This screenshot, courtesy of TwitterCounter, shows a 3-month tally of my Twitter followers from early 2014. Notable milestones include 4,721 on January 14, 2014; and 4,887 on February 2, 2014.
Do you see the downward slope on the far right? Notable numbers there include 4,832 on February 18; 4,503 on February 20; and 3,975 on February 22.
Fast forward a year and I had 2,117 followers on March 18, 2015.
While some people may have unfollowed me, the primary reason for the slope is because I forced inactive accounts to unfollow me. I will tell you why and I will tell you how.
First, meet my former followers
I’m not sure what Team Eclipse Pro did but they don’t do it anymore. Not on Twitter, anyway. And they follow over 4,000 of you.
The Standard, an internet newspaper, hasn’t tweeted for five years but it’s following over 1,400 people. I was one of those people.
But those are companies, you might say. What about people?
Give the next screenshot a whirl — and then keep scrolling for my explanation.
Why I forced them to unfollow me
“Oh, look, @AriHerzog has so many thousand followers. He must be someone special. I should follow him too!”
You know you say it. Something like that.
I wanted the number of people who followed me to be an accurate representation of real people — who still tweet today; and not outdated accounts that haven’t tweeted a message in years. And yet the above screenshots are from people and companies who followed me. They inflated me. They boosted your opinion of my influence.
How I did it
Tinkering with Twitter management systems in recent months, my favorite is Tweepi. It’s simple. Most of its functions are free; but to do the above, I paid the developer $7 for the ability to perform advanced functions.
The “force unfollow” function debuted in 2012. It’s not a block (which can prevent you from seeing anything of mine) but it’s truly a forced unfollow. I told the program to sort my followers by their last tweet, with the oldest up top, and I clicked buttons.
I don’t know how it works; and frankly, I don’t care. All I know is 912 accounts that haven’t tweeted in over 6 months are no longer following me.
Oh, and the same is true for who I follow: Accounts that hadn’t tweeted in recent history I’m not following either. But that’s just an unfollow, not a forced unfollow. Two different functions depending if I’m following or being followed.
I always blog about my social media actions as a way of 1) charting my own evolution; and 2) helping you discover something new.
Many don’t care (or don’t know) inactive accounts still follow them. Many don’t take the time to look and sort. But now that you know the likes of The Standard could be following you, do you care?
I hope I planted a seed in you today by discovering something new; namely, that the number of people who follow you on Twitter (or any social networking site for that matter) is meaningless unless they are current. If I’m right, then please share this blog post and help others discover it too.