Tuesday 12 March 2013

Goodbye Twit Cleaner - what can we do now?

For as long as I can remember  on Twitter,  I and hundreds of other compers have been using Twit Cleaner regularly to tidy up the people we follow.

As compers, we need to follow a LOT of people: other compers both for friendly chat and to help each other to find competitions, the promoters that are running current competitions, those who regularly run them, those who we've followed for a competition and then engaged with and enjoy the company of or like to see the latest offers from, and the bloggers who have made following them on Twitter a task for one of their competitions. Add to that personal friends and family,  people connected with other hobbies, local businesses, weather forecasts, traffic reports, Father Christmas and (probably) Stephen Fry and you are looking at a huge number of people to follow.

However until you reach almost 2,000 followers yourself, you can't follow more than 2,000 people. And when you get over the 2,000 mark, you can only follow 10% more people than follow you. So we need a quick and easy way to check the people we follow and choose who to unfollow.

For that, Twit Cleaner was a dream. It analysed your account, and gave you a list of people who hadn't tweeted for more than a month, didn't follow you, tweeted nothing but links, tweeted only through apps so that their feeds were automated and so on. You could choose who to unfollow and in just a few clicks you could remove those you didn't want to follow any more.

So why am I talking about it in the past tense? Well this week Si Dawson, who ran Twit Cleaner, decided to call it a day. You can read the full explanation of why here but in a nutshell, Twitter's changes had made it too difficult for him to make it work properly any more.

What can we do now to prune our accounts? Go through our the list of people we follow, checking every account one by one? Well, there ARE other apps out there that can help, although they each have their plus and minus points and you may find you need to use more than one of them to do everything that Twit Cleaner did. Quite a few simply give you a list of those who don't follow you  back - not much help to a comper, as you wouldn't normally expect the businesses you follow in order to  enter a competition to follow you back unless  you win, in which case they will probably follow you for long enough to let you Direct Message your contact details.

I've been trying out a few and here are my findings:

Qwitter simply tracks who unfollowed you. If you look at your Twitter activity column regularly you will notice you get far more new followers than the increase in your follower count reflects. This is because of the number of "bots" who follow you in the hope that you will follow them back - at which point they will unfollow you. That way they have boosted their follower count by hooking you in, but by regularly monitoring who has unfollowed you, you can identify those you have followed - and unfollow THEM. The downside is that the report is in the form of a weekly email, not much help if you are in the mood to purge NOW!

Friend or Follow produced three screens - one of people you follow who don't follow you back, one of people who follow you and one where the following is mutual. It's not as easy to extract the info you want as most of the other sites, and can be quite slow BUT it does show you cute kitty videos  while you wait! The results are shown as a rather overwhelming display of avatars and you have to hover over each to get info about the person and an unfollow button, so if you follow a lot of people it can be slow to use.

Just Unfollow gives you lists of followers, non followers among those you follow, recent unfollowers and people who you follow who haven't tweeted for over a month. You "pay with a tweet" for some of the services and once you've decided who to unfollow it is very easy to do it. You can only unfollow 50 people a day unless you upgrade to a paid account.

Manage Flitter probably the most popular, after Twit Cleaner, and the easiest to use. It has all the usual lists, which you can arrange in various orders using the column headings and very quickly unfollow up to 2,600 people a day. This is the one I'll be using from now on - but with one note of caution. If you choose to use the "fake following" option, use it with care. On my account, just three people are listed as fakes. But they are all people I know are NOT fakes  - one of whom I know in real life and they would be very hurt indeed to know they had been flagged  up as  a fake. Not one of the three does anything in particular to merit having their account flagged up as fake, so I really don't know what parameters they must be using!

One final tool you might consider using is BitDefender  where you can check a Twitter user's credentials before you follow them - it might save having to do a bit of pruning later on!


  1. I've used Just Unfollow but Manage FLitter is better..thanks JAne!

  2. I'm missing Twittercleaner already! Thank you for these alternatives.

  3. Manager Flitter is a great stepping stone away from twittercleaner.

  4. Thanks Jane, just used Manage Flitter for the first time. Thought I'd enjoy deleting but there were actually several, who I'd not missed as Twitter gets so busy, that it made me sad to see had disappeared.


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