I’ve been cleaning up my Twitter-roll and unfollowing a bunch of people, here’s why:
1) You don’t tweet. I don’t think anyone really needs to pump out 50 tweets a day to be interesting… but the corollary is true as well, if the only tweet you have posted in the last 2 months is “going for lunch, indian food” don’t be surprised if you get unfollowed. Twitter is a stream, not a feed.
2) You pimp your company, and then do it some more. A lot of people seem to think that Twitter exists solely for them to tweet out press releases about their company, or every tweet is cheerleading on behalf of their company. Balance people, balance. It’s all well and good to tweet out news about the great things your company is doing, but balance it out with interesting links to news from around your industry. The odds are pretty damn good that you know more about what your competitors, partners, and other interesting companies are doing than I do, and that’s why I followed you in the first place. I would expect a company twitter profile to be exclusively focused on company news, but not a person working for that company.
3) You are rude. It’s okay to disagree but to do so in a condescending or offensive manner is not appropriate, and just because it’s online doesn’t mean you can say things to me that you would not say to my face. Interestingly, this is the least frequent cause for unfollowing… most people I encounter online are actually more polite and civil, even if in violent disagreement, than the average person walking down the street in SF.
4) Serial retweeters. I’ve noticed that some people are following thousands of people with the intent of getting followed themselves, and then retweet nonstop to gain prominence. I’m not sure what the end game is here beyond building an authority ranking on third party services but it is not interesting. Some of this behavior is bot driven.
5) You tweet about inane bullshit. I really don’t care that you are “going for lunch, indian food” but if that is mixed in with interesting links, substantive tweets, good retweets, and other meaningful stuff, well I can skip over the meaningless stuff… but if the only thing you are tweeting about is inane bullshit, I’m unfollowing you. Signal to noise ratios, too low is a problem.