Twitter for Lawyers: Not All Tweets Are Created Equal

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. 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., Foursquare,
  • 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

  • Self-obsessed
  • 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.


  1. Hi Jay

    Thanks for writing about Twit Cleaner.

    A couple of additional points might help your readers.

    1. Twit Cleaner is geared towards “Twitter as a community” – ie, you’re there to meet people, engage, and so forth.

    If you use Twitter primarily as a news source (an RSS feed, if you will), then some of the above categories aren’t going to be relevant to you. For example “posts nothing but links,” you’ll want that. That’s ok. Twit Cleaner exists to give you better information about your account. The critical thing is that you, the user, chooses who you want to follow & who not. If categories don’t seem relevant, just ignore them.

    What we can do is help you see more clearly through the noise, and also help clean it up much, much faster than manually.

    2. If you mouse over “help” at the top of the page, there’s a bunch of tips to help you clean up your account super quick smart. And finally

    3. If you click “How do I look” – either on your report, or from the front page of Twit, it’ll show you exactly how you look to Twit Cleaner.

    Hope that helps a little, and thanks again for the write up

    Si Dawson
    [Twit Cleaner Creator]

    • Jay Pinkert says:

      Thanks for the additional background, Si. More — and more meaningful — information about your complete Twitter ecosystem makes for better decisions, and that’s what I value about Twit Cleaner.

      There’s a lot of misinformation currently circulating in legal marketing circles promoting the use of apps like as “curation” tools, and there’s a chronic “humblebrag” problem as well, so I think it is important to encourage people to think about the form and content of their tweets as well as their frequency.

      Lawyers tend to think of Twitter as a megaphone, and then declare it useless when they don’t get the type or level of engagement they expected.

      • Ahh, I don’t think it’s just lawyers that suffer from that problem.

        People are used to television, newspapers etc – which are one directional. They don’t realise (at first) that Twitter is bi-directional.

        This means they will, for example, be called out if they goof up. That followers expect to be able to connect directly with you, & get upset if they can’t (eg, you ignore them).

        I couldn’t agree more re just encouraging people to think more – about why they’re tweeting, how they’re tweeting, what they are aiming to achieve.

        They’re all important questions; keep up the great work!

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