How to unfollow Twitter friends who are boring (and stay friends)

twitter mute

Chances are that if you’re among the Tweeple legions, you’ve encountered this problem at one time or another. Every time you visit your Twitter account, you notice this someone’s mundane, put-you-to-sleep tweets have taken over your wall – yet again.

Tweets like:

“The line is sooooo LONG at Ikea.”

“Just got my pupils dilated and I can’t see.”

“Good Morning!”

(And yes, horrifyingly enough, the above are real scenarios I’ve dealt with.)

Now if you aren’t close friends with the boring tweeter, there’s the easy 1-step solution of “unfollowing” them. Done. Never see those tweets again.

Unfortunately, the trouble arises when said boring tweeter is actually a close friend in the offline world. One that’s a keeper. All in all great personality and very good friend material (funny, charismatic, clever)… but for some reason on Twitter none of this comes through and they’re a brick. (A BORING brick at that.) Or they’re simply clueless on how to use Twitter – the right way.

Even more unfortunate is the fact that you KNOW they would be very angry or upset if they noticed you weren’t following them anymore. Even though they won’t say it. What to do?

For most people, the sad conclusion is to do nothing. We simply can’t find a discreet way to unfollow our boring Twitter friend, so we continue to cry every time we see another update about how amazing Twilight is.

So for those of us who feel badly about unfollowing a friend because they’re boring, I’ve spent countless hours researching the web (nothing) and brainstorming (aha!) various strategies to circumvent the drama/awkwardness with unfollowing friends on Twitter. So until Twitter comes up with a better system… cheers to successfully putting an end to boring tweets:

1. Pretend it was Twitter’s fault. Your friend doesn’t receive a notification when you unfollow them. If you’re lucky, they will never notice. On the off chance they do, well, explain that Twitter must have suffered a glitch or something. Not highly improbable considering all its server issues.

2. For you lucky iPhone users, there’s a muting app. It’s called Twittelator Pro (funny name). With this iPhone app, you get all the communication features of most other Twitter apps, but in addition you can temporarily mute noisy or boring Twitter friends on your phone. (Meaning you can choose to unmute them someday. Maybe.) All this for $5.

3. Be straight with them. Try this if they ask why you’ve stopped following: “I thought you would be more interesting, but your tweets are boring so I stopped following.” If they’re a true friend, they’ll understand the pains of being bombarded with dull tweets, and they will still like you. (Maybe.)

4. You’re streamlining your following list. Explain to them that you wanted a more “quality” experience from Twitter and have decided to keep your following list capped at 12 people or so. The downside is (depending on the size of your list) you’ll have to sever a lot more connections than this one. And they might still be hurt they didn’t make your top 12 on top of that.

5. You can’t take the foul language. WARNING: Make sure they’re using foul language before you provide this as an excuse. Otherwise awk-ward.

Depending how bad it is…

6. Delete and start over. And hope they don’t find your new account.

If all else fails. One word: Tweetlejuice. Try it.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

[Note: Twitter is notorious for having a low retention rate for users because of all the “noise” in their network. There’s an overwhelming amount of tweets that no one cares about. This current system of removing people from your follow list is meant to help shield us from spam, but it’s also useful for boring tweets.]

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21 Comments on “How to unfollow Twitter friends who are boring (and stay friends)”

  1. haha… i dont tweet about twilight, i tweet about new moon now. jk. XD btw, i used tweetdeck to solve the problem. I separate the tweeple i’m following into 3 groups. Celebs, Interesting, and oh-so-boring. And the latter was moved to the furthest side of the column so i’ll never ever read them. Smart, eh?

  2. Jen Says:

    I have a better solution but I mainly use Tweetdeck so this may not work for everyone. Just set up a “boring tweeters” column. Then ignore everything in it. No-one gets offended and you don’t get fed up reading those “just had my hair done” tweets. 🙂

    • SocialBee Vicki Says:

      I must be out of the loop with the whole Tweetdeck thing because Trecia came up with the same genius solution. This shall be #7 on the list now… before resorting to Tweetlejuice, haha. Thanks!

  3. How to unfollow Twitter friends who are boring (and stay friends)…

    Twitter’s twittilits are amazing. most of the followers for me are perminant friends. A few, I follow back, the others, I don’t because, well their dull as dish soap.

  4. danof89 Says:

    Wondering how many people dropped me in the time it took to watch this. But it’s funny. ‘scuse me gotta’ run. . . . what happened to @JohnCMayer ?

  5. You could also passively unfollow by creating groups in Tweetdeck or Seesmic, not including the annoying “friend”. No one will know.
    But if its really blabla, than I would personally unfollow him/her.

    • SocialBee Vicki Says:

      You’re able to do what so many of us (or maybe just me) are too afraid to. Props. Thanks for mentioning Seesmic as an alternative to Tweetdeck!

  6. […] This post was Twitted by makayla_53yx […]

  7. loneplacebo Says:

    Fantastic post. Tell your friend that, “Chuck Norris made me do it.” He/She will understand right away.

  8. […] per sorridere un po’, ecco le tecniche per togliere come follower i contatti Twitter più noiosi senza rovinare l’amicizi… […]

    • Vickster Says:

      Hurrah for this shout-out from our Italian friends. I must say the title of the blog in Italian looks pretty spiffy.

  9. Emily Says:

    I’ve gotten to the point this weekend where I’m agonizing over a situation like this, and it’s really not something one should have to agonize over! A friend has dominated my Twitter stream from top to bottom at least four times in the last few days with messages that either don’t interest me or don’t even mean *anything* to me at all.

    I would quietly unfollow her, but she regularly sends me DM’s (the only worthwhile messages she ever posts to Twitter, actually!) so it wouldn’t be long before she figured it out.

    I thought about saying, “I’m gearing my Twitter use toward more professional interests,” but she is the type who would continue to follow me out of heartfelt support and genuine interest in what I’m saying, and so she’d see right away that I still do tweet “recreationally.”

    The thing is, she is a self-admitted “chatty” Twitterer. When someone knows and admits this about their Twitter habits, does that make it easier to unfollow them?

    • Vickster Says:

      Wow Emily, I can tell you’ve put a lot of thought into this and I feel for you.

      Have you tried using Tweetdeck as an organizer? It’s a free app from Twitter (mentioned by commentators above) where you can place tweets you really don’t want to see so much in their own different column. Then at least your friend won’t take over your main Twitter stream.

      It’s a tough call on whether to simply unfollow this friend to resolve the issue once and for all – it really depends on your relationship. If hinting at perhaps her chattiness is overwhelming to others doesn’t work, then there’s no reason you should keep seeing your stream taken over by her tweets. Go with your heart.

      • Emily Says:

        I’m using Seesmic (I got used to its web-based client at work, where I can’t install a client, so adapted it at home, too) and I’m trying the group option. Now, if I have my chatty Twitterer in one group (called “Shhh”) do I have to put all my other followees in a different group and watch that, rather than watching the “Home” column?

  10. Vickster Says:

    I haven’t used Seesmic, but from your description that sounds about right. Good luck!

  11. Vickster Says:

    Twitter can actually be a great means of customer service. Read
    more about it.

  12. […] presents How to unfollow Twitter friends who are boring (and stay friends) posted at […]

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