If you are using Twitter, and have accumulated even a couple dozen followers, then you are probably beginning to realize just how daunting it can be to keep track of the folks who are following you. Several months ago, Twitter experienced a relatively widespread wave of pornographic spamming of its users. The spammers set up standard profiles, and then they would attempt to follow a legitimate Twitter user. Unfortunately, the spammers’ Twitter profile contained pornographic or explicit material. Not exactly the kind of thing you want to be associated with on a public marketing platform that constantly updates in real time.
Twitter, to its credit, moved quickly and aggressively to stop the pornographic spam on its site. Nevertheless, it is important to always double-check who is following you whenever you receive a notification saying you have a follower. If I cannot readily ascertain from the first few tweets what a Twitter user’s profile is even about – or if the user’s profile contains a sexually provocative (though not necessarily “pornographic” picture) – I act immediately to block the attempted follower using standard Twitter features. This is not a question of rudeness. It is the simple fact that I use Twitter as part of my professional online persona, and I guard it diligently. So should you.
So, what about checking the folks that you follow? You can do that, too, with a nifty free tool, The Twit Cleaner.
To get started, first go to thetwitcleaner.com. Once you are on the website, you will see a button like the one below:
Click the “scan me now” button. The site will request access to your Twitter account in order to perform its work, so when prompted, click “allow.” The Twit Cleaner will then analyze your Twitter lists to determine the status of those users you are following and whether you should consider cleaning up your Twitter lists.
On my report, The Twit Cleaner reported 6 users I am following that “ignore me” (sigh!) and 9 accounts that engage in “dodgy” behavior. As it turns out, however, what constitutes “dodgy” behavior can be a user that simply tweets links. For users that I follow, this included MSNBC, the Los Angeles County Bar Association, and The Onion – all 3 of which are legitimate users in which I am interested. Still, the report generated by The Twit Cleaner gave me a nice, concise view of the users I am following and I learned that I don’t have users with whom I should be concerned.
Once you receive the report, you have the option of letting The Twit Cleaner clean up your follows for you – for free up to 2,000 follows – or you can do it yourself. After you accumulate more than 2,000 follows, if you want The Twit Cleaner folks to clean up your follows for you, nominal charges do apply.
A couple of final thoughts – the application works by sending you a DM (Direct Message) on Twitter, so you have to be following The Twit Cleaner in order to receive the DM. However, once you receive your DM, you can “unfollow” The Twit Cleaner if you desire. The other thing I like about the application, which you can see from the graphic above, is that you don’t necessarily have to tweet to your followers that you are trying it out. I like having the option, don’t you? However, I must say that, once I received my report, I happily tweeted that I had used The Twit Cleaner. I recommend that you give it a shot, too.
Disclaimer: I have no interest in The Twit Cleaner, financial or otherwise. I received nothing of value for this post, and was promised nothing by The Twit Cleaner or any person or entity associated with it. The contents of this post are simply my personal opinion based on my use of the free online service The Twit Cleaner.
Errata Note: In the original draft of this blog post, I incorrectly used the word “followers” instead of “follows.” I have updated the post to reflect accurately what The Twit Cleaner does, which is to analyze the Twitter users you are following, not those that are following you. Mea culpa.