Why I’m Not Unfollowing Everyone On Twitter. My Twitter Strategy Explained.

There’s a few people unfollowing everyone who follows them on twitter right now.
They each have their reasons.
Chris Brogan started this trend last week.

He’s a trend setter.  

I get it.
But that is also why I don’t auto follow people back on twitter.
People began following everyone back on twitter because their numbers would grow.
And they did.
But gone are the days where it’s important how many people follow you on twitter.
It’s now about WHO follows you back on twitter.

Here is my system.
I have 2 twitter accounts.
One I use to communicate with my social media amigos and one I use to simply just read a list of about 70 people whom I “really” follow.
If you look at my HooteSuite screen I have 4 columns.

The far left one is my “secret” account.
It’s not really secret. It is just not interesting for you.
Cause I don’t tweet from it.
I just only use it to follow people I actually know.
I don’t tweet from it. I don’t reply from it. I don’t DM from it. I just read it.
The next two are my @replies to my main @loswhit account and my DM’s to my main @loswhit account.
As you can see I don’t have a stream setup that actually reads 12k tweets in my main @loswhit timeline.
That would be insane and stupid.
So I use my @loswhit account to talk with you in real time.
The last column is a search column that I use to see who’s talking @$# about me and send my cousin Joey to beat them up.
It’s that simple.

Now my reasons for following everyone who asks me to follow them.
1. It speeds up communication.
When someone asks me how to get a hold of me, I say tweet me.
This turns 4 page emails into 140 character emails.
This turns 2 minute voicemails into 140 character voicemails.
It allows me to be connected to my tribe while not drowning in emails and voicemails.
The amount of time I spend answering emails has literally been cut 75%
2. It let’s me hang out with 22k people at a time.
I I don’t use an “autofollow” script.
This is why you are following porn.
This is why you get so much spam.
If somone asks me to follow them back so they can DM me, I do.
It’s simple.
Following real people will result in real conversations.
And when they do decide to accidentally type their credentials into a hacked site, and when I do get their spam messages, I let them know personally and they see me as even more a human than they did before.
3. Twitter is the new Google.
Gone are the days where I use Google to find where to go eat in a new city.
I now just tweet at you and you tweet back at me or DM me some of the most delicious plates in your cities.
You tell me what the best homeschool math program is.
You tell me when I mispell something on my blog.
You DM me about how offended you are when I post pictures of beer.
4. Did I mention it allows me to see who the up and coming social media ninjas are?
I’m not fooling myself into believing that I am the one with all the important stuff to say.
There are THOUSANDS of you who are coming up with WAY better crap than I am. And I get to see it all.
If you are interested enough to read what I have to spit, than I want to know who I am influencing, so I can in turn, be influenced.

So there you have it.
What do you think of my strategy?
What is your twitter strategy when it comes to how and why you use it?



Author loswhit

More posts by loswhit
  • So what you are saying is that you use Twitter in the way that suits you best? And you use common sense to follow people rather than automated programs? How dare you be so human.

  • Brilliant!!

    Has anyone ever told you how wise you are? You know what – I should tweet that 🙂

    I’m a nobody (at this time) and not famous (yet) Ha!
    And even though I want my tribe to grow (my first book comes out in 2 weeks) I never understood automatically following everyone back … I like to make choices about who is or isn’t in my world, so why wouldn’t I do that on Twitter?

    • Let me know when your book comes out! I want to help out a fellow ragamuffin!

  • I think your strategy is brilliant.

    I don’t auto follow or auto dm. And I typically follow people if they follow me…as long as they are a real person.

    I started using Twitter out of curiosity about 2 years ago and fell in love with how easy it is to connect with like minded individuals.

  • absolutely love this. 100%. and i think you’re being very wise in the way you thought all of this through…

  • This has always been my philosophy too. I never auto-followed and consequently my numbers don’t reflect the amount of time I spend engaging with incredible people on Twitter. I love lists…that’s how I stay on top of the good stuff! Christian blogger lists, SM ninja lists, PSU football lists, etc.

  • I’m pretty selective about who I follow back — but I’m not nearly as public a person as you are. I only have ~300 people to keep up with, and I have to use lists to keep up with it all. And I rarely get to read all of it. I can’t even imagine having 12k people to keep up with! Lots of community, sure. But lots of stuff you’re not interested in, too.

    As long as it works for you, that’s the important part. Keep doing what you’re doing!

    • Los

      you know it!

  • Great strategy…maybe i should adopt that dual account piece. Anyway, keep up the good work Carlos!

    • Los

      Thank Jonathan!!!

  • Humanity is moving towards an automated experience. That is what Adam Sandler’s movie Click was about, Thats what the Terminator movies are about, and in they end they all lead you towards The Matrix.

    However, humanity, and especially Christianity was meant to be spontaneous and relational. I am Glad you are being a Rebel and not just lining up with your peers. I am trying to get rid of people I follow who don’t give me a good reason to keep after them. You continually give me a reason.

    • Los

      Thank hombre

  • Since we are fairly new tweeters, we asked around a few months ago for the ”rules”. We got a few varied responses. We do follow those in our ”genre” everyone else are those we find interesting or those blogs we followed before we became marriedspice…haha,like YOU. Since we are thinking in terms of ”helping” then it makes sense, esp if someone wants to DM, they ask if we’ll follow. One marriage site told us to divide up in lists, (we have 2)and to follow everyone in order to help them. I can’t seem to do it that way. I like your ideas a lot though. thanks!!!

    • Los

      Thanks Cherry!!!

  • I actually think it’s pretty dadgum brill. Gonna ponder this for a while. Like really ponder.

    • Los

      Thanks herman a

  • Jim Hughes

    Thanks for the post. I never subscribed to the auto follow thing, but then I didn’t have anything to promote. I selectively follow people back — if they’re real, and they have interesting tweets. So I don’t need to unfollow all either.

  • I think your strategy is just right.

    A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, I tweeted that there were 2 people I followed even though they didn’t follow back, because they were worth it: you and someone else (who still doesn’t follow me, and who I still follow.)

    I agree with Jamie the VWM that Twitter should be a 2-way street, unless you’re a bona fide celebrity…and I don’t follow celebrities (except for Roger Ebert.) Thinking you’re “too big” to follow people back, just cause you have a few thousand followers, is a little silly.

    I don’t automatically follow back just to retain spammy followers…I follow back if a person 1. engages with other people, and 2. is generous and not just hawking their own “stuff.” Aren’t those things, really, the unspoken Twitter code?

    I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how many relationships I’ve built via Twitter, and by how much I’ve enjoyed interacting with people.

    Well, you asked. 🙂

    Appreciate your stuff very much.

  • Forgot to mention…after my long-ago Tweet, you followed me back.

  • First off, I don’t have an extremely influential platform outside of my family, co-workers, and folks I fellowship w/ weekly at CC Pacific Hills. For the most part, I’m cool w/ that. If I ONLY influence/lead my wife & kids to follow Christ then I feel as though I have accomplished my main objective in life.

    BUT, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a desire to one day have the opportunity to influence/minister to/communicate the same gospel message & mission that I convey to my family to MANY more people.

    I have found that the only way in which I can increase my influence/platform, I have to HUSTLE by interacting w/ folks. I generally am the one who initiates contact w/ folks until slowly, but surely, I build a ‘digital relationship’ w/ ppl… and w/ some they actually begin to interact w/ the content I share. I aspire to be used by God in big ways, bigger than I can generate — so, as silly as it sounds, I pray that God uses my twitter account to further my dreams & ambitions that I prayerfully place into God’s hands.

    What I do is this: I ‘binge follow’ & ‘purge unfollow’

    Some days I go to someone’s profile like yours or Pete Wilson’s and start following folks they follow (usually ppl who have an interesting bio) … I keep an eye on them in my timeline… If they say cool stuff, I continue to follow & interact. And I love it when they follow back :^)

    If they don’t tweet anything worth reading, I purge & unfollow. If they follow me back, then I continue to follow them. If they have nothing great to say, I ‘mute’ them (either for a month to give them another chance later or just forever if they are lame or annoying) — also I use the ‘tweetbot’ app for iPhone to do most of my twitter stuff (tweetbot offers the ‘mute’ feature)

    Additionally, i use justunfollow.com to see who started following me so I would follow them & then they drop me… I usually unfollow those folks.

    I don’t want to just have a ton of followers, I’d like have a community w/in my twitter account that challenges me, encourages me, and is willing to help me out every now & again. I, in turn, want to be that to others…

    God bless ya bro.

  • Mike Brennan

    Interesting strategy. Thanks for sharing! I do however think Twitter can only replace google if you have the kind of tribe you’ve got. Many times I’ve asked questions with little response (or response coming from FB). I still gotta Google 🙂

  • shellie (baylormum)

    Not a problem for me. I only have 21,800 less followers than you. Not interested in movie stars, marketers, porn, etc. But, in real people in real time that have real issues. That pertain to the life I am trying to live. One day at a time.
    And it has been a lifeline for me since becoming unemployed nearly 3 (yes, 3, Los) ago. And I moved twice in 2 years after living in 1 place for 20+ years.
    I <3 this community of ragamuffins. And I <3 the people I have actually met & hugged. I am humbled and amazed at what God has brought together!

  • I love your strategy. I think it’s very human and relatable. Plus, you’re just real and I think that’s really refreshing to a lot of people. You’re accessible and available to whomever wants to reach out to you; and a lot of people in your position of influence aren’t. So thank you.

    My strategy? I follow ’em back if I know ’em. And I interact with the people I follow. It’s amazing the difference that little investments make in relationships.

    What you sow, you reap… even on Twitter.

  • Once again you come through as a clear voice of reason in the static.

  • I resisted joining Twitter for a long time because I didn’t really have a use for it. I eventually joined so I could follow you and Jon Acuff. No joke. I follow a bunch of people from my church, a few bloggers, and some celebrities. I don’t have many followers, and that’s fine with me because I mostly care about reading other people’s feeds. I think I once had someone reply to me and I didn’t find it for a few weeks because I didn’t really know how to work Twitter. I’m still trying to figure out the lists thing. I think it makes sense to use Twitter just how you want to. From the tweets I read, you seem to use it well.

  • Brilliant Los.

    Just curious…
    Why did you create a whole new account to follow the “real friends” instead of just using the lists feature?

    • Was about to ask the same thing. But I hope Los answers you.

  • Phronsie Howell

    You spelled “misspell” wrong. 😛

    Sounds like a pretty common sense strategy to me.

  • Love it dude!

  • Kim S.

    Funny thing. I didn’t know who you were until you followed me on twitter, Los. Totally serious. Then shortly after I had heard that you had been to Seacoast and totally missed hearing you. Come back to the Charleston area again soon.

  • Sounds like a fabulous plan. Just found your blog and I love it. Keep it comin’…

  • I follow people that I find interesting and with similar interests; generally other Christians. I thank everyone for following me, but I don’t follow all of them back. I really dislike when people follow me just so I will follow them back. If asked to follow and they just don’t interest me, I don’t follow back. I don’t read every tweet, I just can’t do it. I have a job and it’s not in social media. Besides, I take care of my husband’s account too, until he can learn how to use it and manage his own account. I think as a personality Carlos, what you’re doing sounds like it works well for you.

  • Love the plan. Follower #’s don’t matters to me. Since I’m not one that a lot of people follow, there’s no need to worry about multiple accounts. I generally only follow people in two categories.

    1. People I will likely have interaction with on common interests.

    2. People I follow to learn stuff from or b/c they generate great discussion (like you!)


  • Jan

    I love your Twitter strategy and your heart, Carlos! Like many on here, I follow a group of people I find interesting, and as they reTweet or refer to other people, I slowly expand my list. I edit it from time to time, and I’m sure that in this upcoming political season I will narrow it further because I’m firm in that I won’t tolerate negative political discourse. I am often surprised at who/what follows me, and I always block obvious spam or porn addresses. I use my personal Twitter account for fun and inspiration, not necessarily in that order, and to learn. I use my work Twitter account to promote the company I work for, and am very careful about who the company is seen to follow. Why would anyone want to open themselves up with an auto-follow? I’ve never understood that. You’ve been a great eye-opener and inspiration Los, thank you!

  • I love it. Way to buck the trend.

  • Thank you. For following me simply to allow the opportunity for a conversation. I’ve taken you up on it a couple of times even & you replied. Thank you for interacting. Made me feel like someone cares about me even if we don’t really know each other.

    I appreciate your post after getting multiple tweets by Christian leaders “I unfollowed x many people, here’s how”.

    This was refreshing & a good reminder that the focus of life should be on the people around us.

    Thank you.

  • i think it’s appropriate you blurred your DM column. i’ve seen what you DM.

  • Joey Bergeron

    Great way to use twitter. I agree with keeping contact with twitter instead of email because of the character limit. It makes people get to the point. There is no need to go into all kinds of detail and if so them DM to say that a call needs to be setup. Simple! #Boomsauce!

    So since we are talking about Twitter and you and following and DM’s, I must have tried to get followed by ya for a while now. At no fault to you, your kind of a busy guy. Wanted to get an address thats good to send your birthday present. 😉

  • Katdish

    My friend @candysteele sent me over here. Great thoughts. I suppose people can use twitter anyway they see fit, and I don’t have a gajillion followers hanging on my every word, but my twitter philosophy is much like yours. I like people. Well, most people, anyway. And I love that I can get on twitter and exchange ideas with people I probably never would in the non-virtual world. Or I can just tweet stupid stuff and find others who don’t mind so much when I complain that my dog is being a jerk. I do think twitter is a platform, but I think people who see themselves as the main attraction rather than part of an ensemble are missing the point. But what do I know?

  • tam


  • I think this is a great strategy. I’ve sometimes wondered what the best follow back approach is.

  • I followed the trend and did a big unfollow. But I’m adding anyone who wants me to back and the people i try to keep up with…

    Hopefully it will eliminate some of the junk without the negative side effects.

    I haven’t done AutoFollow in a long long time but I still was getting slammed with SPAM as of late.

  • Great stuff!

    So far I have only had one strange follower on my twitter account…that i returned the following favor, and it was a spam factory….GRRRRRRRR…so I have only had to un-follow one person.
    Thanks for the thoughts!


  • This post shows that you are wise. I love reading your blog.

  • Agreed. Great perspective.

  • Freakin’ Twitter!!! I started seeing all these folks do the unfollow like it was the new dance on Twitter. I like new dances, but, your old school dance tricks always put up a challenge! 🙂

  • I follow you back.
    I like you.
    I hear the drum you’re marching to.

  • So that is why you have told me so many times that you wish I would twitter more (which I haven’t done in a long, long time). <3

  • I love posts like this. It helps me to see how many cool ways there are to use Twitter. Twitter is a tool…with potential. You just showed me another way that potential can be used to benefit relationships. Plus, I really like the way you write and explain your rationale. Thanks for keeping it real.

  • I like your take on twitter. Even though nothing you have suggested really applies to me(I only have 68 followers, and I know most of them personally) I will definitely use your words of wisdom if(when) i get twitter popular.

  • Los, I do something similar, but using one account and Twitter lists. Just create a private list in Twitter, put the people you really follow on that, and put the list as a column in hootsuite.

    I auto-follow back because it saves time. Everybody who follows me can DM me any time without asking.

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  • thanks for voicing a different strategy than the ‘unfollow’ one that seems to becoming popular. As you stated Twitter is an amazing tool if you are careful who you follow and group them appropriately.

  • I’ve had a bit of a social media crisis this week. I love social media, I learn so much from it, follow interesting people, exposed to new ideas, food, restaurants, quotes, book and music recommendations – I love it!
    But when I saw all the chatter (and now blog posts) of tweeps talking about unfollowing everyone, it made me a bit sad. People want to have followers, want to influence others but haven’t the time or inclination to follow them back! Is social media about real connection or self -promotion? Is it for interaction or just marketing? And I became very sad.
    But this week, instead of just being sad about it, I started actually interacting. And someone I respect (that had unfollowed people) followed me back, simply because I replied to a question. I listened to a wonderful sermon because someone tweeted a link to it, clicked on this blog post to you because of twitter, and retweeted several friends tweets because I wanted to help spread the word about their ministry.

    My point? All this talk about “unfollowing” everyone and only following the “important people” IMO defeats the true reason I joined twitter. The internet in so many ways evens out the playing field, invites everyone to interact. But then I learned that most people don’t really care about the average person, but they want to influence the average person! But maybe I’m okay with that, after all, perhaps I am also a consumer. I follow them for their ideas and links and thoughts, so even if I’m not valuable to them, they are in many ways still valuable to me.

    When I read your post, it made me happy to be on the medium of twitter. I’m in no way “influencial” and I don’t think that most folks would seek me out to follow but I do like it when others follow me because I don’t feel isolated, but this week I am finally realizing that maybe its okay to join the conversation and interact, even if I am not “influential”. It’s certainly a lot more fun this way. Thanks for the post and explaining your twitter philosophy.

  • I just need to know why i’m not part of the 70 who you really care about. I’m pissed. 😉

  • Awesome post Carlos. Thanks for sharing this. I love it when people have such intentionality behind what they do.

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  • Note to self: Place @loswhit in the beer-drinking heathen list.


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  • I only follow people with similar interests (ex: worship leaders, writers, bloggers, ice cream eaters, etc). I don’t automatically follow back if I don’t feel I’ll benefit from reading a person’s content. It’s worked for me so far. 🙂

  • Karen

    Love this post and use Twitter similarly. Thanks for bucking the trend and sharing your plan..

  • I’m so social-media clueless… 1 – I didn’t even know that you could auto-follow, so I never did – not that I would have anyway and 2 – what the heck is a mass unfollow? (lamesauce).

  • @abh4

    Seems like a sound strategy, but how do you deal with twitter burnout? I love twitter though I still get burnt out now and then with only 1 account! Can’t imagine dealing with a second!!

  • That’s similar to my strategy, only i found it cumbersome to manage multiple accounts, especially on my phone. So i only follow back genuine people or entities I care about (like my local news station) and use private groups for reading select groups of users (similarly to what you use your secondary account for). While I’m following thousands, I’m usually only following groups of a couple dozen depending on my mood at the time (philly fans during an eagles game, political people during a debate, etc.)

  • Hahaha, I love that you searched “lowshit” in the search bar. http://static.ragamuffinsoul.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/tweet.jpg

  • My Twitter experience has improved tenfold since I started following real people. Most of us start by following famous people we’re interested in. They won’t follow you back (why would they?) and only a handful will ever interact with you. I’ve had many hilarious nights conversing with people I’ve never met and probably never will. (I also rarely get dressed before 10am now, cheers Twitter!)

  • Am I the only one that has grown tired of Twitter lately? I like Twitter, I do. But lately it’s become a job of making sure I keep my tweets and @replies balanced so I’m not just a Twerk.

    White Whine over.

  • I have two twitter accounts. One is personal where I follow my family and friends and tweet things like where we are all going in Las Vegas if anyone wants to have dinner with us. The other is on statistics and related topics. People who are interested in statistical analysis follow it. I don’t autofollow anyone. If a person follows me, I look at his/ her tweets and if interested, I follow that person back. People who tweet 20 times a day, I unfollow. No one is that interesting. People who tweet 20 times a year I unfollow because it’s kind of pointless to follow someone who doesn’t go anywhere.

  • I follow people that will result in conversation and relationship, some that I have been influenced by over the years. I don’t hit the follow button once I get notification that someone follows me. Once they remain on my followers list for at least a week I will follow them, if they disappear within that week I know they were looking for numbers not relationship and if they disappear right after I follow them I unfollow because they were after numbers. That’s my model for twitter. Facebook for me is all about real relationships and thats it.

  • Great piece. @loic did the unfollow and refollow thing 2 years back.

  • Zella

    your strategy makes my head hurt. But then twitter generally makes my head hurt. Maybe because I don’t have a twitter strategy.

  • John

    Good stuff. 🙂

  • By no means does this negate the merits of your approach, but it strikes me that you’ve decoupled your influence.

    No one has a reason to follow your “listening” account, so it will be perceived as low-influence (by, e.g. Klout). Meanwhile, your “speaking” account will be measured as influential, but that influence will be spread thinly among many followers.

    You could be faulted for doing a disservice to the people you find truly interesting, as you are listening to them covertly and robbing them of measurable influence they actually have. This is a flaw of the “friend means follow” structure of twitter rather than of your usage of it, but nontheless if you foundme interesting enough to actually listen to, I’d be disappointed to not reap the reward in measures.

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