Eight reasons why I'll unfollow you on Twitter

Don Reisinger originally wanted to follow everyone who followed him on the microblogging service. But now, he realizes why it's a bad idea.

I've finally come to the conclusion that Twitter can be annoying. In a big way.

See, the problem is, I decided not too long ago that following everyone who followed me on the microblogging service was in my best interest. I reasoned that doing so was good for the entire community.

Don't clog up my Twitter feed.

In recent weeks, however, I've realized that there are some reasons why, even with my decree in place, I just can't justify following some folks.

I'll unfollow you if:

You follow me merely because I'll follow you. I've found that as soon as I wrote the column saying that I'll follow everyone who follows me, I was followed by a bunch of people who have schemes to increase their follower count. I was directed to a site by one of these people, proving it.

The person wrote on his blog that if you follow all the people on his follower list, you would be able to increase your follower count substantially. I did a little digging and found that many (almost 25 people) were using this technique to weasel their way into this list from Twitterholic of the top 1,000 most followed people.

Regardless of whether this technique of gaining Twitter notoriety is acceptable, I believe that we should all add followers the right way, through compelling content and similar interests. Using an automated process games the system, and I don't appreciate it.

You're a company that doesn't contribute to the community. I follow some companies on Twitter, but recently I've noticed that some firms (I'm looking at you, Starbucks) use their Twitter profile only to market their products.

I understand that Twitter can be a fine marketing tool, but as a user who is constantly looking for something worth a look, seeing that your company was selected as one of the Top 10 coffee shop chains in Seattle doesn't appeal to me. In fact, it wastes my time. More importantly, it prevents better content from getting through. Why not tweet about something more behind-the-scenes?

You're a music lover (to a fault). I can't tell you how many times my Twitter stream has been filled with tweets from users filling me in on the songs they're listening to. Not only is it annoying, but it pushes real content off the first page of my stream. I can understand if it happens every once in a while, but once I'm inundated with tracks multiple times in a couple hours, I will unfollow you.

You're an adult film star. Sorry, but I don't need to know what's happening when you're "on set" in your latest flick. I also don't need to hear about all the things you've done in your latest films. Call me old-fashioned, but I believe that some things need to be kept off Twitter. That kind of content is one of those "things."

You're a cursing fool. I don't mind the occasional F-bomb, but if it's included in almost every one of your tweets, you're getting unfollowed. It's not that I've never used the term or have something against cursing, but if you're using it in cases where it's unnecessary, it just ends up making you look crass. If I wanted to engage in that kind of talk, I'd hang out with my buddies at a local bar. But since I'm on Twitter, I don't need to see it.

You're a bot. There's nothing worse than following someone you think is a real person, only to find out that it's a bot sending ads and asking you to click on questionable links.

Due to the microblogging service's popularity, its use as a vehicle for spam was to be expected. But luckily for us, we have the opportunity to ignore the spammers by unfollowing those bots. It works. (Be sure to also let Twitter know when you come across a spambot.)

You're a celebrity impostor. While there are some real celebrities on Twitter, I've found that there are many more impostors. And when I find them in my feed, I just unfollow them and go about my day.

The reason is simple: Most don't provide any value. Their tweets are largely insulting to the people they're trying to impersonate, instead of doing it with bravado and snark, like Dan Lyons was able to do with the Secret Diary of Steve Jobs blog. I use Twitter to find real, informative content. Fake celebrity profiles don't provide that, so I unfollow those profiles.

You're a constant updater. Although I like to see what my followers have to say, it gets annoying when someone updates their Twitter account 30 times in the span of five minutes. It totally ruins my ability to see what others are saying.

I know that you might be updating us about something going on in your life, and I understand that this might be important to you, but think of all your followers who don't have the chance to see what others are posting. What about them?!

That's it. As long as you can keep it under those parameters, I'll never unfollow you on Twitter. But that's just me. Are there any other annoyances you've come across that makes you question following someone?

If so, let us know in the comments.

And follow me on Twitter while you're at it!

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About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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