Twitter Housekeeping

If left unchecked, your Twitter space can get overwhelming and the result is that you become a lame Tweep. I have a few things I do regularly to keep things tidy and happy.

Prolegomena: Twitter is a mostly open public forum if you are not interested in connecting with people you don’t already know then you should stick to Facebook because you are missing the point of Twitter and breaking the internet. I wrote a post about the Facebook and Twitter¬†relationship.


Following someone does not mean you are listening. Following is an¬†acknowledgment¬†that you see that they are a real person with something¬†legitimate¬†to bring to the table and not a spammer/gamer. If you follow me and are a real person with an avatar, bio and a link, then I will follow you back. This doesn’t mean that I am listening to you however.


This is how I organize who I am actually listening to. Twitter lists are subsets of twitter users that allow you to pay attention to a smaller group of people. This works best when you use a Twitter client (I use Tweetdeck) that has columns or tabs to display different feeds. A couple of my favorite lists are one of my colleagues in my field and another list, which is private, called; ‘don’t miss’. That one is a list of close friends and other people that I don’t want to miss.¬†Making¬†it private¬†makes it so that they don’t know they are on the list but more importantly other people can’t see that they are not on it.

I do keep a column of everyone I follow and look at it a lot, but the shelf life of a tweet in a stream of thousands is pretty short.


The most rocking tool ever for pruning your Twitter account; Manage Flitter. Manage Flitter looks at my account and allows me to drop people in bulk. About once a month I go there and drop everyone who isn’t following me back. I’m on Twitter for the conversations and relationships not to simply consume your content. That’s the main function that I use it for, but it will also let you sort out people who Tweet too much, don’t tweet enough, don’t have a profile pic, have certain keywords in their bio or tweet certain things.

You may have seen me follow you more than once because you didn’t follow back and your name came up somewhere and I followed you again, I’m pretty sure this has happened more than a few times for some people I follow. This is because when I do clean up my Twitter once a month I unfollow everyone who isn’t following back.

That’s how I live in the twitternets. It’s not perfect but it works for me.

How are you keeping things organized?

36 thoughts on “Twitter Housekeeping

  1. Great tips. I've been having problems with lists; Twitter keeps saying that there's an error updating them. Apparently other people are having the same issue. It's a little frustrating because I love lists! Oh well.

    I think you made a great point about following not equaling listening. There's been plenty of people that I've followed (and now unfollowed) that I didn't listen to at all!

    January 20, 2011 at 12:16 pm
    1. Lists make the world a better place. Are the lists tripping out on the website or in a client?

      January 21, 2011 at 4:08 am
      1. I'm not sure what's going on. I'm new to Twitter, and I managed to create a few lists but I haven't been able to put anyone on the lists (at least not that I can tell). Twitter gives me this message-thingy that says "error updating list". Several other tweeps (is that the right word?) complained on the help section about having this same problem.

        I'm still figuring the whole Twitter world out, so I may be doing something wrong. Not sure what!

        January 22, 2011 at 12:03 pm
        1. There may be issue with adding people to lists who protect their tweets. Also, Twitter is growing so fast that it is often buggy. Try again later.

          You can also manage lists from a client like Tweetdeck.

          January 22, 2011 at 12:23 pm
        2. Correction: I made three lists and was able to put one tweep in each list. Every time I tried to add someone else to one of those lists, it came up with the "error" message.

          January 22, 2011 at 12:27 pm
    1. brianbarela

      RT @m_vince: Twitter Housekeeping strategy

      January 20, 2011 at 9:48 pm
  2. I do many of the same things. Lists have changed the way I Twitter. I do keep some follows that don't follow me back just because I appreciate their content on its own merit.

    January 21, 2011 at 4:42 am
    1. I will do the same thing…i don't expect Lance Armstrong to follow me back

      January 21, 2011 at 5:30 am
    1. bethggwaz
  3. It’s twitter house keeping day. did you make the cut?

    March 8, 2011 at 2:13 pm
    1. mattbunk

      @m_vince Nope. Didn’t make it.

      March 8, 2011 at 2:15 pm
      1. @mattbunk i'll give you another chance ;-)

        March 8, 2011 at 9:16 am
        1. mattbunk

          @m_vince Too kind. I will aim to only moderately disappoint you.

          March 8, 2011 at 9:20 am
    2. jaycaruso

      @m_vince I just checked. Whew.

      March 8, 2011 at 9:19 am
      1. @jaycaruso i'm not unfollowing the always epic Jay Caruso

        March 8, 2011 at 9:20 am
        1. moretom

          @m_vince "The Always Epic @jaycaruso," how much did he pay you to tweet *that?*

          March 8, 2011 at 9:21 am
          1. @moretom love is for free my friend!

            March 8, 2011 at 9:21 am
          2. moretom

            @m_vince +1 well played.

            March 8, 2011 at 9:22 am
        2. jaycaruso

          @m_vince Haha! But ? for you. You don't follow any "big" names who follow 35 as opposed to having tens of thousands of followers?

          March 8, 2011 at 9:41 am
          1. @jaycaruso i do still follow some favs like @garyvee and @lancearmstrong

            March 8, 2011 at 9:42 am
    3. AmandaSims

      @m_vince That always makes me nervous. "Am I still good enough for Vince to follow me?" ;)

      March 8, 2011 at 9:21 am
      1. @AmandaSims well come on…you know better than that

        March 8, 2011 at 9:22 am
        1. AmandaSims

          @m_vince Buah ha ha ha ha. I do, yes I do.

          March 8, 2011 at 9:22 am
    4. DCBrocker

      @m_vince I'm trimming the twitter fat as well. Time consuming!

      March 8, 2011 at 9:40 am
      1. @DCBrocker no way dude. use and drop all you non follow backs in one move

        March 8, 2011 at 9:40 am
        1. DCBrocker

          @m_vince nice! I'll check that out

          March 8, 2011 at 9:42 am
        2. DCBrocker

          @m_vince that was perfect. Thanks for the tip!

          March 10, 2011 at 9:39 am
  4. (I have a private list)

    June 6, 2011 at 8:27 am
    1. shhh…don’t tell anyone

      June 6, 2011 at 8:29 am
  5. Am I following you back? getting ready for twitter house keeping

    July 5, 2011 at 1:34 pm
  6. I’m addicted to Twitter and Facebook but Facebook just isn’t “fast” enough. I guess I’m constantly looking for information, so twitter is exciting for me because every few seconds there’s something new.

    However, I have very few IRL friends on twitter (maybe 2 that actually USE it) so I have a sense of total anonymity, and yet, following folks I’ll never meet makes Twitter is one of the cool aspects of it…. I get to learn different thoughts and views and it is just plain fun.

    Facebook is different and I enjoy it also, but it also hurts a bit more too when I post my cool U2 concert photos and my FRIENDS aren’t interested. It is one thing that the twitterverse might not care, but….. my friends? Ouch.

    If I had to give one up, I’d probably give up Facebook and that scares me a bit. I’d give up the folks that know me more closely IRL over a bunch of people that are NOT my friends that don’t care much about me at all. That just sounds so completely wrong.

    More than you wanted to know, I’m sure…..

    July 5, 2011 at 2:50 pm
    1. I think I’d give up Facebook before I would give up Twitter

      July 5, 2011 at 3:23 pm
  7. September Twitter housekeeping. Am I following you back?

    September 4, 2012 at 8:45 pm

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