Is there a way to diagnose my twitter unfollowings?
March 14, 2014 8:29 AM   Subscribe

I know about the sites that show who follows back and who doesn't, Etc. I am trying to find a way to know what the last tweet before people unfollowed was - like a way for me to try to figure what type of things my audience doesn't like (offensive? Boring?) Can anyone point me in the right direction?
posted by jitterbug perfume to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: No, Twitter doesn't really tell you when someone unfollowed. The sites that tell you who unfollowed basically check your current followers against a list of followers you had and tells you what's different.

But I'd urge you to not to worry too much about your audience that way. If some people dig what you're doing, keep doing that and, while you may lose followers, you'll eventually gain ones who really love what you do and will be more engaged followers.
posted by inturnaround at 8:47 AM on March 14, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I would caution against going down this road. People unfollow for all kinds of reasons and many won't have anything to do with what you just tweeted. People might be pruning their lists wholesale because they can't keep up with their feed; they may have been meaning to unfollow you for a while and your lastest tweet just happened to remind them you exist; they may have unfollowed you accidentally, which is a thing that apparently happens; ultimately twitter unfollows are an unknowable black box. Trying to interrogate the whims of twitter strangers at that level of specificity is more likely to make you crazy than to be helpful.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 8:55 AM on March 14, 2014 [4 favorites]

Best answer: How often are you following new people? Rather than focusing on attrition, maybe you could focus on acquisition instead.
posted by oceanjesse at 9:11 AM on March 14, 2014

Best answer: I am willing to bet large amounts of money that anyone who unfollows you was most likely trying to cut down their number of follows. First they cut a few they don't care about, then they cut a few who tweet rarely, and then they threw up their hands and cut a few more pretty much randomly to limit the following list to a magic number.

You were likely cut in the last round.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 9:33 AM on March 14, 2014

Best answer: You would need to have a pretty big following (and lots of instances of people unfollowing you) for anything you found to have any statistical significance.

If you do have a big enough following for any analysis to be meaningful at all, you'd probably need to look at the topics, tone and frequency of your tweets as possible explanatory factors.

Personally if I found you to be worth following in the first place, if I decide to unfollow you later it's likely to be because you tweet too often about things I don't care about, so cluttering up my feed with what to me is noise. Alternately I may have got the wrong idea of what you were about from some isolated tweet I saw retweeted by a friend, and followed you because of that, only to find that it wasn't really typical of what to expect from you.

followerwonk might be a site that helps you do some analysis if it still seems worthwhile.
posted by philipy at 11:16 AM on March 14, 2014

Best answer: Add me to the list of those who see many potential (and unknowable) reasons for unfollows. Also, as far as I've understood it over the years, there is meant to be a very low pressure environment on Twitter in relation to following/unfollowing. I assumed that was widespread understood. I follow only 1/10th of my followers. Mostly, it's because I can't handle the input level and I regularly skim through looking to cull a couple when I want to try someone new. It might be any of a dozen reasons and, for me, it's never about my liking you or your voice less particularly, it's about creating the right mix: I see it as my personal modern radio. So be yourself; do what you like doing and don't change to try to capture or retain people. The primary metric should be your own enjoyment.
posted by peacay at 11:59 AM on March 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Agreed with others. Unless you do/say something highly controversial and see a huge spike in unfollows, I wouldn't worry.

If it makes you feel better, do some research on Twitter best practices and things that annoy your followers. Pretty much the thing that annoys me the most personally is anything that's auto-tweeted - check-ins and badges (especially GetGlue!), auto-posts from Facebook to Twitter, etc.
posted by radioamy at 12:50 PM on March 14, 2014

Response by poster: I did actually see a 30 or so follower drop really much quicker than I ever have, and so was wondering if I had become particularly *something* that was putting people off all of a sudden. I still wonder but it may be random. Thanks for the answers!
posted by jitterbug perfume at 2:49 PM on March 14, 2014

Best answer: I was an early Twitter adopter and I've noticed: (1) times of unintentional unfollow (2) times of reckoning, when the counter catches up to what's been slowly going on all along. Even though Twitter puts those numbers right upfront, I have to nth: Not worth overthinking.

If you want to spend time pondering the larger issues of Twitter, I'd say it's best spent identifying how you use it, and what are the general trends and etiquette within your ecosphere. (e.g., hashtags, livetweets, RTing, marketing vs. interaction, etc.)
posted by gnomeloaf at 3:32 PM on March 14, 2014

Best answer: When people ask me for Twitter tips, one of my biggest is "Pay no attention to unfollows." It's not worth your time AND it might needlessly give you a bad feeling about an individual if you recognize someone who unfollowed you for whatever reason.

As for broader trends, you might take a look at the tools people use to unfollow, and consider whether there are places where you would really stand out. A popular and instructive free one is, which lets people list the users they follow according to various metrics.

Another thing to consider is that in most utilities meant to help people decide who to unfollow, only the single most recent tweet by each user is visible. In other words, you might try to avoid letting anything that's really atypical for you sit for any length of time as your most recent tweet.
posted by kalapierson at 8:40 PM on March 14, 2014

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