Twitter timeline zero

Over the years, my Twitter followed list had become somewhat cluttered… Just over 4,000 accounts – the usual mixture of friends, family, colleagues, partners, thought leaders, brands and celebrities.  I’d had a few occasional cleanups, but put it this way, it was becoming difficult to see the wood for the trees.  The signal to noise ratio had become pretty awful, and most of the value I was seeing from Twitter came through the search terms I used in Tweetdeck columns, rather than from my timeline.  Thankfully, I’d never been a Twitter completionist, as quite frankly there was no way I had a hope of coming close in the past couple of years!

So what to do?


Put quite simply, it was time to start again.

So as of this morning, I’ve unfollowed every single account that I was was following:


How did I do that?  Well here’s the trick.  Open up your following list in Google Chrome, and scroll all the way to the bottom.  It currently loads 12 accounts at a time, so in my case I had to keep scrolling for a long time.  Then open the Chrome Javascript Console, and enter the following jQuery command:


Leave it to run for a few seconds, and you’ll see that every single ‘following’ button gets toggled back to ‘follow’.  Of course, if you wanted to just unfollow a sub-section of accounts, you could search for them and then run the command.

So what now?

My plan is to follow Luis Suarez’s example, and to start using lists in a big way to manage my Twitter use, and to allocate each to a column in my Tweetdeck dashboard.  I know this isn’t exactly revolutionary, but do think it will force me to be more selective over whom I let enhance/pollute my timeline, and thus my attention.  At the same time, I’ve opened up my DM preferences to allow anyone to direct message me even though I’m not following them…

I’ll let you know how it goes!

Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!
  • Hello Stu, WELL DONE!! I am pretty sure, even if you are getting started just a few hours ago, that it’s proved to be rather cathartic already and the ration signal / noise has changed dramatically. I know it has for me. It’s a bit over two months since I first did it myself and I have been enjoying it ever since! I can’t figure out a way for me to be back any more, and just keep going with Twitter Lists and open DMs.

    I am not sure whether things may change due to whatever circumstances, but so far I can tell you I’m enjoying the ability to focus on topics and conversations vs. following who you think you should follow. It’s amazing to see how the mindset and behaviours towards dialogue and conversations have shifted and for the better. Yes, there is an immediate effect I can share out there with everyone: you will be stuck with the same amount of followers once you get on board of this new way of using Twitter, as people wouldn’t want to necessarily just follow an account with zero follows, but pay attention to your public Twitter lists and those people put you on, because over time it’s going to grow like crazy and the beauty of it is how other people start using those lists. I know we both never really cared about the vanity metric, so in the long run you will be much better off, just like I am a couple of months down the line…

    It’s a bit of an exposure of working out loud through your Twitter feeds, but since I know you are a big fan of narrating your work, I’m pretty certain you will be enjoying the experiment. Let us know how it goes over the course of the next few weeks I bet there is a lot to be learned from this experiment and, who knows, we may be redefining a new way of working with Twitter, just like when @s and hashtags were introduced. Remember a day today without either of those? 😀 heh