If you’ve been using Twitter for any length of time, chances are that you’ve been unfollowed at least once – probably several times, if you have anything meaningful to say. When we discover that we’ve been unfollowed, a variety of conflicting emotions might wash over us; anger, resentment, sadness – but most often, confusion. On Twitter, people rarely drop you a line to say “I’m unfollowing you because…”
Despite the lack of explanation, there are definitely reasons why people get unfollowed on Twitter. Here are five of the biggest reasons why people get unfollowed:
► 1. You aren’t saying anything.
People still look at the ratio of followers / follows as an indicator of how healthy a Twitter account is. For that reason, lots of Twitter users try to keep the number of people they follow down to a minimum of people who actually engage on Twitter. The various Twitter “grading” systems out there to help identify meaningless or spammy Twitter accounts compounds the process. For that reason, if you’re not actually saying anything on Twitter for weeks or even months at a time, you shouldn’t be surprised to find that when you return to the microblogging platform, you’ve shed a few followers.
► 2. You’re inflammatory or otherwise offensive.
There’s nothing wrong with having an opinion, and usually nothing wrong with having a strong one. But when your tweets are intentionally inflammatory or otherwise offensive to the people who follow you, you shouldn’t be surprised to find that they’ve chosen to stop listening to you. On Twitter, you can cut off a person’s conversation with the click of a button, and for many people, that’s an empowering ability. If you’re the kind of person who tweets about hot button issues (religion, politics, etc), you shouldn’t be surprised to find that your more incisive tweets have a tendency to get you unfollowed. If you’re particularly offensive (racist, homophobic, abusive, etc), you might even find users making a complaint to Twitter about you – which could result in your account getting shut down.
► 3. You’re boring.
The contents of your stomach might seem to be especially interesting to you – and let’s be frank – for a very select few of us, the contents of our stomachs actually are interesting. For the rest of us, though, constantly tweeting mundane details about your life that don’t really matter to anyone isn’t a great way to get exciting, engaging people to follow you. It’s one thing to sprinkle a bit of mundane details into a timeline that also touches on more exciting topics, but if the only thing you’re discussing is those trivialities, you shouldn’t be at all surprised to find that your followers are choosing to move on and listen to someone who actually talks about something exciting once in a while.
► 4. You’re self-centered.
Nobody likes a person who only talks about themselves – and this is just as true on Twitter as it is anywhere else. If every single one of your tweets revolves around you, you really shouldn’t expect that anyone who doesn’t also revolve around you would want to read them – unless you’re somebody famous, which, sadly, you’re probably not. There are Twitter applications out there that will analyze your timeline actually tell you how often you use certain words in your tweets – if you find a lot of people following and then quickly unfollowing you, you might want to try out an app like this and see how many of your tweets contain the words “I,” “Me”, or “My.”
► 5. Your followers are actually robots.
Despite Twitter’s best attempts to prevent it, there are millions of spammy “robotic” Twitter accounts out there who follow people in the hopes that those people will follow them back. After a short amount of time, if you haven’t followed them back, they’ll unfollow you to keep their follower ratio healthy. Don’t take it personally – robots can just be assholes like that.
This is from a great old post Twittown has removed from their blog, though you can still find it archived here. I contacted them with tips about how they might resurrect it, or let others use it, but never heard back from them.