Why I Unfollowed You

Try these strategies to lose followers and waste your time on Twitter.

1) Have no name, photo, bio, or website.

Avoid looking like a real person at all, in fact. If you arbitrarily capitalize and ignore the 140 character limit, you can look even more like a robot.

These are at the top of your profile. The only things I know about you are your profile info and your last 20 tweets (last 4 or 5 if you don’t convince me to scroll down). That’s not much time to grab my attention and sell yourself to me. Don’t waste that precious “above the fold” space.

2) Follow 3,000 people before you bother updating.

This goes back to number 1. Bot-like behavior is definitely appreciated. It’s even better if you follow completely disparate people, like you just grabbed all the users off the public timeline for an hour.

If you have no followers and no updates, there’s no compelling reason to think you actually listen to any of those followers.  When you follow thousands of people, you’re devaluing every one of them. Yeah, there are some broadcasters who make a point to follow most of their followers, but getting @chrisbrogan’s attention is nearly impossible.

3) Never reply to or retweet anyone.

Make a point to ignore everyone you follow, especially if you follow thousands of people (see #2). If people think you’re listening to them, it gives them power over you.

If you think of Twitter as a one-way medium, you’re missing out. Interact with people and have conversations, or you’re slightly less interesting than a radio DJ. At least they take requests sometimes. Yeah there are broadcasters, @nytimes comes to mind, but if you think you’re the New York Times, you’re too delusional for me to care, anyway.

If you’re lucky, I’ll see 7 or 8 posts at the top of your profile. If none of those are replies, you might as well not not have any. Keep the dialog going.

4) Include Your URL in Every Tweet.

The two best uses of Twitter are to promote your own stuff and to drive up your Google rankings. Make sure every tweet has a link to you!

I will unfollow with extreme prejudice if I think your only goal is to drive people to your site. Twitter is not push marketing. Twitter is a community and a network. I will not visit your site, and Twitter puts rel="nofollow" on links. It’s a waste of time and its annoying.

Don’t share the same link over and over, don’t only link your blog, and don’t link yourself constantly. Do share good, new content, whether it’s yours or not.

5) Definitely Be Inconsistent.

Don’t post anything for two weeks, then dump seven or eight tweets in the space of an hour. It’s your job to keep your followers on their toes.

Whether I’m following you for fun (@dr_crane) or for information (@mashable) resist the urges flood and to go dark. Don’t be afraid to go to that meeting, take that long weekend away from the computer, or whatever it is that you do, but please don’t fill my entire stream when you come back. You really should keep some of those little tidbits in your head.

If you honestly discover 6 great things in 10 minutes, and want to share them all, then go for it. I’ll thank you. Short of that, try to rate-limit yourself.

That’s why I unfollowed you.

Why would you unfollow somone?

Update: #6. You sent an automated Direct Message after I followed you.

If I want bots, I’ll follow @nytimes. I don’t really care if it’s a “thank you” or a pitch: bots are annoying. Chris Brogan is right.