Is your Twitter account starting to look like the house of that little old man down the road who never weeds his yard and never throws anything out?
Is it full of clutter, empty boxes, things that are broken, or that you never use.
Do you still have people on your Christmas Card List that sent you a card in 1995 and you have not heard from since?
Perhaps when you read this, you may think I have taken a page from Oscar the Grouch, but there are times when you need to bite the bullet and Clean Your House.
For me, the whole point of Twitter is to build a community of people to exchange ideas with, keep in touch with, and engage in conversation. If you follow one or more of my profiles on Twitter or follow my blogs you know that I believe that solid relationships - business or otherwise start with conversations.
If you are using Twitter for business, another important factor comes into play. Understanding who you are talking to and trying to determine if they are even listening.
It's like the newspaper. They may have a million subscribers - but how many actually read it cover to cover every day. For all you know your ad or letter to the editor is the happy pad for a new puppy, the bottom of the bird cage, or in a soggy pile at the bottom of the driveway. If you do not take the time to understand who is actually reading the papers, your time and the money you money spent in putting your message there ends up where the paper eventually does - in the trash.
So a few months after starting to use Twitter, it was time to clean house. I set up a system for a clean up day once per month. Here is what I do.
1. Run my Twitter account through TwitChuck. This free service will scan your follower base for known spammers and Chuck Them Out. You can even WHACK them with a block if you are feeling particularly grouchy. (Pay attention when you do this - TwitChuck uses an algorithm and it is not perfect. Look at the Avatars to see if you recognize real friends that may have gotten scooped up with the trash.)
2. Run my Twitter account through Twitter Karma (another free service) and look at it with 2 different sorts:
First I sort by Only Following to see the people who are not interested in what I have to say. These are people who I may have followed after a keyword search or who followed me and unfollowed later. For what ever reason - my message is following on deaf ears.
Then I CHECK ALL using a convenient button, and then un check sources I want to follow anyway like news services or information sources that often do not follow back. Then another magic button - to unfollow - and they are gone.
I then wait a few minutes for the program to do its work and then do a sort again, this time looking at the last time tweeted. Sorting this way I can see the people who are not there anymore. Same process - check the boxes of anyone who has not been there for over 30 days and unfollow them.
After all - the lights may be on - but nobody's home to visit with.
This is also a good time to do a quick scan of Avatars for folks with no clothes on, the same pic on multiple accounts - a BOT characteristic, or other disreputable folks you may not want to be associated with,
A FEW CAVEATS: 1) Twitter Karma works best with FireFox. 2)I have been told not to use this after you get to 8,000 friends as it can hang up. 3) When looking at last time Tweeted - pay attention to tweets that come up as a NEVER tweeted. Some of these are spammers - but others are people who protect your tweets. Be careful not to WHACK your Great Aunt Sally. She may cut you out of The Will.
Your first time can be painful
The first time you do a major cleaning, it can be a bit painful. You just might find that you have quite a bit of clutter to throw away. When you do, be prepared. YOUR FOLLOWER COUNT WILL GO DOWN. Many accounts will automatically unfollow you when you unfollow them. So if this is important to you, please don't call me screaming.
It also takes a little time at first; but after the first time, it goes much faster. It only takes me about an hour total to clean up all five of my accounts.
Plus - with a little daily dusting - BLOCKING spammers that send me DMs or @ replies, the process gets that much faster each month.
So what's the ROI on cleaning house?
Remember my goal is sharing quality conversations with people. Here are the benefits I have found...
- My twitter spam - that daily annoyance - has gone way down in my stream.
- When I talk to my publisher or marketing team, I can share with them our count of "ACTIVE Followers". They may not be listening all the time, but at least we know they are picking up the paper and MIGHT actually read the message.
- My brand is less likely to be tarnished by porn or other garbage when others look at who I am following or who follows me - and PEOPLE do!
So if your goal is to engage in conversations that have value on Twitter - and to spend your time (which is money - don't ever forget it) sharing your message with people who might actually listen and respond back, then it might be time to Clean Your House.
Thanks for stopping by. Stay tuned...