What Your Zero Twitter Following Count Says About You

I check on my Twitter followers a few times a week. I scroll through my feed to see what conversations are happening, what content my Twitter community is sharing and to reply to other Twitter users who retweet or respond to my tweets.

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I also check to see who still follows me—and who isn’t anymore.

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With tools like who.unfollowed.me and Crowdfire, it doesn’t take long to figure this out. It’s intriguing to see who unfollows me because my content is no longer relevant to their interests or simply for social media strategy.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post, it’s important to many social media savvy people to always maintain a Twitter ratio where their follower count is much higher than their following count.

This tends to naturally happen even for the Twitter novice by simply not following back spam accounts.

But I came across a former follower of mine whose following count was a big fat zero.

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Now I know that this Twitter user didn’t have a zero following count when I followed them. I know that because they followed me first, and since I’m #teamfollowback, I chose to follow this user.

That means this Twitter account at one time had to have a following count of at least one.

Realistically, this Twitter user once followed dozens, if not hundreds, of accounts. You are more likely to be followed back if your profile has a well-sized following count. That’s because it shows that you take interest in the Twitter community and that you have interests in this world as many humans (not robots) do.

It was clear to me: This Twitter user had a sneaky strategy of following a bunch of Twitter users, then clearing their follower count to zero.

Why do Twitter users do this? Accounts like this imitate the behavior of celebrity accounts where they have thousands—if not millions—of followers but follow maybe a dozen or simply zero accounts in return.

In short, a Twitter account with lots of followers but a zero following count brands itself as being someone (or something) who is important and has many interesting things to say.

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I call this the Twitter Idol Complex.

A zero following count means that this Twitter user doesn’t see any tweets in their newsfeed except their own. Their only connection to the Twittersphere is by clicking the trending hashtags listed on the left or by typing something into the search box.

Simply, this Twitter only sees their Twitter use on Twitter.

What a zero following count on Twitter really says is that you are more concerned with your image than your connections. Your ego is more important that the conversations you could have to genuinely build your character.

A zero following Twitter count shows that you don’t care what others on Twitter are saying.

Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. Because actions speak volumes, a zero following count says that you don’t.

No need to worry. This strategy often fails, and for good reason.

Many Twitter users see through this strategy. How much fun is it to follow someone who doesn’t care what anyone has to say, even you?

So many will unfollow these ego accounts and their Twitter follower account once again dwindles.

We need to stop thinking of Twitter as a narcissistic strategy but as an opportunity for honest dialogue.

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We have a platform where customers can talk directly to businesses, professionals and enthusiasts can network with likeminded souls, communities can react to real issues in real time and everyone can have a voice in the conversation.

So let’s stop playing these silly games and just be friends.

What do you think of Twitter users with a zero following count? Share your opinions below or tweet me.


  1. I just started noticing this recently. Many are doing this overnight. One day they are following thousands and then the next day it’s zero. It seems common among those that have 50k followers or more.

  2. I’ve started to notice this recently, too. It’s not a game I can be bothered with and, unless I followed them first, in which case I’m probably still interested in what they have to say, I unfollow them.

  3. I actually googled this phenomenon to try to understand why some people do this. This blog post answered my question. I unfollow any account that has followed me and then unfollowed me making their account have a zero follow back. I use statusbrew for this function. I have also started taking note of the following count of an account before I follow back as well as the accounts tweet and retweet behavior. If the account is full of nothing but their own tweets I give it a pass. They are not interested in me or anyone else on Twitter, so why should I show an interest in them? I enjoy the Twitter engagement. Zero following is like talking to yourself. So, I say unfollow them and let them enjoy themselves alone.

  4. Well, my following counter has dropped to zero, and I didn’t unfollow anyone, for I’m using twitter to read other’s posts rather that being followed. And I’m wondering what the hell is going on.

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