How To Be A Good Twitter Citizen

Posted by Si Dawson on 17/03/10 in tips

Fundamentally, The Twit Cleaner exists to help you become a better Twitter citizen - and to surround yourself with the best possible people.

Of course, there is value to following news feeds (all links) or celebrities (no follow back) etc but here are some tips on how you can be a better member of the Twitter community.


Retweeting (whether old style "RT @name message" or the new style) is a great way to do several things. First, it shares valuable material with your followers. Second, it's a way of saying thank you, & passing kudos to the person you're retweeting.

Obviously the more you retweet, the more people are likely to retweet you, spreading your message far beyond simply those currently following you. This, of course, is also likely to get you more followers.

Now, you don't want to retweet too much (or only retweet), because also important is:

Personal Content

Just posting links all the time - while informative, doesn't give people a feel for the kind of person you are. People don't want to connect with a company (or a bot), they want to interact with other people. That's what's so great about Twitter, it enables human connection in a way that blogs & old media really don't.

Now, this doesn't mean telling everyone what you had for lunch, necessarily (yawn!), but remember - you're a human first, and a content spreader or news provider second.

Engage! Connect! Communicate!

@reply to people who say interesting things. Reply to those that talk to you. Firstly, it's polite. Secondly, it's a great way to make friends, discover exciting new opportunities, and, frankly, one of the greatest things about Twitter.

Now obviously people with zillions of followers won't necessarily be able to reply to every single comment made to them (much like restaurants, the rules for celebrities are slightly different than for us normal folk), but at least make an effort.

If you never talk to anyone, how are you any different from an RSS feed? Youtube, TV or a newspaper? You're not. Besides, there are so many wonderful people out there - it's fun! Start chatting!

Variety is important

Posting the same link over & over is tedious - and people switch off from that very quickly. If you're losing followers, or all your followers are dead accounts? That'll explain why.

People aren't stupid. They're not on Twitter coz they want the same thing repetitively rammed down their throats. If they wanted that, they'd be watching adverts on TV.

Same goes for posting the exact same tweet over and over. That's just ridiculous. Now of course, if you have a product launch, or you want to attract people in different timezones, you may need to repeat yourself a bit - but mix it up. It's not hard to rephrase things, try different wording & so on. If nothing else it keeps you more interesting - but also, it's basic human psychology that people respond to different stimuli (verbal, aural, visual, mental imagery, etc). So, it's actually smart to vary your message - you're more likely to appeal to a greater audience by doing so.

Don't go crazy

While Twitter can be a very exciting place to be, churning out thousands of updates a day is just going to flood people's tweetstreams.

If you're following 40k people, it can be very easy to forget, but 90% of active users follow fewer than 2000 people. If you include all the half-arsed dead accounts out there, it's probably closer to 98%. If you are posting 50 times a day, you're going to flood everyone else they care about off their front page.

I've analysed a ton of accounts, and it's actually pretty hard to set off the alarms in this regard - & of course, if all you're doing is chatting to people, that's totally fine - since conversations with them only go to them (& anyone else following them). If every tweet you do is public though? Maybe tone it down a little, for the sake of everyone else out there. Quality, not quantity, remember?

Getting feedback

If you want to know how you're doing on all these points? When you're logged into The Twit Cleaner now, on the front page, there's a link "How do I look to The Twit Cleaner." That'll tell you exactly how you're doing. It'll also give you tips on how to improve your game & get even better in the future.

The basics

Other than that - try to follow people back (if they appeal). Don't @ tons of people in one tweet (except RT's & follow friday, of course) - either talk to one person, or just DM them.

Oh, & one last point - don't sell crap on Twitter. Seriously, if people want white teeth, they'll google it, or, & here's a crazy thought, talk to a dentist.

Cutting Back on DM Spam

Posted by Si Dawson on 24/11/09 in tips

Running The Twit Cleaner is great for cutting back on public timeline spam, but what about DMs?

Here are a few tricks that work well:

1. (This is the biggie) TweetLater/SocialOomph

You wouldn't think it, but the vast majority (90+%) of auto-DMs come from users of this software.

Go here, & follow the instructions. Or, if you can't be bothered following that link, do this:

  1. Follow @OptMeOut
  2. When @OptMeOut follows you back, it'll DM you to let you know
  3. Send a DM to @OptMeOut (anything at all, eg "Hey! Stop spamming me, thanks!")
  4. Unfollow @OptMeOut (totally up to you, just keeps it private)

Voila, no more auto-DMs from Social Oomph.

2. Unfollowers.Me

Go here. Click the big blue "Add me to DND List" (DND = Do Not DM). Authenticate through Twitter. Finally, go to your Twitter connection settings & revoke access.


Go here. Click the big button "Don't send me any direct messages", allow access when Twitter asks, then go to your Twitter connection settings & revoke access.


For some reason blip hasn't set up any automated process to do this (can't think why not). However, they promise that if you email with the usernames you want removed, they'll do it. If that doesn't work, just hassle @blipfm on Twitter.

5. Mafiawars

Similar to, you'll need to send an email to with your Twitter usernames.


Go here. It'll take you straight to Twitter to verify your identity, then back to their site to finish the process. Go back to your Twitter connection settings & revoke access.

This site has been pretty broken recently - the above page errored, & now when you go there, it errors again when saving your request. The good news is, if it's broken like that, it's very likely not sending out spam auto DMs. If/when they do get it sorted, the above process will work.

Just follow these instructions for any you DMs you get - or all of them in advance if you want to be proactive. I'll add to this list as I find more ways to cut back on some of the crap on Twitter.

Anything to help Twitter be more awesome.