Jared O'Toole

Founder of Under30CEO.com. Inspiring people to start businesses and leading them to success in the online world.

How to Get Ignored on Twitter

Twitter is a great tool for people and business but many still use it wrong or just have no clue what’s going on. Some of these people are mis-informed and some know their bad practices but just don’t care. I’m guessing most people don’t want to get ignored on twitter. It’s kind of like showing up at a party and not having a single person talk to you. Who wants that?!

So here are some things that will get people to ignore you on twitter!

1. Talk about yourself

This is simple. People don’t want to hear all about you! Twitter is not a platform to yell and scream your message, ideas or show off how smart you are. Well actually it can be but it has to be done tastefully. You need to be asking people questions. Don’t sit back and talk about how smart you are. Ask others what their take is or if they have something interesting to read or simply how their day was.

It’s just like a party. Would you approach a stranger and say “Hi my name is and I do this and I live here and I like this etc etc”. No! You want ask them something and get them talking and before long they will be asking you questions.

2. Auto DM

Auto Dms are a sure way to get you ignored. It’s easy to tell when someone sends an auto DM and no I don’t ever want to randomly check your stuff out. The big thing with auto dm’s is they make you look like you just want to sell something or use twitter to drive traffic. You don’t care on an individual level you just want to see if a few people will click through and then its a success. However you will generate a lot more sales and a lot more traffic by taking the time to manually DM people or simply by engaging on twitter.

At the same time some auto DMs are not that bad. Example: “Yup this is an auto DM but I just wanted to say hi and I’m looking forward to chatting on twitter. Have a great day!”

I can live with that and even though I don’t know how much good it does I don’t think it hurts you in anyway.

3. Ask anybody to sign-up or buy something

This is an automatic ignore! It’s perfectly fine to ask someone after a few conversations and if your product is on topic with what you have been discussing. But if you lead with or simply blast out messages about how great your product is or newsletter is I am turning the other way. Possibly even unfollowing because I don’t want to hear your pitches if I haven’t had a chance to talk with you yet.

This is also a sure fire way to look like a spammer. Spam can be a big problem on twitter and accounts are constantly getting shut down everyday to try and keep up with the problem. So if you start pitching anything you’re walking a fine line because people are constantly on the lookout for spammers and will be quick to judge you.

4. Don’t @reply anyone

The point of twitter is to talk to people. So start talking! I have heard from multiple people and I do this myself, if I check out your twitter profile and I don’t see any @replies in your stream I am immediately turned off from your account. It’s not the end of the world but its not a positive mark. People want to follow people who are going to talk with them. There are only a few select big shots who can get away without replying to people. But if you’re new in the game you have to not only start conversations but make that effort to reply to every single person who engages you even if it is just a retweet. You still should say thank you!

5. Talk about making money online

Have you ever heard “I can teach you to make money online” or “I can make you rich”. If you’ve been on twitter then you have. You might very well make people rich or teach people very effectively to make money online. But you can’t lead with that on your twitter account!

Show people you know what you’re talking about by linking up resources and providing actionable advice. But just saying you’re going to make someone rich will send followers running!

6. Don’t follow anyone back

Think you’re to good to follow anyone back? Well that’s ok because you won’t have anyone following you soon enough! Its by no means mandatory to follow everyone back or follow 10’s of thousands of people. But show that you are willing to follow people back if they are interesting enough. If you have had numerous conversations with some one and they come to find you’re not following them back that is a mis-step. It’s almost a slap in the face to find that you can’t DM the person you’ve been talking to for weeks or months because they don’t want to follow you.

But don’t be afraid to point it out to some one before you jump to conclusions. Some times they don’t even realize they are not following you!

7. Use all capitals

Maybe it’s just me but I can’t stand when someone is writing in all caps. It can be very awkward to read and gives off that sense that you are yelling something. It’s fine to highlight a word but avoid using all caps when having a normal conversation with someone.

8. Put people down

It’s ok to not like someone or to unfollow someone but to announce it to the world? That is looking childish. Don’t make announcements that you are unfollowing someone or constantly blasting and company or service. If I see that in a persons twitter feed I am immediately turned off because they come across as a very negative and childish person.

Also don’t constantly engage in arguments or fights on twitter. It’s all public and not only can it be looked up forever but I sure don’t want to be following someone who seems like their out to pick a fight. I’m not on twitter to stir up controversy just to do it. I’m there to meet interesting people and hopefully make some new friends along the way.

My favorite is when someone combines my previous point about writing in all caps and announces that they are unfollowing someone. I guess they are making their statement but I sure won’t be following someone who finds it necessary to announce something like that.

What are things that set off an alert in your head to ignore someone on twitter?


  • March 24, 2010

    Mashable does this, but they have 2 million followers.

  • March 24, 2010

    Some really nice wisdom there…
    I think though that is not ENTIRELY a conversation in the sense that people chat endlessly. I have to agree though that responding to people or stating your opinion about their tweets creates a good vibe around your followers.


  • March 24, 2010

    I recently unfollowed everyone in my stream, a Twitter enema if you will. I have found a new love now that all the self promotional #guruexpertningacoachjedi’s are gone. I am actually able to engage in conversations now. I lost about 50% of my followers, but I think most of them were bots or using auto follow tools anyway. I am slowly following back people that are actually interesting to me, and I screen every follower now before following them…..

  • March 24, 2010

    I don’t agree with many of these. Talking about yourself is the main reason Twitter exists. I follow somebody because they are interesting. Even down to what they ate, I’m interested. If people aren’t interested in me tweeting about myself, they can just unfollow me and that’s fine.

    Many of these ‘rules’ ensure you won’t have anything to say that people can relate to. Just be unique and don’t worry about rule lists.

  • March 24, 2010

    To add to the the list, don’t forget to reciprocate on Twitter. If I RT you once or twice, not a big deal. But if I RT you several times and don’t even get so much as a ‘Thx for RT’, you’re off my list. Contrary to what some believe, Twitter is not a one way conversation.

  • March 24, 2010

    I’m not using #6 and will not do that.

  • March 24, 2010

    I don’t follow someone who ’s tweeting every minute nor someone who’s full of @replies and messages I don’t get the meaning and make you feel out of the conversation.

  • March 24, 2010

    Is there a way to ignore someone on Twitter without unfollowing them? Like to remove them from your home feed as you can on Facebook? Just curious!

  • March 24, 2010

    Angela – If there are people who’s conversation is more interesting to you than others, create lists and use tools like tweetdeck or hootsuite to track those followers more easily against the tide of tweets

  • March 24, 2010

    Great article. Excellent points. I REALLY ENJOYED READING THIS! (Sorry, had to do it.) No. 1-5 should go in a universal twitter rule book of sorts.

    A few comments to add: (#7) Part of the unofficial internet etiquette includes the ‘All caps rule’. Using ALL CAPS comes off aggressive, and as if you’re yelling (whether it’s your intention or not).

    The conversationalist that refuses to follow you back (#6): Well said. There are a few possible exceptions, but for the most part it’s perceived negatively. Many people keep track of their followers, and will notice when you finally drop off. If they enjoyed your prior exchanges, there’s a good chance they’ll start following you. If not, move on. It’s not worth being upset over. On the other hand, (as mentioned in the article) sometimes it’s simply that the person doesn’t realize they’re not following you back. I’ve done this a few times…so, speak up! There’s nothing worse than learning you were clueless to a person harboring anger towards you for several months. If you’re not comfortable mentioning it publicly that to the “offending” person, then it’s better you unfollow them anyway. Lingering around and being upset is pointless. Sometimes it leads to (#8) suggestive/nasty tweets and the announcement to unfollow. It happened to me personally. Not cool. That type of behavior is not only childish, but borders passive-aggressive.

    One addition to your list:

    The constant complainer. Everyone has bad days, but no one wants to read whining and/or negative tweets (constantly) in their stream. It’s like dropping a “downer” bomb in the Twitter timeline. The extreme opposite is the person who posts positive quotes on auto-pilot. Mix it up. Be yourself. If you’re a naturally miserable person, then use other resources (write in a diary or if you can afford therapy, vent there).

    My personal twitter Rule of Thumb: If you wouldn’t do it in person to your friends, family, co-workers–don’t do it on Twitter. If people walk away as you’re complaining about your self-perceived horrible life, there’s good chance they’ll unfollow you on Twitter too.

    Thanks for the article. I’ll be sure to tweet this! :)

  • March 24, 2010

    Thanks for the great comments everyone!

    @Stephen – Mashable would be 1 of the few big shots I mentioned that can get away without using some of these rules

    @Mitch – Twitter is many times for talking about yourself but it has to be done tastefully. Be a resource a go to person. Not someone who shouts but does not give back or help anyone else.

    @Craig – Great point! It’s important to take note when someone is visible following you and promoting your stuff!

    @Conxa – Tweeting to much can be overwhelming. Sometimes its just to much to keep track of and that makes it less valuable.

    @Lindsay – Love the constant complainer point! Not everyone has good days but don’t have a constant negative stream. Balance is important.

  • March 24, 2010

    You hit the nails on their heads. #8 is a total unfollow for me. When I see #4 I won’t follow them in the first place. #1,2 and 5 is like putting in ear plugs. I’m new to twitter and it’s like a party; I was shy at first but finally feel comfortable. Responding is fun and the conversations are interesting. Great post articulating of the common sense reality of the social facts of life on twitter.
    Cynthia Bailey MD, http://www.otbskincare.com/blog/

  • March 24, 2010

    Great article! Very good points.

  • March 24, 2010

    I can’t stand obscene tweets or tweets against women. Sexually graphic information is just not called for and I don’t feel they should even be here. They are using twitter for their own perverse needs. But as a woman and hearing someone degrade women is very upsetting. People don’t come to Twitter to listen to that.

  • March 24, 2010

    I follow back but not the ones who is not tweeting, tweeting too much or tweeting the same thing again and again.

  • March 25, 2010

    great post ,I hate the auto DM’s for sure but sometime for business purpose a peson may want to put up a special ,see a lot of people though selling service and MLM and gets old ,usually I will block most of them ,I not after a million followers ,I on twitter for information mostly

  • March 25, 2010

    just looked after last tweet and seen an ad for an auto DM program how ironic

  • March 25, 2010
    Lori Philo-Cook

    I like your list. My additions: someone who complains frequently or ridicules people. I’m not interested in those kinds of comments. Also, people who Tweet too much. I read all of my incoming Tweets and it makes it hard to keep up with, especially people who post 10 Tweets all in a row (I assume it’s an automated thing since they all have the same time on them).

    Unlike some on Twitter, I am not trying to get a huge following and I don’t want to follow so many that I can read them all and respond when appropriate or reweet (I am overwhelmed and I follow 135 good, strong Twitterers). When I get a “follow message,” I look at that person’s profile and interests, consider the quality and frequency of their tweets, as well as the subject matter. I try to focus on four very specific subject areas. I don’t want to offend people by not following back, and I worry about that. I am thinking about trying Tweetdeck or something similar to manage it so I can follow more people.

  • March 25, 2010
    Carl Ingalls

    Another thing that will get you ignored on Twitter is being too negative. For instance, talking about the things that will get you noticed will get you noticed more than talking about the things that will get you ignored.

  • March 25, 2010

    Remember that some auto bots are genuine adverts for businesses, I use these for several clients I tweet for, however I also make sure that there is interaction with other tweeters. It’s good to make friends and there are a great many people out there to be friends with.
    It is good to make sure your adverts are not the same over and over again. And never include them in an @reply to someone, just keep the adverts in your own time-line.
    Agree with the auto DM’s, I clear 1000’s from clients accounts daily, and always reply to the nice hello’s..
    Keep Tweeting !


  • March 25, 2010




  • March 25, 2010

    This is a great article, hope to see more like it, thanks again

  • March 25, 2010
    Lynn Fishman RN

    Thanks Jared, for this articulate and candid article on tweeting. Every point you made is right on. When you think about it, why waste time doing anything in a robotic fashion without any authenticity?
    One of the things that I like about Twitter is the ability to express myself freely and to connect with other people that I would not ordinarily have the ability to meet.
    If someone is going to pitch their product or services, at least provide some value content in the process.

  • March 25, 2010

    This is probably the best article I have seen about Twitter followers. I despise the marketing get rich quick. I think LINKED IN does the job well enough if all you want to do is make yourself seem more popular than you are! The autofollower is more annoying than getting poked on Facebook. Regarding the negative comments, I can’t believe how brutal people are. I think some follow buzz words, and just wait to bash. Now I will add one rule, that I am guilty of. Blip.fm. I feel bad. Every song I blip, changes my status message on Twitter. I can only guess I have lost a few followers. I have also received retweets if I post a good song!!

  • March 25, 2010

    Thanks again for more comments.

    Looks like there are 2 more big points that will get you ignored on twitter.

    1. Being negative: Tweeting about your bad mood all the time or just having a negative attitude is a major turn off.

    2. Tweeting to much: It’s very tough to keep up with someone who tweets 100’s of times daily. For many people this just gets annoying especially when they follow few people. It can’t always be helped some people just love talking! But keep it in mind.

  • March 26, 2010

    Hello some of your points are obvious and some well are a bit misleading. I personally think I have a good grip on Twitter. I engage, I share, I RT like crazy (up to 20 per day) on some days and on some I am too busy… But the point I want to make is there are many times I will engage with someone and they never respond. A few people I RT never RT back. Does that mean I am not interesting, or my links are not worthwhile? No it just means Twitter has become too big to get personal, and that’s okay too.

    The one pet peeve I will admit are the ones that clear out their Twitter list due to some revelation or some sign about getting quality versus quantity. For example I used to follow this “social media expert” and he used to follow back, then one day, he announced how he was purging everyone from his list in order to make his experience on line better. That’s fine, nothing wrong with that. But then a few months later I see through my Twitter feed they moved a few miles away from me. So I am excited since where I live is the middle of nowhere and what a great opportunity to share some of the fun hangouts, or even have a beer etc. Well needless to say this “Social media expert” completely ignored me even after one of their “buddies” told them I was “cool” Where am I going with this you ask? I thought this over and realized this person was really not everything I thought they were. Sometimes Twitter is more about ego and numbers and that’s sad.

    In conclusion I learned after 45+ years that one cannot get caught up with virtual friends, and to keep it real. I dance to my own drum and I am one of my biggest fans. Bottom line is I am not a hunter nor will I be a prey.

    My favorite quote has to be “Social Media Expert: An unemployed & unskilled ass-hat. Usually seen on Twitter discussing his or her “social media expertise.”

    Thanks for writing this post and sharing your thoughts.

  • March 26, 2010

    I don’t see it too much with Twitter users out of my country but a lot of us here like to reply to a friend’s by actually tweeting their answer plus RT of the friend’s question or comment.

    When it’s an important question, it’s quite tolerable. But I have unfollowed a friend because I can’t stand seeing anymore of: “Hell yeah..! RT @friend1 You gonna have a blast! RT @myfriend Are you? Me, I’m off to Bali and..”

    I can find your whole conversation on my own – if I am interested in it.

  • March 26, 2010

    all good points, but I like to see people who send tweets about themselves – the tweets that shows their human side. Definitely, if the person is bragging or clearly is caught up in the “I love me” syndrome, then yes, I get turned off.

  • March 26, 2010

    1 week o twittering and you’ll realize this. Too obvious.

  • March 27, 2010

    Good place to start Jared, while some of these suggestions are covered elsewhere from a “do” perspective, the straightforward “don’t” perspective is welcome.

  • March 27, 2010

    Good article. Some of the things that cause me to unfollow people are: many tweets in a row, or the same tweet over and over; poor spelling or grammar (I’m not a snob, but if I can’t read it & understand it, it’s not worth my time); excessive foul language or inappropriate sexual remarks (appropriate sexual remarks are cool!); non-contextualized tweets – if I don’t know what you are referring to, and I’m not in on the conversation, forget it; people who are just selling something – if I want to buy something, I’ll go to the store; boring or sloppy tweets – either boring content or boringly put forward – come on, let’s proofread and at least try to make it interesting!

    On the other hand, I highly value my conversations with my Twitter friends. I deeply appreciate it when people have nice comments on my tweets, ask me how I’m doing, or have a snappy comeback. I try to mix it up – some serious commentary, lots of RTs, some comedy, a little silliness, a little banality, and some thought provocation. I also try to make the tweets interesting to anyone who may be reading it, even if it is a response to a specific tweet.

  • March 29, 2010

    1.) Celebrities do that all the time. Exception!?

    4.) Celebrities do it most of the times. Exception…. again!?

    6.) Again.. Celebrities do it most of the times. Exception…. yet again!?

    Rest are pretty much easily figured out, if you start using Twitter regularly.

  • March 29, 2010

    I fallow people who entertains……& retweet to cheer up my fallowers……Thanks for the guidelines…….very useful…

  • March 30, 2010

    I wish I’d read all this when I first started a short while ago! (oops I auto DM’d because someone said it was a good idea – going straight across to change the message as suggested.)
    Thanks for this article I would like to talk about myself a little – but yes, the wise Tweeter knows he/she has two ears and one mouth so listens twice as hard as she/he speaks!

  • March 30, 2010

    People really expect a “Thanks for the RT”? I find that surprising. I RT a lot, and have maybe TWICE gotten a thanks message, and certainly don’t think less of all the people who didn’t send one!

    Plus which, in terms of feed clutter, reading other people’s “thank you for the RT/ff” is more a turn off to me than people who tweet boring things about their day. I’m surprised that anyone would want MORE of that sort of recycled content on their threads.

  • March 30, 2010

    These lists are always interesting to me. When I started using Twitter (about 18 months ago now), there weren’t really any etiquette rules. Now we have a surge of people telling others what they ought and ought not to be doing on Twitter, and the evolution (from “what I am doing at this very moment” to engaging and self-marketing) is fascinating to me.

    Anyway – I agree with most of what you’ve said. Celebrities would probably be the exception to no.4 and 6. Now, I admit that I don’t usually thank people for RT’ing my posts. This is because.. a) the new onsite RT function more often than not leaves it out of my timeline, so I won’t notice it until I actually go in and check the Retweets link on the webpage, and … b) I don’t usually post for the purpose of getting information “out there”; I just share whatever I find interesting. If you like it, great. If not, no worries. The only thing I really care about is giving proper credit. Oh, it annoys me when I see *my* posts in other people’s timelines as if the person composed it themselves. That’s a surefire way to get blocked.

  • March 30, 2010

    Great Article on How to get your self ignored for sure

  • March 30, 2010

    I think the party metaphor is apt. Just behave like you would at a party. Engage: listen, discuss, make jokes, share info, be courteous.

    Though it’s easy to get hung up on “doing it right,” tweeting is just another form of verbal communication. Relax and have fun. :}

  • March 30, 2010

    #1 If you are not supposed to talk about yourself why does it say What’s Happening?

  • March 30, 2010

    I completely agree with Cait Stuff (@caitstuff) on the ‘Thanks for the RT’ part. I RT 100s of tweets and few of mine are RTed too. I don’t expect a thank you everytime. Neither would I really keep a track of whom to thank everytime someone RTs me. The RT itself includes an ‘unsaid’ thanks. I would rather prefer RTing one of the tweets (useful ones, of course) of the person who RTs me.

  • March 30, 2010

    This was cleverly done, entertaining, and engaging. Images of tweets that have annoyed me and twitterers that have yanked my cord keep coming to mind. But I could laugh about it all while reading your how-to guide.

    I’m new to Twitter, since November, but I’m really enjoying it.

  • March 30, 2010

    Pretty much right on. In general, though, kind of weird to watch Twitter changing. More and more, Social Media seems to be taken over by the people who used to hang out at malls, asking anyone dressed nicely if they were interested in earning a second income to help ensure the future of their families, etc., etc. etc.

  • March 30, 2010

    Nice list. I like the one about ‘make money online’, or ‘become a thought leader’. Like what-the-heck? As if those dim wits could tell me squat. Automatic turn-off. I’m glad twitter is cutting down on spam BTW. Whatever they are doing seems to be working.

  • March 31, 2010

    Love the list! However, there are a couple of things I think I take a slightly different stand on. Not one to follow rules, I prefer to think about what my authentic intentions are while I’m conversing online. I treat Twitter like any other relationship – what I put in is what I get back. That said, I do talk about what I’m ‘doing’ and ‘thinking’ and ‘reading’ etc. because I believe the ppl who follow me are digging that. If they aren’t I assume they’ll stop following me.

  • April 1, 2010

    I did all your tips, but I still have followers.
    What can I do?
    (1. April is in Germany a Joke-Day)

  • April 1, 2010

    4. Don’t @reply anyone
    The point of twitter is to talk to people.

    Guess thats not correct, if i see too much or only replys i unfollow imediatly, twitter is not chat.


  • April 2, 2010

    I think one very important point was missed and maybe it’s just me, but Political Point(s) of View needs to be bullet number nine. We all have a POV on this subject and I am sure there are areas of the Twitter-sphere where this is better suited, like the trending now stream. So please save PPOV for someone else who really cares about it and if you must share it, could you please have some tact, as your vitriol can drive followers away.

  • April 3, 2010

    I don’t like the excessive trending topics!

  • April 3, 2010

    Hmmm, I am a little tired of the ‘rules of Twitter’ or ‘10 steps to being unfollowed’ or ‘5 points for social media success’.

    I think many of these social media tools are all about trying out what works for you and giving it a go. Saying the reason for not having people follow you is because you are always talking about yourself is nonsense. Think of the celebrities with thousands of followers who rarely RT or @reply.

    What about @shitmydadsays ? Hugely entertaining and never @replies anyone.

    Twitter is there for people to do what they will with it. The unfollow button is there to give people a choice. Its organic, no real rules and no need to write them either.

  • April 22, 2010

    I’m new to twitter, and now I have a better idea of what it is all about, maybe. Thanks for the info.

  • May 13, 2010

    Ouch — I think I’ve been doing some of these. what I really wonder about though is the people who follow me who clearly have no connection to my industry or my interests. Seems like I’m see a lot of pictures of people who look like models … or are trying to become models. The value of Twitter is becoming diluted for me.

  • June 17, 2010

    Great article, but I have to agree there are too many people coming up with Rules. There are also a lot of judgemental people on Twitter, and a lot of people who like abusing & swearing where there is just no need for it. I love Twitter, but I don’t like ignorance, or slow Twitter. Lol -Oo-

  • August 21, 2010

    Thanks for sharing your insight about twitter. Basically, Twitter is providing us with a plaza where we can communicate with each other. In this respect, I think general rules for communication need to be applicable to Twitter. As you mentioned, the most important thing for us to keep in mind is that a communication starts with attentively hearing what others would like to say. And then, it would be better if two-way communication were possible.


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