Nearly Half of my Followers Unfollowed me, and I’m OKAY with it!

John Wylie —  September 2, 2012 — 23 Comments

I did something CRAZY in the social media – perception – world.
I ‘force unfollowed’ over 50,000 accounts yesterday.
That’s right, I purposefully cut my follower count in half .

I didn’t unfollow them – I forced them to unfollow me…how did I do that? Read on!

This is a pretty accurate description of how i felt…

I used a website [] that has a feature called ‘force unfollow’ (with their ‘pro’ level service) which basically blocks, then unblocks, whoever I select. The block & instant unblock makes it to where the said user does not follow you anymore. Pretty cool feature, if you ask me!
Well – let me break this down for you.

I don’t want to make my numbers the attractive thing to people.
I want the content I tweet, post and share to be the thing that draws folks.
Not the fact that I had over 100,000 followers on Twitter…
You know?

Also – there is something kind of lame about having over 50,000+ accounts that aren’t active, don’t have a bio, or don’t have a picture following you.
Kind of makes a person feel…fake?
And I don’t want that feeling anymore.

I want to be authentic in every aspect of my life…including my online presence.

I want to have a tribe of real people who actually care about what I say,
Not a bunch of (unintentional) spammy/fake/inactive accounts following me.
I want my numbers to be authentic.
I don’t want people following me just because some-odd-thousands of other accounts follow me.

I am going to keep trimming in days to come – but this 50,000 follower cut is by far going to be my most drastic change.

As with any bulk action like this, some people may have gotten caught in the formulas and firing line.
If you are one of these, please let me know in a comment?
I’ll be sure to fix any errors ASAP!

Most of all please just know this:
Follow me because you want to.
Because you enjoy my content.
No other reason. Please.

John Wylie

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John Wylie is the man behind the cartoon - a guy who enjoys drumming, hanging out with friends, and traveling. John is currently attending the SevenTen Discipleship Program with Ryan Dalgliesh in Texas - he plans to use this education to preach & teach all over the country (and hopefully, the world). John also feels very awkward typing in third person.
  • Joshua Jones

    The massive amount of fake twitter followers that have come to light as of late bring up great questions for us as media ecologists in terms of ethics. What site did you use? A mass unfollow button is an excellent tool for this problem.
    Joshua Jones recently posted..State of the WordMy Profile

    • John Wylie

      I used Tweepi. Had to pay for the ‘Silver Pro’ account. But that was only $8. Worth it – in my eyes – to bring balance back to my account again :)

  • Jo

    Your move is understandable, but what worries me about automated tools like these is that they could get your Twitter account suspended. You see, any mass-(un)follow type action is against their terms of use and it would scare me if using a tool like this could set off some algorithm with Twitter that would then automatically suspend the account… Weren’t you worried?

    • John Wylie

      I’ve been doing these sorts of things for a while, now. I used to follow chunks of 500-750 people a day…And then unfollow those who didn’t follow back w/ in a certain time frame.

      I think Twitter is used to my use of it, and it is nothing alarming to see something like this happen.
      But also – I am pretty sure there is nothing against the TOS for blocking/unblocking people. That is your right as a user…I don’t see why they would put limits/exceptions on that. You know?

      Anyway – All this being said. I wasn’t really all that worried…we will see what happens, though. I bet nothing comes of it.

  • Brian Alexander

    I support your decision. Just keep following me
    Brian Alexander recently posted..GHS Mutt Strut 2012My Profile

    • John Wylie

      I will ;D

  • @_mclaughlin

    Understand you totally, I have over 40k followers and there is little interaction now because I have a large following. I am getting rid of a lot ot of followers are well, not as many as you and not as fast.

    What service does 50k in a day? Twitter has the 1000 person rule in place for me.

    • John Wylie

      1000 person rule only pertains to following people. The site I used is called ‘Tweepi’ – I had to get the ‘Silver Pro’ management account. Then they have a new feature called ‘Force Unfollow’ – where it blocks then instantly unblocks whoever you select and confirm. You can do up to 100 a time with Silver. Just click the top person on the list, scroll down and Shift+Click the bottom person. Makes things a lot easier. Still took me about 2.5 hours to ‘force unfollow’ all those accounts. But that is because I’ve never done any sort of management like this before. Well worth it, in my eyes.

  • Jason Vana

    Smart move, John. I do a social media clean out about every 6 months or so – getting rid of spam/fake followers, unfollowing people I have not connected with and remaining how I want to use social media. It’s a great way to reorient myself and remind myself why I’m on social media to begin with.
    Jason Vana recently posted..Douglas WilsonMy Profile

    • John Wylie

      I figured this was long overdue. I will be keeping up monthly I think with this sort of thing, now. I don’t want that junk following me. I used to not care…but those days are gone. HA!

  • Rich Kirkpatrick

    Good job. Hopefully I am still followed? :)
    Rich Kirkpatrick recently posted..Are you a diva? – Four obstacles & strategies to prevent throwing a tantrumMy Profile

    • John Wylie

      sure you are. remember this was a FORCE UNFOLLOW – I made inactive accounts unfollow me…I’ve always made sure to not follow inactives. You’re safe.

  • tina aka: groovitude2007

    Please don’t unfollow me, John. I truly do value your writings and tweets, but you know that already. ;) This being said, I think I might have to do some serious cleaning out. I’m getting lots of spam type people following me, and I won’t add them. I don’t care how many followers I have. The fact that anybody cares enough to want to read what I write surprises me in the first place. When they follow, and are sincere, it’s awesome. :)

    • John Wylie

      you still follow me, i think. remember, this is a force unfollow of other accounts. I’ve always only followed certain peeps :)

  • Jon Stolpe

    Interesting idea. I don’t have nearly that many followers, and I’m not following that many people, but I can see how this would still be beneficial.
    Jon Stolpe recently posted..Consider The FlowersMy Profile

    • John Wylie

      it is a huge relief, for sure.

  • Rick Garner

    I applaud your effort here. When it comes to followers on Facebook, Twitter, or any community – everyone is different. Some like only close friends and family while some like to have as many brought in as possible. But unlike FB, Twitter seems to attract huge numbers the become inactive or fake accounts. And that’s where Twitter suddenly looks like a status thing. “Look! Look! Look how many followers I have!” But like you said, what’s valuable is that those are real people following you for your content.

    It seems very much like having “real” people in your life. Being surrounded by a posse that only fluffs up your ego and tells you want you to hear isn’t helpful. Just like having inflated Twitter numbers can give one a warm feeling of accomplishment, it’s empty.

    Plus, I think having these sort of fake followers invites spam and possibly identify theft. So, I would recommend everyone evaluate what you want out of your social media community and know that what fits you is all that matters.
    Rick Garner recently posted..Mercy ProjectMy Profile

    • John Wylie

      Sorry I am just now getting back to you! This feedback is sooo true! I am beyond being fake. For sure, and I could see how it’d be dangerous to have tons of spammers following you.

      Much love, and again, sorry for the super late reply.
      John Wylie recently posted..How to Promote Yourself Without ‘Self Promoting’My Profile

  • Melissa Tandoc

    I have actually noticed what you did and I laud you for it ~ practicing what you preach makes you authentic.

    Most of my followers are actually my FB friends. There are those who followed me and then unfollowed a few days after because I didn’t scratch their back…and there are those great people I me through Twitter…

    I am actually scared of those who I cannot do a background check on… perhaps I’ll try the app you used one day. Thanks for sharing this post.
    Melissa Tandoc recently posted..Day by DayMy Profile

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  • Shar

    Interesting. What I want to know is how in the Samuel L. Jackson do you ever get that many bloody followers? That’s insanity.