Why I Unfollowed You. The Top 10 Reasons I’m Not Following You on Twitter.

When I first declared Twitter bankruptcy last week, I didn’t tell anyone.

And, appropriately, no one noticed.

For two days, it was the best thing I ever did that no one knew I had ever done.

Or something like that.

In fact, it took 48 hours for one of my former 700 Twitter followers to notice I wasn’t following them (or anyone) on Twitter anymore. In semi-illiterate outrage, he shrieked at me via @reply, “WHY u NOT FOLOWING ANYONE no MORE?!?!”

Or at least that’s how I remember it.

If that didn’t make me want to immediately follow him again, I’m not sure anything would.

But then other followers I cared about started noticing, perhaps concerned I had been the victim of a mass unfollowing hack job that left me teary and breathless.

And, I realized I needed to give an explanation.

So I did. (Go here to read about why declaring Twitter bankruptcy was one of the smartest things I ever did.)

But then, after I refollowed a bunch of my followers, found some new ones, and told you about my favorite 30 people to follow on Twitter,  I still got questions.

Questions like: Why didn’t you re-follow XXX? Why won’t you keep following me? Does not following me you don’t like me?

Since the act of unfollowing someone can cause feelings of anger, hurt, betrayal (insert any post-breakup adjective here), I want to come clean with the top ten reasons that I unfollow people on Twitter.

(And thus the top 10 reasons I may not have refollowed you post Twitter-bankruptcy.)

The Top Ten Reasons I Unfollowed You.  (And You.)

10. I never meant to follow you in the first place. (In 200X, I accidentally followed you because I thought you were someone else or I clicked the wrong button. It’s take me years to work up the courage to not feel bad and unfollow you. But now I have. And this is the result.)

9. Your tweets are ugly not aesthetically pleasing. Your text is less literate prose than adolescent thumb twitches. Plus, you use capital letters like @oprah. RU4REAL, R2D2?

8. You don’t tweet. I do not enjoy following someone on the hope that sometime, maybe-just-maybe, in the next six months they may or may not send a tweet.

7. You tweet too much. (Yes, I said it.) If you tweet once (or thrice) about giving your dog a bath, I will keep following you even if I don’t particularly love dogs and don’t find the particular activity (dog bathing) very interesting. If you tweet the play-by-play of your dog’s shower, I will unfollow you. This does not apply if you are in an interesting place doing (or experiencing) an interesting thing, like @acarvin or @nickkristof, who almost always are in interesting places doing interesting things.

6. You tweetstream is a monologue, not a conversation. You never respond to anyone’s @replies, and as your followers we can’t get a word in edgewise.

5. It’s a mistake. In actuality, I think I’m following you, I mean to be following you, or I don’t realize I’m not following you. For clarity, we can say it’s almost as if I’m not not unfollowing you!

4. Your tweetstream is a unending stream of inside jokes I don’t understand involving people I don’t know. (If these people are famous, it is even more annoying.) As a follower, I need at least some of your content to be for the general public (me) to justify following you.

3. You’re not who I thought you were. Your bio, “fan of organic composting!” does not accurately reflect the fact that you only tweets about 49ers games and cheddar cheese.

2. We no longer have shared interests. I’ve changed. You’ve changed. Like Tom and Nicole, we’re just no longer a good match.

1. It’s not you, it’s me. (No, really).

And those, folks, are the Top Ten Reasons I (or anyone) unfollows you (and others) on Twitter.


In my blog post “How to Declare (Twitter) Bankruptcy“, I explained what I did, why I did it, and why you should do it, too.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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3 thoughts on “Why I Unfollowed You. The Top 10 Reasons I’m Not Following You on Twitter.

  1. I’m not sure I understand the grand “UN-following” any better now than the first time you explained it. But hey, it is your Twitter stream and you weren’t following me before anyway. The reason I can’t understand is because I enjoy my cluttered stream so much. I don’t follow everyone back by any means and I don’t use any automated Twitter apps or search terms to follow people. But if you are a real living person (as opposed to a bot) and your stream includes some interaction with other tweeps, then chances are I’ll follow. Even if you tweet too much, like @hardlynormal some days, or even if I don’t know who’s playing the 49ers, or I don’t get your jokes. Or even if i don’t want to get rich online.

    The thing I love about following thousands of people is the stream. It’s alive, it speaks, it roars, it races. Sometimes it’s like a raging river. Blink and you’ve missed some of the most amazing flotsam ever to grace the internet. Some nights I follow #Tworship \o/ , but I don’t use a list or Twitter search to follow that particular branch of the stream – it’s more fun to me to see their tweets scroll by mixed in with all my other tweeps. Anyway, good luck with the “re” following. Me, I’m just gonna let the stream wash over me. Cheers.

  2. Hi Claire,
    I don’t know if you were following me before, and I don’t know if you’re following me now. But I think it took a lot of courage in the Twitter culture to do what you’ve done, so good for you. Early on I felt like I should only follow those whose content I really wanted, but eventually I got sucked into following nearly every (real) person that followed me, no matter how irrelevant their content was to me. Sometimes I wish I could go back, but I’m too afraid of hurting the feelings of dozens of people I’ve never met and never will.

    Honestly, I’m not normally a ‘pleaser’, but for some reason Twitter has created a culture of guilt-induced reciprocity for following, and I’ve bought in. Stay strong. 🙂

    PS. I’m reading ‘Twitter for Good’ right now. Currently reading about W (Write). Enjoying this tremendously.

  3. Hee hee hee, yes we noticed!! I read your twitter bankruptcy post from my mobile phone, then to check it all out, I went to your profile to see the 30 lucky people who got followed. It all happened in the parking lot of my daughter’s dance studio, where I spend lots of time and where I used to read actual books before having the opportunity to tweet!! And I don’t expect you to follow me although fortunately I don’t think I commit most of the bad moves on Twitter you list above ….. and harkening back to your Guilleaubeau (?) post, it would be desperate-sounding to ask, wouldn’t it?

    Hope you had a great birthday!!