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How to get unfollowed by me on Twitter

Sometimes I forget that not everybody in the world spends their days online, and that some of you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about when I say that I tweeted something or why I sometimes put an @ in front of somebody’s name.  So before I move on to the subject at hand – how to get thrown off of my twitter list – here’s a brief explanation of twitter.

Twitter, briefly (natch)

Sending a tweet is kind of like sending a text, but anybody can see it, and probably will see it if they’re one of your “followers”.  Sound cult-like?  It is.  It’s a time-sucking cult, but it can be a lot of fun and it’s the best way to find links to interesting stuff online, and keep up with your friends, whether real or online.  It’s also fun to watch people try to say something poetic, profound, or detailed in under 140 characters.

You go to Twitter.com and get your own Twitter name.  Then you start following people.  You can start with me!  I’m SelfishMom.  Once you’re following me, you can look at the people I’m following and follow some of them.  And then all of the people you follow will start showing up in your Twitter home page, with their 140-character-and-under tweets.

Sounds simple, yes?  It is.  And highly addictive.  But I’ll let you discover that for yourself.  Some tips: putting @ directly in front of someone’s Twitter name will pretty much ensure that they see it (it goes to a special page or column), but everyone else will also.  Putting a D then a space then their Twitter name means that they will be the only one to see it (unless they decide to share it, that is, so be careful).

Once you become addicted and follow so many people that it becomes overwhelming, you can sort things out using an application like TweetDeck.

Pissing me off on Twitter

I follow almost 2000 people.  I don’t actually follow everything they all say.  To do that I would have to give up sleeping, bathing, eating, working, blogging, and spending time with my family.  And there are at least two things in that list that I don’t want to give up.  No, I regularly follow about 50 real people, plus a bunch of celebrities who entertain me when I’m bored and never answer my tweets, even though I just know we could be best friends if only you would give me a chance, Paris.  So why am I following almost 2000 people?  Because I follow back anybody who follows me, unless their Twitter picture has a penis or vagina in it (yes, seriously).  And I will check on you now and then to see if you’re tweeting anything interesting, and if you say enough interesting things you will gradually become one of the small number that I follow regularly.  [UPDATE from 3/17/10: Someone just called me out (nicely) for not following them, even though they follow me.  I have twice and many followers now as when I wrote this and following everyone just doesn't seem to make sense any more.  I do try to periodically go through my conversations and follow anyone I actually talk to, though.  If you're following me and I'm not following you - and you care - just shoot me a tweet and I'll fix that!]

But doing any of the following will get you unfollowed immediately:

  • Participate in Twitter quizzes all day, where your entire Twitter stream consists of tweets like:

bacon #dumbquiz

Shakespeer #dumbquiz

Amidinijad #dumbquiz

space shuttle columbia #dumbquiz

eqador #dumbquiz

  • Sp@m me.  This is when you write to @SelfishMom trying to sell me something or trying to get me to go to your site when it has nothing to do with my interests.  When you @ me it goes to a special column that I pay special attention to.  When it’s spam I unfollow you immediately.  If it’s especially inappropriate, like the UK Pharmacy that wanted me to check out a weight loss drug that might make me shit my pants, I share it with everybody and embarrass you.  I don’t mind you trying to sell your stuff or get traffic to your site with normal tweets, everybody does that.  But don’t send your crap directly to me.
  • Direct Message me if I don’t know you and your message doesn’t need to be private.  A lot of people probably wouldn’t agree with me on this one, but I don’t give a shit.  When I’m going to be away from my computer for a while I sometimes have my Direct Messages texted to me.  If you’re bothering me with stupid stuff that could wait, I’m going to unfollow you.
  • Tweet inspirational quotes all day.  If that’s your thing, if that’s what you do, great.  Have fun.  But there seem to be a lot of you, and I don’t want to hear it.
  • Refer to your religion in just about every tweet.  If I started every tweet with “Since I’m an atheist I…” or “Being an atheist is great because…” or “As an atheist this really inspired me:” then I would expect people to unfollow me too.  Some tweets about religion are to be expected, but if it consumes all of your tweets, you’re just not interesting enough to follow.
  • Tweet about conservative politics all day.  Not interested.  I read the NYPost to keep abreast of what the nutty section of the right is doing.  Just like religion above, some tweets are to be expected.  But if you’ve decided that you’re Rush’s personal mouthpiece on Twitter, sayonara.

Twitter’s like any other community: full of nutjobs, blowhards, popular kids, nerds, bullies, wannabes, and then a whole big bunch of (relatively) normal people.  I don’t want to know which one you think I am, but I do want you to follow me, and I’ll try not to do any of the above.

Originally posted on Selfish MomAll opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.

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15 Responses to “How to get unfollowed by me on Twitter”

  1. Loukia on June 19th, 2009 10:41 am
    1

    Great post… haha! Love it. I don’t like when people send me direct messages to say “Thanks for following me!” Like, that is not necessary. I like DM for more private stuff, like sharing email addresses, etc.
    Now, happy tweeting!

    From,

    @MrsLoulou ;)

  2. Amy on June 19th, 2009 10:59 am
    2

    @Loukia – I know, I don’t understand why people use those auto-follow services. Then you end up following BritneyFuckVids.

  3. Toni on June 19th, 2009 11:09 am
    3

    Twitter hasn’t won me over, and in fact the opposite, to be honest. Maybe it does work better for people who are online more often — though I think I’m online a lot, compared to some. Honestly I find the vast majority of what people tweet to be really useless.
    Or, there’s just too much of it. I’m working, I’m already doing something else online, I just can’t keep reading all those tweets. I think what you’re doing with Twitter is great for people in the mom-world, and other people are tweeting on their specific subjects and for people following those, for a reason, that’s great. (though I find I can’t keep up with those, even.) But the people who spend all day just tweeting what they’re doing (“I went to the store, got snacks!” “was going to watch a movie, nothing on!”), yeesh, I just don’t have time to read that all day long. Nor, truthfully, do I have much desire to do so, no matter who it is. :)
    I think Twitter’s just not for me. I keep the account so I can use it, when wanted/needed, but to be candid I rarely look at it.

  4. Amy on June 19th, 2009 11:16 am
    4

    @Toni – Oh yeah, that’s another one I should have added, the people who just report all day on what they’re doing, with no context, no attempt at humor, nothing. Just “I ate a muffin.” What kind of muffin? Was it good? Did you not want to eat it because you’re on a diet? Better than nothing.

    The way you feel about Twitter, I feel that way about Facebook. Have the account, hardly ever use it.

  5. Nadine on June 19th, 2009 1:39 pm
    5

    Amen to that!

  6. ab on June 19th, 2009 1:57 pm
    6

    I think all of it is starting to wear on me. It just ends up being another thing on my to do list…I don’t seem to get my email answered or phonecalls returned much less update my Facebook status, tweet about the minutia of my life and accept imaginary plants and cocktails from people. I like following you though ;)

  7. Amy on June 19th, 2009 2:53 pm
    7

    @ab@ab – I hear that. If you don’t enjoy it or at least get something useful from it then there’s no point.

    All of the quizzes, getting-to-know you crap, snowballs, flowers, etc. etc. etc. is what drives me crazy about Facebook. That crap is starting to creep into Twitter very slowly, and I really hope it doesn’t take.

  8. Cyndi on June 19th, 2009 6:33 pm
    8

    @muchmorethanmom

    i so agree! I do love me a good quote though, so I stick with those folks as long as they also post other items of interest.

    Until I read the comment above from @Loulda I thought BritneyFuckVids was personally stalking me. My bio used to say “bookwhore” as a joke because I love books. I thought maybe that was why I was getting lots of skanks. But I changed it and they still keep coming back!

    I hate DM’s. I think they should do away with it altogether. Nothing good ever comes from there. If we want to talk outside of twitter we can make arrangements to e-mail or whatever.

    I did not know about the D @muchmorethanmom tip, so thanks for sharng!

    I agree with the vast majority of your post, especially how addicting it is. I tried Tweetdeck when I first started and it was too overwhelming but maybe I’ll give it another shot now that I’m following so many more people and have some clue about what I’m doing. It is SO addicting and often does lead to severe neglect of duties here at home. :)

  9. Cyndi on June 19th, 2009 6:36 pm
    9

    @Amy

    LOL – I thought of another. Those that tweet about how many followers they have. Those get removed from my stream without exception. Who gives a crap??!!

    @muchmorethanmom

  10. Amy on June 19th, 2009 6:43 pm
    10

    @Cyndi – Oh I know! Especially the ones who tweet “Follow @suchandsuch – he follows back!” Or links to one of those groups where you follow everyone in the group and they all follow you back. It’s like a co-ed version of let’s see whose is bigger.

  11. Toni on June 19th, 2009 10:13 pm
    11

    See, I love Facebook though. Well, love is a strong word. Mostly it’s just been amazing for putting me back in touch with college people I’d completely lost track of, and these were some great people. I just ignore all the games. If you do that enough, just keep “hiding” all the quizzes on your FB new stream, they go away.

  12. Erin Hill on June 23rd, 2009 12:16 am
    12

    I just joined Twitter but can relate to all that you said about “unfollowing” someone. I think spammers should be banned or at least tagged somehow so we know who they are. And the DMers drive me nuts and make me assume they are spammers from the get go. But it is addictive!

  13. Procrastination sucks | Selfish Mom on June 29th, 2009 12:14 pm
    13

    [...] posted on Selfish Mom.  All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted.  Please [...]

  14. Amy on July 5th, 2009 2:49 pm
    14

    Ugh. Just spent some time cleaning up my account. Found many new reasons to unfollow, including: having zero updates or no updates in more than a month, only tweeting about how to get more followers, only RTing and never posting anything original, never tweeting in English, only tweeting about sex, only tweeting in all caps, having the words “semen” or “horny” in your twitter name, showing any body part in your photo normally covered by a non-thong bikini (or a Speedo if you’re a guy), or just plain old tweeting exclusively about subjects that don’t interest me.

  15. adiaha on August 5th, 2009 11:43 pm
    15

    I love BritneyFuckVids! She is my friend and has lots to contribute to my stream of followers…..