Social Enterprise

Seven ways to get unfollowed on Twitter

Steve Ranger's Notebook: Want to keep your Twitter friends happy? Then avoid these pitfalls...

...if you don't go off-topic every so often, people will conclude that you are some kind of robot and ditch you anyway.

4. You ignore people

People like Twitter because it brings them closer to people who they might never actually meet in real life. But it shouldn't all be one-way traffic - Twitter is about engagement, not broadcast. So if you don't respond to people, they'll dump you.

As for following people back, this is a trickier one - once you've got more than a few hundred followers, you can't possibly follow everyone.

Well, you can, but it becomes impossible to read any tweets because your timeline will be updating too fast. Trying to read it would be like trying to read every number plate on cars as they go past on the M25. But if you don't follow people back, they tend to get a bit annoyed, especially if they use tools like Friend or Follow to find out who is actually following them back. A balancing act - like so much on Twitter.

5. You plug too much stuff into your feed

There are loads of ways of analysing Twitter data but do it privately unless you have something profound to say about what you've learned. So if your Klout score has collapsed because you stopped tweeting about eating flapjacks - unlikely - then tweet it.

Otherwise, crunch your numbers quietly. Also, beware of plugging too many third-party apps into Twitter. You may listen to Achy Breaky Heart and Remember You're A Womble every day but do you really want Spotify to share that with the world? Hmm, thought not.

6 .You're still an egg after two years on Twitter

Really, what are you hiding? If you haven't managed to crack out of the Twitter newbie egg by now, why are you bothering? It's not that eggs are untrustworthy as such but your unwillingness to engage with the rest of Twitterverse by showing your face suggests a love of privacy that is web 1.0.

Unless of course you are an egg, in which case the question is, how are you sending tweets? Morse code through the shell? Well done, you.

7. Ostentatious thank-you RTs

OK, so we all know that Twitter is basically a playground for gigantic egos. That's fine but some tweeters have raised self-promotion to a teeth-grindingly embarrassing art form. In particular, the ostentatious thank-you retweet, where someone has praised your blog, product or haircut and you just have to reshare it with the world. You may think you are just sharing the love, but really it's just cringe-worthy.

Also, it's entertaining to see some back-and-forth debate on Twitter - but watching you share a private joke over a dozen tweets is a bit like overhearing a young couple exchanging sweet nothings. At first it's fun and then it becomes incredibly irritating. Take it offline.

Steve Ranger is the editor of and has been writing about the impact of technology on people, culture and business for over a decade. You can find him tweeting @steveranger.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think by posting a reader comment below.

About Steve Ranger

Steve Ranger is the UK editor of TechRepublic, and has been writing about the impact of technology on people, business and culture for more than a decade. Before joining TechRepublic he was the editor of

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