Why it may be time to purge your Twitter account

What is your following strategy on Twitter?

It’s kind of a funny question but if you’ve been on Twitter for any length of time this question has crossed your mind. Most people start out on Twitter by following friends or colleagues that they already know and soon they branch out to people within their geographic region.

The next logical step is to consider people within your niche. Maybe you’re a realtor? Or maybe you’re a doctor? Maybe you start to connect with people who share similar interests by identifying individuals based on their job description or certain characteristics within their Twitter bio.

Beyond that you might run across people that have tweeted interesting posts and therefore you follow them as well. Or maybe you follow someone based on a “Follow Friday” recommendation. And then there are random people that you run across on Twitter that you find interesting and you start to follow them too.

Lately I’ve taken a more aggressive approach to following people on Twitter. I’ve used the search functionality within Twitter to identify people that I might find interesting whether they are in my niche or in adjacent industries. I’ve even used some software to automate the process. Don’t hate me for that – it’s my job to test this stuff out.

At the end the day I was following nearly 1500 people. It has simply become overwhelming and has ultimately decreased the value in terms of my experience interacting with people on Twitter on a daily basis. I just couldn’t find the meaningful discussions through all the noise.

Maybe you’ve heard the common assumption that we really can’t follow more than 150 people and still maintain meaningful relationships on social media platforms. I think that is for the most part pretty true.

And so today I am embarking on a kind of purging of my Twitter account. I am unfollowing people by the masses. People that don’t interact with me or people that I find do not add much value to the conversation. It’s not that big of a deal – we’re only talking about roughly 1,350 people, not tens or hundreds of thousands of people.

I think that when this process is complete I’ll have a much more solid set of people that I follow that I find interesting, not only locally but also within my niche.

I think it’s good every now and then to analyze the people that you are talking with online and consider the quality of conversations you’re having on a daily basis.

If you find that your experience on Twitter and other social media platforms is waning, I encourage you to do the same.

Many before me have taken the same stance and discovered that the overall quality of their daily social media experience has improved. In fact, you’ll probably develop deeper relationships with the people you do follow and find a stronger voice within your market.

What are your thoughts?

BTW, I “wrote” this post using the Dragon Dictation iPhone App. I highly recommend it if you prefer to talk rather than type.

Please leave a comment below or on Twitter @steinarknutsen.


  • Aesaathoff

    This makes sense to me’Steinar!

  • Lewis Nelson

    I have this same problem so I started using lists to group people by topic and unfollowed people I didn’t want in my main feed. Periodically I will just view a list if I’m just interested in say.. seeing what’s going on in Cville. The beauty of lists is that you can add people without actually ‘following’ them.

  • Yes, lists are very handy and I use them too.

  • I prune it about every three months.  If I find that I’m visually skipping over what someone writes (because the signal to noise is high or my interests have shifted) then I unfollow.  I also only post about 1/3 of what I think of posting to avoid polluting other people’s feeds with ill-conceived ideas.  Obviously I’m less stringent when it comes to blog comments.  🙂

  • That sounds like a Best Practice others could adopt as well. Thanks for sharing!

    … Sent from my iPhone

  • Ugh… I used a software a few months back as well. I got me some followers all right. But just like you, I totally became disengaged on Twitter. I’d been checking it many times/day until then. Now I’m lucky to check Twitter once/day. I purged 200 last week. Need to purge another 1,000. Glad I’m not the only one!