Following somebody on Twitter is always a small leap of faith. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out, for whatever reason. 

A couple of days ago I created an online poll to try to identify the common reasons for unfollowing people on Twitter.

More than 500 votes have since been cast and as such we can now start to analyse the results.

Based on the survey, it would appear as if the worst crime you can commit as a Twitter user is to be too noisy. This was the number one reason cited by respondents for clicking the ‘unfollow’ button. 52% of people said they had waved goodbye on this basis.

In second place was too much self-promotion (48%), so shameless, narcissistic hawkers should keep an eye on their churn rate, if that kind of thing bothers them.

Also scoring highly, in third place, were those guilty of posting too much spam (47%). 

At the other end of the scale, I often see people complaining about being fed up with ironic hashtags, but only 10% of people said this is a reason for unfollowing somebody.

Why do people unfollow others on Twitter: the results in full

  • Too noisy (tweets too often) [52% – 271 votes]
  • Too much self-promotion [48% – 249 votes]
  • Spammy [47% – 245 votes]
  • Not interesting enough [43% – 226 votes]
  • Too much repetition [29% – 152 votes]
  • Too much automation [29% – 151 votes]
  • Offensive / unprofessional [28% – 146 votes]
  • Too many ‘begging tweets’ [28% – 145 votes]
  • Too quiet [27% – 141 votes]
  • Foursquare / check-in abusers [22% – 115 votes]
  • No conversational tweets [21% – 108 votes]
  • Crimes against grammar [18% – 93 votes]
  • Too many retweets [17% – 90 votes]
  • Auto / DM abuse [16% – 86 votes]
  • Hashtag abusers [10% – 52 votes]

Other reasons

I also included an ‘Other’ option, to allow respondents to suggest their own reasons for unfollowing people on Twitter. Here are some of the more interesting ones:

  • People who RT their #FFs… This makes me apoplectic
  • Companies constantly retweeting every scrap of positive customer feedback they’ve received ever
  • Monitoring following/follower ratio
  • Self obsessed/egotists
  • Ghost writers
  • Allowing Klout to broadcast score
  • Swearing, i.e. people who need to wash their mouth out or buy a dictionary
  • No longer involved with an organisation in real life.
  • Bills themself as an expert on a niche subject, but then 50% of tweets are about rugby, cupcakes, reality shows…
  • Bypassing 140 character limit by just spliting into seperate tweets
  • Too negative about everything.
  • Not giving credit to sources. Feeds are fine if I have followed knowing that’s going to be the case.
  • Too snarky / political / my-opinion-is-always-right
  • Too many quotations

The poll remains live. You can click on the results, and then select ‘See All’ underneath ‘Other’ to see all 65 responses.

A big thanks from me to everybody who took the poll.