My Twitter Policy: Unfollow Celebs, Diva Wannabes and Hawkers

by Jan Geronimo on April 17, 2009

The Scottish Maiden, an older Scottish design.Image via Wikipedia

In the name of reciprocation in Twitter, I rid my follow list of some celebrities this afternoon. It’s a delicious and liberating feeling and I recommend you should do it too.

You see, you are the company you keep. The people around you defines you. So today, with that in mind, I’ve unfollowed nearly 150 people in Twitter. So off goes the head of Kevin Rose, Jane Fonda, some famous authors, some noted executives of Web 2.0 companies, and a lot of persistent internet marketers. And yes, Filipino tweeters, too.

There are lots of Twitter apps that will make unfollowing at one go. But not for me. I don’t mind swinging the axe myself. It’s a good work out. And yes, I’m using FriendOrFollow to check my follows, followers and those I have neglected to follow back.

Why I gave them the boot

1. Ice Queens and Kings. I can only be star-struck for a limited amount of time. Soliloquy belongs to the performing arts. This is Twitter for crying out loud. If I can’t have meaningful conversation with you or even delightful banter about ordinary things, I’m out of here.

2. Insufferable. I still can admire you – from a safe distance. When you are ready to release your encyclical for us lesser mortals I will just google it then. See? If you can be cold-blooded about limiting your company to a handful – well, sir, I’d give you a wide berth then.

3. Flatliners. All you do is spout quotations, proverbs, aphorisms. This is sickening. Kindly share what’s on your mind. Spice up your tweets with your own thoughts. If you listen hard enough, you’re bound to find one worth sharing.

4. Hawkers. All you do is sell, sell, sell. Hey, I will grow rich at my own sweet time, okay? And don’t tinker with my happiness or lack thereof. Let me tell you – this is what makes my writing a compulsion. This is the well I scoop blog post ideas from. So don’t go near it, okay? And yeah, about your posts, if these are really superb they will not go stale and shrivel from lack of attention. I’ll read them when I can – no need to bother me with direct messages.

5. Filipino divas. You’re inaccessible. It’s as if you’re not eating balut, or you’ve not tasted bagoong (pickled fish), or found yourself pointing with your mouth when asked for directions. Of course, I might change my mind next time we meet online.

Big names I will remain hopelessly star-struck with

I’ve reserved fifty slots for tweeters who I don’t mind even though they don’t follow back. Let me give you an example. The_real_shaq because even if I’m not sold on his basketball prowess, I find his random acts of shaqness a hoot. And there’s Dooce because I simply must have the lowdown about her daughter, dogs, husband. I also want to know what’s up with the Mormons these days. And there’s this sublime writer I consider my mentor. Will not tell you his name – but if you know me, you can already guess who he is.

And yes, I’ve followed Ashton Kutcher or @aplusk this morning at the prompting of @yatotchronicles . We both agreed that indeed the honor of being the first one to get one million followers should be a real human being and not CNN. By the way, Ashton won his bet against CNN. It was a fun race, but for a good cause, too. Ashton will be donating 10,000 mosquito nets late April for World Malaria Day.

Tell us your Twitter pet peeves

Over to you, guys. What will make you hit the unfollow button with uncharacteristic glee? Any famous tweeter you unfollowed lately? If you’re shy in revealing his/her name in your comment, feel free to tweet @jan_geronimo instead. That’s me, of course.

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Related Posts:
Finding the Right Balance Between Social Media and Productivity
Why Shacking Up with Twitter Injects Life to Your Blog
Hateful Online Behavior that Sets You on a Warpath

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  • jan
    And you're the only reader who had picked up on this point! I'm very pleased. Thank you, Holly.

    The bad news is that the notification email for your reply got buried in my inbox. :) I'm cleaning my inbox now. Good thing that I bothered to peek what's inside. :)
  • jan
    Waaah - stalker! ;) I'll eat my words, Elms. I'd follow Angelina too.
  • elmot
    but if angelina is on twitter, ill tweet her all day, eheheh

    Recent blog post: The Grand Engagament of Romance and Politics
  • Holly
    I'm basically lazy; if you get me to follow you at all, it takes something noticeable to get me to unfollow:





    Spam. And you've done a beautiful job of expressing just what's wrong with people offering to "change your life" or "help you find happiness" - but that's because we're not dissatisfied or discontented, and we recognize that without some fleeting experience of sorrow or pain, we have less depth and empathy in our writing. Can't have that, can we?

    Complete lack of updates (if I notice while using Twitter Karma or FriendorFollow).

    Recent blog post: A Winning Recipe
  • Jan
    @elmot: I can always watch her on cable anyway. :)
  • elmot
    i am happy tyou liberated youself of follwing jane fonda and the likes, ehhee!

    i think i should do this too. thanks for reminding me of liberating my twitter from following those kinds of people. har har har
  • Jan
    @joji: I understand you're quite busy these days. You did not promote your latest video, Joji. I think it will be a hit. If Susan Boyle can be such hit, you too can.
  • jojigirl
    Nah! Twitter? I didn't even bother to give it a toot, ",) So there aren't much ipots there to be cleaned by me.
  • Jan
    @ceblogger: In Tweetdeck you can create a list of friends, online buddies and personalities whose tweets you need to monitor. Then it will appear as a separate column in Tweetdeck, effectively screening out the Twitter noise.

    Of course, once in a while, you need to search who's talking about you in Twitter by typing @yourusername in the search box. Gosh, I think you already know this already.
  • ceblogger
    i have not followed that much people in twitter. some i followed (because they were in my blogrolls) had not made twitter updates for many months.

    the annoying twitters i have so far in my follow list are manageable. We live in different timezones so i can easily miss out their tweets.
  • Jan
    @yatot: You have 47 following, 88 followers. Nice, I think you'd do well as a member of the Senate Committee on Appointments.

    I'm partial to Ellen, but I will leave Oprah and Judy Ann to you.
  • yatot
    @jan: i did not twisted your arm! lols...

    hahahha... i followed @Oprah last friday.. same time as i followed @aplusk (Ashton Kutcher)... hahhaha.. now i am following ellen de generes aka @TheEllenShow... i dont care if they follow me or not... and i dont even mind if they are a celebrity or not... my own policy would be... i only follow who I want to follow and that's it! for the record... i only follow 47 people on twitter and I have about 88 followers! that's almost half of the people I am following!

    if ever judy ann santos decided to have a twitter account... i might as well follow her! hahahha... that's the beauty of twitter...! =D
  • Jan
    @trench: That's the same tactic I use. I stay away from applications that will bulk up my followers by thousands in just a day or two. Organic growth is a more sensible tack.

    It's absurd. Some tweeters have 3k following and 3k followers with only 10 updates. I keep myself away from those people. They're just there for the numbers, commerce, and not real conversations. Thank you for sharing.
  • trench
    I have a little more than 100 followers and following. Almost all exclusively friends or people I've met on the web. Not much for the "CELEBRITY THING". Good post!
  • Jan
    @earthlingorgeous: At least you have plurk, twitter's first cousin. As an evangelist for plurk, maybe a post is in the works to seduce us unbelievers to sign up?

    @ditesco: I use Tweetdeck too, but I'm not yet filtering tweets as I only have 1K plus followers. Besides, I'm a voracious tweet reader. I'm a little anxious I'd miss an important link, a fabulous tweet. I've developed a blind spot for hard sell tweets. If they don't get personal with me anytime soon, they'd be getting the axe as well. When I hit 3K or 4K I'd start filtering tweets.

    Cool. You're the first to notice bagoong and balut. Reminds you too much of home? Good, I'd like to trigger my good friends with good memories once in a while.

    Ei, I like it deep and penetrating. Makes for a more fulfilling exchange. Thank you.

    @bingkee: Twitter can be searched. Important topics you may have missed? Type the keyword, affix the hashtag # before the word, and presto you'd be served all the relevant keywords you might have missed.

    Works with your username, too. Type @bingkaycoy in the search field and you'd have all tweets mentioning your name. Cool.

    Well! The_Real_Shaq tweets all by his lonesome. That's what I like him. I wouldn't follow Britney even if she tweets herself, and not some paid hand. I don't dig her.

    @XP: I will petition to stop your graduation, XP. You've units missing in your masters program: You've failed to reg in Twitter, slacker. Pass that and I will be duly impressed, my good sir.
  • I am Xprosaic
    Hmmm.. i'm now considering signing in to have my own twitter...jijijijijij
  • bingkee
    Oh, I must add, that the points you raised in this post are true. I also un-follow the "snobs". And the ones who just "sell" and solicit favors repeatedly. I don't follow stars or celebrities---they are not the ones who really twit or blog---they hire somebody to blog and twit for them---don't you know that? Celebrities and stars lead busy lives --the price they pay for their fame and status, do you think they spend time on their PC's to twit? There was this article that I read online a year ago (I forgot where I read it) that celebrities do hire bloggers to blog for them . There are only a few who really do blog such as Red Sox former pitcher, Curt Schilling.
  • bingkee
    I have a Twitter account and sometimes Twit. But I really don't feel and get the hang of it you can see, I'm Twittarted (Twitter retarded) . I don't believe it can give enormous traffic to your blog way much better than any other social networking site because it is operating on a "timeframe" ...what you're twitting now is gone w/in 20 minutes later and will be missed by some. So how effective is that?
    Maybe if you have about 6,000 followers. But I am not good at gaining followers and I'm not good at wanting to follow people either.

    There are times, I un-follow people because they are annoying, or Twittering weird stuff , or Twittering about their mundane lives or they're offensive. Also 10 people had un-followed me probably because I don't have anything to say or twit other than promoting m y new post or responding to my friends' twits....i am not that person who likes to share interesting links , or my ordinary activities in life.or don't have anything to twit at all.
  • diTesco
    Hello Jan. A great image that reflects what you have recently done. I totally agree with you unfollowing those who don't matter.

    While I agree with you, I take a different approach. I use a Twitter client "TweetDeck" which is a fabulous tool. With this tool, I group all my best and favorite friends and this way I can be on a lookout for everyone that I am interested in (you for example:). Slowly but surely, I start adding in this group "real followers" and interact with them whenever possible. Occasionally I will look at the public timelime to see if there are some Tweets worth either ReTweeting or replying to.

    Now, this does not mean I do not unfollow annoying Tweeterers. Those that send massive Tweets over and over again are not only unfollowed but blocked. I follow some celebs just to see what they have to say. If I like it, good, if not, they just get ignored. I will have to agree with @fifi. In my sphere, you are one Celebrity. This comment is getting long----lol

    BTW, I missed the Balut and Bagoong. I love bagoong with green mango. Sorry for this long comment. Have a nice day
  • earthlingorgeous
    I'm not so much of a tweeter, I only post updates on my blog and that's it. I used to tweet with the first few bloggers I met at Blog catalog there but I'm no longer active. I'm more of a plurker.

    I don't add celebrities that I don't know for real or at lease we've been in touch. I don't just add friends kasi. I'd rather have few quality friends than more just for clutter.

    I will unfollow if you are rude to me. If not I'll let you be.
  • Jan
    @Dee: Yeah, it is a guillotine. I was initially searching for an axe, but a guillotine is more dramatic and hi-tech.

    Twitter, bloggers - the same principle works. I'd send you a link to a great guillotine - the one used in the French Revolution. That will be great.

    That sucks. What's the matter with those bloggers anyway. How can they resist your charm is beyond me.
  • Dee
    Is that a guillotine? The image, I mean. Katakot naman iyan, hehe. But it does deliver how serious you are with this topic.

    I haven't un-followed anyone in Twitter because I still don't understand Twitter up to now...:D

    But I'm thinking of maybe unfollowing bloggers who never takes the time to return blog visits...
  • Jan
    @george: And I followed right back. I don't want to be caught slacking off especially by a reader. Thanks!

    Well, we each have our ideals as to who we should listen to. The trick is to perhaps to trust more our instincts. And not to put much stock on what or who is popular.

    Thanks, George.
  • George Serradinho
    I just started to follow you now, thanks for commenting on my site.

    I follow a few people and you have given me the push to who I should boot out.
  • Jan
    @lemuel: Oprah? Well, who can argue with your choice. Not me for sure.

    Well, blogging is just an outpost for your blog. You don't sleep and eat in your outpost - you come home to your blog.

    I don't tweet while I write. I shut it down. But I can ask questions in Twitter about the post I'm writing: resources, sounding off ideas, you know. Then I write.

    Moderation is key to Twitter. As in everything.
  • lemuel
    just like you, i got star-struck when i saw the names of celebrities. but i also thought what's the point of following them if i am just 1 of their million followers. i do have exceptions of course, can't help to follow oprah, lance armstrong and john chow. i haven't seen any famous philanthrophists yet...

    and by the way, thanks for the posts, i got converted to being a twitter addict now... i don't know if its good or bad?...
  • Jan
    @fifi: *grinning from ear to ear* Cool.

    I'm still on a murderous streak. I've unfollowed Stephen Fry, Paula Abdul, John Cleese, some bigtime bloggers, the founder of Twitter and some internet marketers who hid under the table - as if they can escape my watchful eye. lol.

    I feel good!
  • fifi
    relative naman ang pagiging famous, so don't worry, you're counted in my list in the blogosphere (at least MY blogosphere). tibby won't budge; she hasnt been taken care of lately.
  • Jan
    @fifi: take your own sweet time. Perhaps you can assign Tibby to tweet for you.

    That's a misnomer, fifi. I can accept the thought I'm worth following, but famous? That's quite a stretch. And that will take an awful lot of hard work. ",)
  • fifi
    ang taray mo jan. lol. i havent opened my twitter for quite sometime, haven't maximized that yet. i include you among the likes of neil gaiman as the famous people worth following. hehehe.. i still dont understand how twitter works.
  • Jan
    @J: The big ones in Twitter have already made a name for themselves. That means they can afford to screen out tweets from the sweaty masses by using filters. Noise can be irritating for a celeb who values their privacy. I understand that.

    But it's the minor celebs who get to me. I know they're famous in their neck of the woods, but guess what, they'd be missing a lot with their tactic. So uncool.

    Yeah, you bring up a wonderful point about conversations. Indeed you're right, since basically that's what social media is about - conversations. If someone turns away from me when I try to talk with him/her that's not polite. And I will remember that.
  • J
    I can't see the point either of having people follow you on twitter if you can't even have a decent conversation with them, and they don't talk back to you.
  • Jan
    @Roy: It's a big thing for me that he fell in love with a much older woman. He's not an ageist. Point #1.

    I prefer BBC News to CNN. Point #2

    Yatot twisted my arm. Point #3

    Mosquito nets. Simple idea, but practical and extremely useful. #4

    I have this thing with axes and pointed objects - my editorial prerogative. ",)
  • Jan
    @zorlone: You caught me there. I have no editorial calendar for this blog. The upshot of which is that I'm scrambling to write my post. Always. I hate missing deadlines but I continue blogging hand to mouth. It's like living on edge every posting day. This must stop, I know, because it's madness.

    Oh, I just found out this: some of them are my Facebook friends. WTF. I don't understand that. We're practically share a common picket fence at Facebook and we're strangers in Twitter? What a mystery.

    I'm glad I sneaked the World Malaria Day. I forgot to put that in my draft.

    @Dan: Oh, the big momma. I mean Oprah. I prefer Ellen, but I have to check first if her tweets are as good as her tv show.

    You're not keen on big names in Twitter. So young and so wise. I should have met you earlier. Might have spared me a lot of unnecessary aggravation.

    @writerdad: Pruning one's twitter can tree can make it grow more healthy. Picking off dead leaves, and twigs...Now, that's what I mean by a lovely tweet: having time with your kids, and having donuts. Who can resist donuts? I know I can't. Thanks for sharing this lovely slice of life.
  • Roy
    So you were one of the reasons why Kutcher was able to defeat CNN in the race :)

    and I'm sure, you're keeping that axe razor-sharp always
  • Writer Dad
    What a wonderful post. I love that you unfollowed and I love that you articulated why. Okay, now I've got to go tweet this post real quick before I go downstairs to have donuts with the kids. Great post, really.
  • Dan Miranda
    I agree with you here: big name celebrities are out on my list on Twitter. Actually they were never involved with my followers. If I do follow one famous figure on Twitter it's got to be Oprah, but we'll see if she likes to "spit meaningless proverbs" as well. Thanks for this excellent post. :)
  • zorlone
    I just asked you what's new at twitter a while ago and here I am now. Coincidence? LOL. I figured you were not twittering early this evening and finally showed up late with the follow friday at twitter.

    Okay, pet peeve? Divas! They don't tweet back. Some of them, well I frequent their blogs but they don't seem to notice mine. Of course, I am but a lesser soul. Anyway, they might not think of themselves as Divas.

    Good post! Btw, I also added Ashton. That malaria cause struck me!

    So, everyone, let us follow the guy who wants to prove a point... @Jan_Geronimo, err, Ashton Kutcher or @aplusk!

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