When is it time to let a Twitter account go and press the unfollow button? Not as soon as you think—but immediately when it’s time.
I’m #teamfollowback. In fact, I’ve made my stance very clear in a previous blog post. So it probably comes off as a contradiction when I write about when you should unfollow a Twitter account.
I promise it’s not. Because it’s all about intention.
When you follow a Twitter user back, you’re showing that you want to form that online connection. You want to hear what they’re saying and you want to share your thoughts with them through the art of tweets, retweets and replies.
Sometimes, these connections fade. And that’s when you have to press unfollow.
But when should you unfollow a Twitter account? It’s not something you should do too hastily. My best advice is to give it time before you cut the cord. Because once you press unfollow—even if you follow back—the damage is already done.
Here’s the criteria I use before I part ways with a Twitter user:
Reason 1: The Twitter Account is Clearly Spam
Many readers probably already know this, so you can keep scrolling. But I think it’s worth mentioning because often it’s tricky to determine if the Twitter account is spam.
That’s because if you do an Internet search, a spam tweet is simply a tweet that’s not relevant to you. And that simply could be you following a Twitter user who wants to talk about something that’s not of interest to you.
In my opinion, a spam Twitter account is a user that is more interested in gaining a large following and getting users to click on clickbait articles or harmful links. In other words, they act more like a robot than a human.
So, how do I judge if a Twitter account is spam? The user usually has at least a few of these traits, if not all:
- No profile picture or a profile picture that’s a cartoon, stock image or close to being explicit
- No Twitter bio or a bio that doesn’t give much insight into the user as a person such as a generic phrase or a quote by someone else
- Retweets the same user over and over and over again
- The account’s agenda is to sell you more Twitter followers
- All of the account’s tweets link to clickbait or harmful links (don’t click!)
You’ll often find that you’re followed by multiple spam Twitter accounts at the same time with the same clickbait tweets. It’s just best not to follow them back because they have no interest in having a conversation with you, just a motive to shout at you.
Reason 2: The Twitter Account Unfollowed You
When a Twitter account unfollows you, the user is telling you that they are no longer want to read your tweets. Whether intentional or not, their unfollow is an invitation for you to unfollow them.
In this case, you should unfollow. The point of twitter is for online conversations. When a twitter user unfollows you, it’s like they taped your mouth shut but continue talking while expecting you to listen.
That doesn’t sound healthy to me.
Reason 3: The Twitter Account Never Followed You Back
Many social media experts often argue me on this reason. Celebrities and big brands aren’t supposed to follow back their fans. They’re supposed to have a big following and a small follow count to show just how relevant they are.
How dumb does that sound?
Oh yeah, and Britney Spears.
Because these brands (and celebrity) get it. If you truly want to be heard, you also have to want to listen.
When someone doesn’t follow you back—no matter how popular that Twitter user is—it’s like you’re standing in a sea of people listening to their performance on stage.
Isn’t that why we go to concerts and conferences?
My advice is to unfollow this Twitter user. You are just a number to them, not a name.
Reason 4: The Twitter Account Never Tweets Anymore
On social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook, it’s okay if you don’t post updates regularly. These channels are about building networks and “staying in touch.” If nothing new has happened in your life, we’re more apologetic that you haven’t made some noise about it.
Twitter is different. Because this platform is about having conversations, dialogue needs to happen more frequently.
So if a Twitter user doesn’t tweet, it’s likely that they’ve abandoned their account.
There are many free tools out there like Crowdfire to see which accounts in your follow count are currently inactive. I’m forgiving if a Twitter user has been inactive for a month because this could be due to life’s circumstances (travel, illness, work, life, etc.). Once a Twitter account has hit inactive for two months, I unfollow that user.
Unless, of course, I know them in real life.
If you think two months is too soon to unfollow, set a timeframe that’s reasonable to you. In this instance, it’s better to give the user more time before cutting the cord.
Reason 5: The Twitter Account Only Retweets
Retweet is a great tool. It’s an opportunity to shine light on someone’s tweet to your following and to show that you value what others are saying.
I’m pretty bad about not doing this on my Twitter account.
But too much retweeting isn’t a good thing. If a Twitter account never tweets an original thought, then it’s like they don’t have an opinion on anything.
That’s clearly not human.
Twitter is about having the chance to have a voice, not let others be your voice. If a Twitter user only retweets, they’re letting others be their voice in their virtual conversation with you. And frankly, that’s a waste of your time.
Do you agree? When is it time to stop following a Twitter account? Share your opinion in the comments section below.