10 Things Guaranteed To Get You Unfollowed On Twitter


By Marci Liroff

I’ve been on Twitter since 2009 and I’ve come to think of it as my good friend. I hate it when people don’t treat my friend right. I’m so happy that there are many new people coming over to Twitter and jumping on the Social Media bandwagon.

BUT, I’ve been noticing some bad behavior that I’m sure stems from most folks just not knowing how it all works. As as social media consultant, I’m noticing that there are so many rules to proper twitter behavior and etiquette – some written and some not so black and white.

Use this guide to help you navigate the often shark-infested waters and avoid these mistakes!

1. Not using my name when you tweet about me

One of the most basic tenets of Twitter is to give credit where credit is due. If you’re talking about someone on Twitter, take an extra moment to find out if they’re on Twitter and use their Twitter name. I cannot stress this enough. This promotes connectivity amongst all of us. This way, if your followers like what you’re saying about the person they can easily follow them by clicking on their Twitter name within your tweet.

2. Clogging my newsfeed with your TWITTER HOUSEKEEPING

The term “Twitter Housekeeping” is probably one I made up. Here’s what it means. When people re-tweet your tweets or mention you in a tweet, proper twitter etiquette dictates that you respond with a “thank you” or a “thanks for sharing/RT”. HOWEVER, and this is a big however….please do not clog my newsfeed with your twitter housekeeping. The correct way to do it is this. Click on “reply” and reply directly to the person like this:

@JoeTwitter thanks for sharing!

Do NOT do this:

Thanks for sharing @JoeTwitter RT @KimTwitter blah blah blah

If you do this, then you are clogging my newsfeed with all your responses which should only be seen by the person you’re responding to. This is actually re-tweeting YOUR tweet under the guise of a “thank you”. Not good form and very annoying.

Here’s another example of Twitter Housekeeping that will get you unfollowed:

“@JoeTwitter: I finally caved in and joined twitter world!!” it’s about friggin time. So happy!

The Twitter user uses the “ symbol to RT her friend’s tweet first, then put her comment at the end. Now, why do I need to read this? She should just click on “reply” and reply back to her friend who is now on Twitter and tell her how happy she is. Why is she tweeting this out to all her followers to read?

3. Using twitter like it’s your own personal iChat or email service for all to see

If you’re using Twitter to pick a place for dinner with your friend or give directions to an event and I’m following both of you – do you know I can see all your tweets? Perhaps email or text is a better forum!

4. Still having an egg on your profile and no bio

C’mon, it’s not so hard. Upload a real photo of you for your avatar and write a short bio and include a link to your website if you have one. If you don’t do this very basic thing, people will think you’re not legitimate and professional and will hesitate to follow.

5. Having a naked picture (or some form of nakedness) for your avatar

Need I say more? I’m gonna go one further. I’ll block you if you’re following me with that nastiness! Again, be professional in this professional space.

6. Check your spelling

Take a moment and check your tweet before you send it so that things are spelled correctly and your tweet makes sense. I know we all have to comply with the 140 characters on Twitter and abbreviate and lose some punctuation, but at least try to spell things right! Along those same lines, make sure your link actually works!

 7. #FF pile-ons

Follow Friday (#FF) started as a way to thank someone for something they may have done for you or to welcome them to Twitter and help them get new followers. It was meant to introduce people to your twitter followers by telling them who they are and why they are special to you.

A good example would be the one I received from the lovely Erin Cronican today.

#FF @MarciLiroff A fellow Expert writer for @BackStage who has poise, warmth & skill as a casting director & is an amazing Twitter partner.

Now that is a genuine #FF. It has meaning, it explains why her followers should follow me and gives context.

The kind of “pile-on” #FF I see nowadays looks something like this:

#FF @marciliroff @JoeBlow @KarenTwitter @JimTwitter

It doesn’t give any context or reason WHY we should follow these people. It also puts people in a giant group – which makes me feel a little less than special. Sometimes, I’m grouped with people that I don’t even like or respect.

8. Don’t connect your Facebook status updates to Twitter

Once you start using Social Media regularly you’ll see that the platform of Facebook is ENTIRELY different than Twitter. I liken it to using your “Facebook voice” and using your “Twitter voice”. On Facebook you can talk more extensively on a topic. Because of the 140 character format on Twitter, you have to be succinct and to the point. Comment + headline + link. Bam!

Some twitter apps allow you to connect your FB and Twitter accounts so that when you tweet or FB it goes to both accounts simultaneously. This is wrong on many levels.

Your followers (audience) on Twitter is not necessarily your audience (friends) on Facebook. Your tweet or status update is sometimes not pertinent or appropriate to both. At this point in the game (although it’s changing every day) your Facebook friends don’t want to see your updates in space-saving abbreviations and the use of hashtags. Likewise, when that Facebook tweet goes onto the Twitter newsfeed it usually doesn’t fit and isn’t a complete thought/tweet. For me it shows a person who doesn’t understand the social medium platform they’re using. Another huge problem which goes back to #1 on my list, is that when your accounts are connected and you update your status on Facebook you may mention a person’s name in your update, but when it shows up on Twitter it doesn’t correctly use the all important “@” sign to identify the Twitter name of the person you’re tweeting about. Again, very bad form.

9. Using an Auto-bot to send a DM asking for something

If you do anything on Twitter that appears to be an auto-bot (meaning an automatic response NOT from a human) I will unfollow immediately. Twitter is about communication from people, not auto-tweets. Some people think it’s a great idea once we both follow each other to send a DM (direct message) to me asking me to buy something or visit their site. No thank you – I will unfollow you.

10. Beware of scheduled tweets

I know it’s difficult to be on Twitter at all times of the day. Sometimes we need to schedule tweets (I use the Buffer App) BUT – I do this VERY sparingly and monitor it closely! Here’s a great example of why it can be dangerous to use scheduled tweets. Imagine a world event – an election, a verdict that just came in on an important case, natural disasters – then your tweet comes into my newsfeed and you’re hawking your wares “Hey y’all check out my new demo reel!” – don’t you look stupid and thoughtless? I have unfollowed major accounts for doing this.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on this. What do people do that drive you crazy on Twitter? It’s always good to share with the community. Leave a comment, share this blog with a friend!

Glad you’re here!


  1. Great list, Marci! My biggest Twitter pet peeves are definitely people who misspell words (I understand this can be hard at times due to the character limit) when people retweet their replies from other people (celebrity or not) – not even putting a response to it (though that grates on my nerves as well), whenever people constantly bug a person to reply to them, and when people ask for followers.

  2. Oh, I remember the days of you first starting to tweet and now look at you – giving a how-to list! These are good ones!

    For Num 1, if you’re using Hootsuite, you can add a new stream with a search and keyword of your name and see anything that comes up for you without your @ handle on a new tab!

    Your site looks gorgeous btw! Oooolala.
    Angela Shelton recently posted…How Do You Forgive Your Mom?

    • Marci Liroff says

      Coming from my yoda/mentor/social media guru/web mistress that means a lot Angela!

      I use Echofon and search that way. I’d rather not have to suggest (scold) people for tweeting about me who aren’t using my Twitter name within their tweet. Perhaps this can teach them. Can you please send this to each and every one of them?!

      And yes, my site looks gorgeous. You did a stellar job on the design and implementation of all my data.

  3. What I like to call “twitter diary-ah” is also the worst, which is when people clog my feed with intimate details about their sadness, bitterness, jealousy, and anxiety. Twitter is growing in power and is changing our world by the second. It connects us, can inspire us, entertain us, educate us, and move us into action. Thoughts on mundane things should always at least have a clever spin. Turn attention seeking posts into witty nuggets that will hopefully get your followers to chuckle. If you’re successfully funny, that should score you some RTs, then BAM, new followers instead of less followers. Furthermore, when thoughts become useful in starting discussions or raising awareness on world events/social happenings/etc, that’s when things can get really exciting.

    • Marci Liroff says

      I SO agree Laura. Especially love this: “when thoughts become useful in starting discussions or raising awareness on world events/social happenings/etc, that’s when things can get really exciting.”

      This was the unexpected part of Twitter for me. I had no idea that’s what it would become in my life.
      Thanks for your insightful comment!

  4. The world seems surprisingly small and open, but much can be done when we take advantage of this 6 degrees of separation. Once some boundaries are negotiated.

    I’m guilty of having had a Twitter account for years and never doing anything with it. In order to follow the fan-dom from a TV show I got involved last week and I wanted to know the does and don’ts.

    I follow Laura after seeing Lizzy Bennett, after seeing Hank, after vlogbrothers, after being challenged to watch more than cats on Youtube. And she RT’d a link that brought me here (BAM).

    This is clearly good advice for the ‘professional space’ but as a member of the audience even I’m troubled by just how far we can involve ourselves in the lives of the people who entertain us. I can replay to a show’s writer when she asks for an ‘evil male name’, but should I?

    The role of an audience is to applaud, that is our part in performance. How do we recognise the line between the formal public space and the informal, the social media equivalent of a celebrity using your coffee shop; it’s a public space but they are using it as a private person.

    • Marci Liroff says

      Well, it’s called SOCIAL media for a reason. It’s meant to get people into the conversation. That’s the whole point. If someone is asking a question expecting a response (like the show’s writer), then I have to assume they want an answer. If a celebrity is sharing information then I have to assume they want a response. But, as in all situations, use your manners at all times.

  5. Twitter is useless.

  6. LISTEN TO MARCI, People. Retweetin’ this.

    I’ve stopped doing FF all together because I feel as if I am screaming into the wind. I only want to do them as you have described above but everyone I know just does these lists and then retweets those lists be aside they are included. Honestly, I stay off twitter in Fridays in general because of this this defeating the purpose of FFs!

    Stop the madness! And listen to Marci 🙂

    Arianna recently posted…The New York Premiere of “The Wound”!!

  7. Andddd didn’t see the autocorrect typos in the above response. Sigh!

  8. Good stuff. One of my additional peeves is when people *regularly* post tweets that are more than 140 characters, with the rest spilling over into one of those “talk longer” services. I can maybe see doing it once in a blue moon. But several of my actor connections do this like 80% of the time, and at least one celebrity I follow uses such a service nearly every time she retweets something, rather than editing the RT and her response so it fits within one tweet.

    Maybe they’re just not aware? There are some apps which automatically expand any tweet which is expanded using “tl . gd” — but people use all sorts of things to read Twitter. Even the main Twitter website, and their application TweetDeck (which are my two main ways to read my feed) do not expand these links, so in order to read what these people have posted in its entirety, I have to click on a link, wait for my browser to load that page, and only then find out if it was something I *wanted* to read in the first place. 🙂

    Heck, I can’t even read those emojis that people love to include in their tweets more and more. They just look like little boxes to me. I had someone tweet me a reply that didn’t include any words, only an emoji. It sent me off to find a website where I could paste it in and it would tell me what it was.

    So, long story longer (as a friend of mine was fond of saying)… thanks for posting this list, Marci. I do think in a lot of cases people are just unaware of how the way they post impacts their connections with others in the social media realm. Hopefully, this will make a dent in ameliorating the situation. 😉

    • Marci Liroff says

      All very good points. So many people have jumped into this platform of social media (Twitter) having NO idea how to tweet properly. For the ones that tweet longer, or tweet a stream of tweets on and on…I encourage them to get a blog or use Tumblr. Thanks for your very articulate comments!

  9. David Housholder says

    The points given are good pointers to what may be a better use of Twitter. Just keep in mind that rules and pointers for use of social media are being developed socially. There is no Roberts Rules of Order for us to follow, only personal preferences.
    If we are more interested in people than we are in form we will be patient with those who don’t do things the way we would. We can easily scroll past stuff that isn’t of interest or seems irrelevant to us.
    One disagreement: I think there are times when we want all of our friends and followers to know of a link or a photo or such and in such cases a simultaneous posting on Facebook and Twitter is an excellent idea and some tools like Instagram make that practical for the one posting information.
    One other thing: We learn here that if a tweet begins with @name then only that person will see the tweet, but if there are intervening words before then it goes to all of one’s followers. But how is the new person on Twitter to know that? Where are the clear instructions on what goes where and who can see what?

  10. Great article! I completely agree with all of these tips. Quick question: in addition to being an actor, I also make a living as a beauty/fashion blogger. I have an acting twitter account and blog twitter account, but I’ve always kept them separate as to not annoy CDs and other actors with my blog business; however, lately I’ve booked several acting jobs because of my blog. As a CD, would you find it annoying to see an actor’s twitter feed include links to blog posts not relevant to acting, or would it be interesting/not annoying to see another side of my life? Thanks for your thoughts!
    Ashley Nicholas recently posted…My Kitchen Mini-Makeover with Delta Faucet {Part 3}

  11. All I learned from this article was that the author is a judgmental glutton for drama. Case and point, “Some twitter apps allow you to connect your FB and Twitter accounts so that when you tweet or FB it goes to both accounts simultaneously. This is wrong on many levels.” I’m just saying Marci might need to chill out a bit these mistakes and inadvertent slights aren’t worth going into a tizzy over.

  12. People tweeting to EVERYONE and using the handle at the end of the tweet (aka, sin # 2) is my biggest pet peeve. I don’t follow everyone you want to follow, and I don’t care about all your conversations! It strikes me as a way to promote without actually engaging others, and that’s what makes it feel spammy.

    #3 is hard to gauge – I frequently do that, but a lot of times it’s so people who are following us *can* jump in. Especially within the tightly knit Seattle community, things get rolling on Twitter and then are actualized in real life. It’s also impossible to know who of one’s followers is also following the person you’re chatting with.
    Wonder recently posted…Behind Me: A short film by Rebecca Pugh

  13. Grammar Police says

    Hey Marci, I believe you mean “tenets” under #1 not “tenants”. The former means property or principle while the latter means occupant.

    • Marci Liroff says

      Thanks so much. I stand corrected.
      But, with all the amazing content on this blog, that’s your only comment?
      Kind of insulting to the writer!

  14. I think your point about the scheduled tweets is a really important one. I have taken down scheduled tweets and blog posts if they were planned for an inappropriate time. Admittedly, it usually requires my mom calling, interrupting Dora the Explorer, and saying, “Katy, you need to read the news.”

    And I’m WITH YOU on the nude/inappropriate photos! Though I get less of them through Twitter than I used to—let’s hope their spam filters have cracked down.

    Thanks for the great list!

  15. Oh man… just about everything you wrote led to me exclaiming “YES!” Especially #9. I can’t imagine anything more inauthentic than an automated relationship-building message.

    PS: Thank you for the amazing mention. It really means a lot. 🙂

  16. To this day, I cannot understand the appeal and popularity of Twitter. I have tried to use it 3 times, each time for a few months and, in my opinion, it is beyond useless and a colossal waste of time, energy, brain cells, and anything else that could be done in its place. I just don’t understand why so many people love it so. Oh well. Happy twittering to all of you who love it.

    • Clearly you aren’t following the right people or accounts on Twitter. Find a community you’re interested in and follow those people. I started out trying to sell my DVD and quickly learned that Twitter isn’t the place to sell something – it’s a place to GIVE something. So I because a source for actors and started curating and contributing great content for that community. I’m also a news junkie so I follow news sources and get breaking news which I love.
      Marci Liroff recently posted…10 Things Guaranteed To Get You Unfollowed On Twitter

      • My news list is one of two reasons why I still have a Twitter account. Like you, I also love being able to follow the type of news I want to follow as it happens. Very cool. The second reason is I love to follow positive/inspirational people/sites; you know, things like positively positive, daily affirmations, attitude of gratitude, and so forth. If not for those two areas, I would not be on Twitter. I never found anything useful towards my burgeoning acting career via Twitter. You, Ms. Liroff, are one of only a few casting directors who tweet useful and informative things for actors (thank you for that!) Most of the CD’s (top CD’s like you) I have followed in the past tweet uninteresting, uninformative, or personal things. Acting workshops/studios are only pitching classes, workshops, and/or memberships for purchase. And agencies, well….forget it. I just never saw anything worth my time with regards to moving forward in my acting career via Twitter. That’s why I follow CD’s like you on Facebook. Scoring network and cable TV co-stars, guest-stars, and series regular via Twitter just doesn’t seem likely at this point in time. Segueing into network/cable TV and studio films is my next step and where my focus is right now and Twitter helping me with that is doubtful. Establishing real relationships with CD’s is essential in this business but there’s a fine line between “real relationships on Twitter” with people you don’t know and “kissing a**”. All I’ve witnessed, so far, is a bunch of desperate, needy actors hawking their demo reels and telling CD’s how much they love them…..two things that are colossally transparent and sad. But, Twitter is loved by millions so, again, happy Tweeting to all who love it.

  17. Thank you for the clear and concise info. The examples really help with the understanding. I do have my FB and twitter connected, but only for my Actor Page, which has only a few posts. My personal FB page is separate. I haven’t noticed any issues yet but will definitely keep your input in mind.

  18. I’m sorry but this is not that serious. To say that there is a correct and incorrect way to Tweet or use Twitter is just a matter of one person’s opinion. You make it sound like it’s a law, and get easily offended if someone’s Twitter format is off so you block or unfollow them? It’s amazing how social media has dulled our thinking process to the point of ridiculousness. Like I said before…It’s not that serious….

    • As in any culture, there is a community which dictates the bylaws and what is acceptable in terms of etiquette. There are thousands of blogs on this subject, mine is but one. I unfollow people who don’t put out great content and don’t tweet well and block those who are spamming me. That’s the beauty of Twitter.

  19. I learned some things from this list. Thank you. Also, I hope when I tweet about a show I am watching it doesn’t feel to like I am clogging up the feed. I just get so excited to interact with other fans while watching a show live. Sometimes I see I was unfollowed by a few people but then I think maybe they aren’t fans of the show. Can’t make everyone happy.

    The two things that will make me unfollow is someone who is saying mean or hurtful things about others and people who retweet things I know I would be embarrassed if my mom ever saw.

  20. I will unfollow people if they just tweet too much! Like I want to know every single stupid thought that runs through their heads? Also if every tweet is self promotion. Ick.

    • Marci Liroff says

      Yeah I like to follow the 80%/20% model and tweet about my own projects 20% of the time. Those that tweet about themselves and their stuff constantly get unfollowed.

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  38. vERONICA tUDOR says

    Thank you for this very useful post. Having joined Twitter only a couple of months ago, I am still learning about the proper etiquette and how to use hashtags and @ and so on, so this post contains very timely advice.

    I personally find it annoying when people post too many times per day, sometimes the same thing. I know it’s a “strategy” meant to make your tweets visible to as many people as possible, but it has made me unfollow one account I otherwise found very interesting. I simply went to the webpage and signed up for their weekly newsletter and felt much better :)) and I also unfollowed many others – I simply put them into “lists” and if I ever feel the need to see what they are up to, I’ll just go to those lists. But they’re not cluttering my feed anymore. And there are also others who post many tweets one after the other, be they pictures or thoughts. It really makes me want to unfollow those people.

    Another reason that made me unfollow some accounts was the retweeting of almost every (positive) tweet others made about them, their play/production etc. I know Twitter is used for promotion and for connecting, and is a brilliant tool for that too, but shouldn’t there be a measure in everything?

  39. Keasha Bell says

    This article is very informative! I’d like to add to #9. In addition to auto bots and sales, when a person follows you back, in the name of proper Twitter etiquette, do not send excessive direct messages. This behavior will get you unfollowed.

  40. Keasha Bell says

    One more thing: If you tweet someone, and they don’t respond, do NOT continue to tweet them excessively in hopes of receiving a response. This behavior will cause you to be muted or blocked!

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  42. Some Duderino says

    Pet peeve? People who take offense at everything. And I mean *everything.* They go out of their way to find tweets they consider offensive in order to be offended by them and so they tweet their shock and outrage.

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