons you unfollow are reasons that I BLOCK! I decided when I joined Twitter that I didn’t want these unsavoury types even reading my tweets, so if I get a new follow, I always check them out. If they fit your criteria for unfollow, I block immediately. If they seem really interesting, I follow them back. If they seem like a real (normal) person, but nothing they’ve recently tweeted resonates, I just leave it be. Sometimes I go back and review the followers I don’t follow and see if I should change my mind. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.

  48. 09.17.09 C25K1.3 « Sharon McLeod September 19, 2009 at 8:32 am - Reply

    […] 11 Sure-Fire Ways to Get Me to Unfollow You on Twitter […]

  49. Alex Parr October 4, 2009 at 6:31 am - Reply

    That was an excellent article. I don’t know if I should add a comment because I think I have been a very naughty tweeter!

    I blip a lot – what fun, I have never been a DJ before and strange to relate I have made many friends this way and get many requests.

    I send out a lot of quotes which a lot of my followers really enjoy because they resonate with how they feel and it is very obvious by the amount of RTs I get.

    I use #hashtags for “newbies” as it helps them find topics that people are talking about.

    I love Twitter and I have made some great friends and if people don’t like how I tweet, well so be it, but I don’t see why fellow blippers, quoters and hashtaggers should feel guilty.

    I just think that every now and again, fellow tweeters take Twitter far too seriously.

    I’m now following you for some continued good advice and once again, thanks for an excellent article.

  50. Delaney Kirk January 2, 2010 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    I would add that if you follow me and I then check you out but you don’t have a bio, I probably won’t follow you in the first place as don’t see what we have in common.

    • Irene Koehler January 2, 2010 at 1:52 pm - Reply

      Delaney, this is an excellent and often overlooked point. These days, those that don’t take the time to post some information to their bio and a link to their blog/LinkedIn profile/etc, may look suspiciously like spammers. At a minimum, they don’t give us enough information to know if we’d like to connect.

  51. Sharel Omer January 2, 2010 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    I love it,you mentioned once that you follow all that follow you and then decide who not to follow, now we know who you are unfollowing and why 🙂

    great tips to know who not to follow.


  52. Marcelino February 11, 2010 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    This list made me laugh, you have a great way of writing. Thanks again for the advice. I have only one question about your point #5 about short links. I use tiny url because it saves on the number of characters. Are you saying they are misleading? I always test them and they seem to work but do they actually take readers to a different link than what was intended?

    Again thanks!!

  53. David Muruli February 22, 2010 at 3:29 pm - Reply

    Great article!!!! How about an article about LinkedIn? The recruiters can be annoying.

    • Irene Koehler February 22, 2010 at 3:43 pm - Reply

      I so agree with some of the contacts on LinkedIn which are really about “them” rather than “you.” I’m working on a post about Facebook, just might get to one on LinkedIn, too.

  54. uberVU - social comments April 27, 2010 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by irenekoehler: 11 Sure-Fire Ways to Get Me to Unfollow You on Twitter | Almost Savvy http://bit.ly/ilis6

  55. […] after all. Back in July, Irene Koehler from Almost Savvy wrote a post called (get this…) 11 Sure-Fire Ways to Get Me to Unfollow You on Twitter. I know, sounds familiar, right? Of course, my post shares an almost identical title (I went with […]

  56. […] 11 Sure-Fire Ways to Get Me to Unfollow You on Twitter | Almost Savvy. […]

  57. Pat Barone January 9, 2011 at 1:01 pm - Reply

    Great points. I get this one a lot: I mesireables following me. Like I menention something and I suddenly have 50 undtioned Lady Gaga and lots of porn hawkers started following. Or I mentioned something about losing weight (legitimately, with some intelligence, especially since people ask me questions and I’m an expert at this subject) and I’ve suddenly got a jillion (obviously autobot driven) followers talking about instantly zapping belly flab when everything I teach is SO NOT THIS QUICK FIX CRAP!!

    You’re savvy. Do you see any way around this? At this point, I just block… or report for spam… what’s best?

    Pat Barone, CPCC, PCC

    • Irene Koehler January 9, 2011 at 1:08 pm - Reply

      Pat, you are not alone. This happens to all of us. In the big picture, do you care which accounts are following you? Chances are very high that these are automated accounts, not real people actually managing the account. Not all of the accounts following others based on keywords, which is what you’re experiencing, would meet Twitter’s definition of spam. If they do, then definitely go ahead an report them. I personally don’t see much use to block accounts since my tweets are all public and can be seen even by those not on Twitter. Frustrating, I know, but there is so much value to be found on Twitter, I focus on those who are using it to connect and learn and ignore the rest.

  58. Janis Miller February 16, 2011 at 11:23 am - Reply

    Can I just say, “Ditto!”? There isn’t a point made in your post that I don’t agree with. The only thing I would add is profanity. Use a dictionary, seriously! 🙂

    Thank you Irene, for a great post. 🙂

  59. Christine Ordze March 16, 2011 at 8:41 am - Reply

    Very good post Irene! I’ve felt #5 and 10 several times and am hugely disappointed. A few I’ve unfollowed just because there content is misleading. On the other hand I’ve gained great knowledge and tips from those worthy of following. Although slow to start a year ago once I got it I’ve become a big fan of Twitter.

  60. Brian H. April 16, 2011 at 9:14 pm - Reply

    Great points. About the bots, porn stars and others who follow who are quite spammy, I do block them. Just don’t want them on my list.

    But with true conversational tweeps, I do my best to engage and be helpful. Those are the kind of people I want following me.

    • Irene Koehler April 16, 2011 at 10:11 pm - Reply

      I’m with you, Brian. I also try to be helpful and engage!

  61. Mireille April 16, 2011 at 10:14 pm - Reply

    The only one I don’t use is the @ symbol, which you say is one of the NO NO… not too sure why this is so important???? People who follow me get my tweets & my retweets, right? I use twitter mostly to get information & relate information, but am not too savvy on twitter, so possibly I’m missing an important facet of twitter.. May be you can explain when & why I should use @ and to whom.
    Another question: I find it time consuming. I see some people using tweetdeck or some other form to tweet. Went on those sites & couldn’t really understand????

    • Irene Koehler April 16, 2011 at 10:39 pm - Reply

      Hi Mireille. Tweetdeck and some of those other applications are used primarily by heavy Twitter users, many who are following a lot of people. It is one of many tools which make it easier to keep track of different groups of people more easily. If using Twitter.com is working fine for you, I wouldn’t worry about which tools others are using. It’s just preference.

      The @ symbol is extremely important if you want to reply to someone’s tweet or send a tweet that you want them to see. If you include @irenekoehler in your tweet, it will come directly to me in my ‘mentions’ – which is the Twitter equivalent of an inbox. Otherwise, I may never see that tweet that you wanted me to see.

      • Mireille April 17, 2011 at 11:48 am - Reply

        Thanks for the quick reply Irene. Love your post by the way. Very informative.

  62. Lizzie Gilbert June 15, 2011 at 10:53 am - Reply

    What are your thoughts on the frequency at which you tweet? How much is too much, and how often is just the right amount of content? Do you think it depends on the number of followers?
    great post!

  63. Philippa November 25, 2011 at 8:47 am - Reply

    Two and a half years later, and sadly this post is still as relevant as ever, if not moreso! When will people learn?!

  64. Danette Berndsen December 13, 2011 at 5:48 am - Reply

    Hi,Super post, Need to mark it on Digg

  65. solomon May 1, 2013 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    Nice post ma’m. I really find it frustrating
    Whenever I follow someone and I got an automated ‘DM’ direct message

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