There is no lack of tools that help you decide who to follow and unfollow on Twitter by examining the activity of accounts in your Twitter ecosystem.
One of the current “buzz” Twitter clients, Twit Cleaner, provides users a very interesting detailed breakdown of how it identifies potential “garbage” accounts among people, organizations and bots you follow on Twitter.
In general, tweets that demonstrate active engagement (e.g. “@” messages, retweets and links) are favored, while automated tweets (e.g. paper.li distributions, Foursquare check-ins, RSS bot feeds) count against you if used extensively.
After you request an analysis of your Twitter followers, Twit Cleaner sends you a Twitter direct message containing a link to your customized results. In addition to the statistical breakdown by “type,” the analysis includes thumbnail avatars of all the Tweeps in each category, which yield individual details as you mouse over each with your cursor.
To cull out the undesirables, just click on the corresponding avatars.
Here’s how the categories break down:
Potentially Dodgy Behavior
- App spam – More than 50 percent of tweets are auto-generated messages, aka “app spam” (e.g. paper.li, Foursquare, blip.fm)
- Uses advertising networks
- Nothing but links – Few retweets, no “@” messages
- Repeating the same URLs – Duplicates the same link more than 25 percent of the time
- Posting identical tweets
Other Dodgy Behavior, Now Absent
No Activity in Over a Month
Not Much Interaction – Fewer than 10 tweets
- Not active yet
- Don’t interact with anyone – No “@” messages or retweets
- Bots – M0re than 90 percent of tweets pumped out from an RSS feed
- Hardly follow anyone – People who follow back fewer than 10 percent of those who follow them
All Talk, All the Time – Averages more than 24 tweets a day (excluding @ replies and direct messages)
Little Original Content – Retweets are 70 percent or more of total output
- High percentage of retweets
- High percentage of quotes
Not So Interesting – More than 50 percent of their tweets are about themselves
- Relatively unpopular – Few followers
So if you’re having trouble attracting and/or keeping the followers you seek on Twitter, a quick self-diagnostic might be in order.