By Richard Stone
The follow limit is an artificial boundary that the nice people at Twitter have created to stop the number of accounts any given user follows - exceeding 2000 people, in the first instance. Hitting it makes it much harder to use your account as an effective part of your technical social media campaign.
When you get a substantial increase in followers yourself, you can then follow more than 2,000 people. How many more - Twitter keeps confidential. Naturally, it’s related to the number of followers you have, but nobody knows the exact ratio.
So what do you do if you hit this limit?
The main action is to stop following so many people – particularly people you follow who don’t follow you back. The relationship between these two groups influences the ratio I mentioned above – although we can’t be sure. Twitter, like Google, likes to keep some things mysterious.
I personally didn’t want to completely lose track of some of the people I’m following who don’t follow me. Some of them are celebrities, who I don’t expect to follow back, but I’m interested in. Some are journalists, who I plan to build better relationships with. Some are just interesting companies.
But at the same, time, no one really wants to go through 2,000 followers and individually remove the ones who aren’t that useful or interesting.
So what do you do?
The key is in understanding how lists work in Twitter and, crucially, understanding that you don’t have to be following someone to have them in a list.
To compliment this useful piece of knowledge, you also need a piece of software that will help ease the pain of un-following large quantities of people. I recommend the paid for version of an app called ‘Unfollow’, which is less than a couple of pounds on the major mobile phone operating systems.
Once you have the understanding and the app, all you have to do is action these simple steps:
- Follow the procedure in the app to link it to Twitter
- Load up Unfollow and hit the refresh IDs button – this allows the app to get the most recent Twitter info from your account
- Then, hit the ‘don’t follow back’ button. This will display a list of people who you follow and who don’t follow you back.
- At this point you have to get ruthless and un-follow anyone on the list who you aren’t really interested in. Personally, I would un-follow anyone who hasn’t tweeted for a long time or any accounts that look automated. You can do 100 at a time – so pruning your entire follow list won’t take very long at all
- You should be left with a Twitter account that is following
a. People who follow you back and...
b. People you just can’t bear to lose
- Then go into your native Twitter app. It should be relatively simple to put the people-you-just-can’t-bear-to-lose into a list. You navigate to their account, click on the little button that looks like a gear and select, ‘add or remove from lists’ from the dropdown. It’s a good idea to use a number of lists for different kinds of people – e.g. ‘journalists’, ‘local influencers’ and so on.
- Put them into lists and then un-follow them!
The entire process is a bit like emptying your closet. It leaves you feeling refreshed and enthusiastic. It also gives you a whole new lease of Twitter life. Suddenly your timeline will be as interesting as you wanted it to be in the first place and you will find it easier to engage with the people you really want to be in contact with.
And finally, don’t forget those lists you created. You can now think of these as additional timelines. You can check them out every now and again and respond to some of the Tweets to help build relationships with the people in them.
Hey presto, your midfield has been defused and Twitter is a much more interesting place to be!
Image courtesy of EA on freedigitalphotos.net