This is an article about declaring bankruptcy on Twitter. Not the other kind. Act accordingly.

Five years ago, the maximum number of starred emails I allowed in my Gmail inbox was 100. Over time, that has creeped up.

And up.

Now, I regularly work hard to keep the number of unread or starred messages staring at me under 500. Any productivity expert would call it a sad, sad state of affairs.

On Twitter, things aren’t much brighter.

I used to think I needed to follow less than 100 people to truly stay engaged. I want to know what my followers are doing, I said to myself. I simply can’t really know them if I have too many, I reasoned! But then my rationale softened, and my numbers rose along with it. When I realized I was following 700 people a few weeks back, I knew it was time to do something. So, like a normal Twitter user, I tried to edit down my following list. I tried hard. I’d unfollow ten people, twelve people even, and then feel badly about it and follow them back all over again. I clearly needed to do something more drastic.

And so I did.

As a birthday present to myself this week, I declared Twitter bankruptcy. And I think you should to.

What is Twitter Bankruptcy

Like regular bankruptcy, Twitter bankruptcy comes with a resigned feeling of giving up because you feel you have to.

For me, I realized I had to when I started avoiding my main timeline. You know, the one where you Tweet. Contrary to popular belief, I proved once and for all that you can still be a very active Twitter user for a few weeks while almost entirely ignoring your overloaded timeline.


I hid myself in my lists (I have about 50 聽20, but it feels like 50!) and @reply streams, sleeping as I avoided the panic-inducing influx of everyone writing clever things I wanted to read constantly.

But, as with all “regular” bankruptcies, declaring bankruptcy is also an act of hope. Hope for something better. A clean slate. Square one. I wanted my timeline back, and declaring Twitter bankruptcy offered me the glimmer of hope.

How to Declare Bankruptcy On Twitter

You, too (!), can declare Twitter bankruptcy in 3 simple steps. Ready?

  1. Stop following everyone. Everyone. Preferably, you make yourself manually unfollow the vast majority of the folks (as I did) so you can remind yourself of all the interesting, smart, witty people you were actually following that you forgot all about.
  2. As you unfollow, make sure to keep a list of the folks that you will want to hurry up and follow again.
  3. Get your numbers to zero, and then stop. Breathe. Take an hour, or a day (or two, like I did). Take a screenshot while you’re at it.
Do you need a second look at that?
I think I do.
What Happens After Twitter Bankruptcy
After bankruptcy, you’ll love Twitter more than ever. You’ll see things with new eyes. You’ll remind yourself of all the awesome people you forgot were right there, saying witty, snarky, and funny things at all moments of the day.
And you’ll want to follow them (some of them) back.
Just like I do.
Tomorrow, I’ll be refollowing my favorite followers once again, and live-tweeting as I do so. I can’t wait. (It’s my birthday present to myself, after all.)

Here’s a preview of the folks I’ll be live-tweeting about tomorrow — my “Top 30”

P.S. So would you consider declaring Twitter bankruptcy?




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