I’ve posted before about how certain features can improve your twitter experience. These required a lot of research. After reading hundreds of blog posts, I’ve gained a new appreciation of twitter applications. One of them is The Twit Cleaner.
I primarily use the web interface. I leave tweetdeck on when I’m busy but I’ll use the web to really dive into conversations. I follow over 1000 and, despite being really picky with my return follows, started to find my friends where getting drowned out. I needed help but didn’t want to spend hours manually going through my list. This is where The Twit Cleaner literally saved my twitter stream.
What is the twit cleaner?
According to the FAQ,
“it gets your following list, then analyses the profiles & tweets of every single one of those people, looking for certain patterns of behaviour (people not talking, being over repetitive, posting the same links repeatedly, etc).”
I’ve run this a couple of times and, frankly, its awesome.
Note: The account @twitcleaner isn’t associated with this – you have to make sure to @reply thetwitcleaner.
How does it work?
The whole process is really simple.
First, you have to click the button to request your report. Note that there is a box which, if left checked, will send out a tweet telling your friends about The Twit Cleaner. You are under no obligation to tweet anything.
You will then get shown a pop up asking if the application has your permission to access your account. This is safe. I have many friends that develop apps and they only need the information to give you the information you need.
You will shortly get sent a DM linking to your report. There is an example report on the about page. Yours will look different and some of the names have changed. Thats cool. That picture was designed to help you understand it better.
The report will contain a list of potentially dodgy accounts. Now – just because someone is on a list, doesn’t mean that they are dodgy. I will explain this further, but it just means that they fall into a certain category of behaviors.
The main categories are:
- Dodgy – spam phrases, @ spamming, duplicate links etc
- Absent – No updates in a month, or fewer than 10 tweets.
- Repetitive – High numbers of duplicate tweets or links
- Flooding – So high volume you can’t see anyone else
- Non-Responsive – No interaction & those that follow back < 10%
Everyone is free to use twitter in their own way. Not all of these behaviors are bad. Some people are travelling and thus aren’t on twitter for an extended period of time. Some people use the platform primarily to broadcast.
The Twit Cleaner organizes people into subcategories so you can easily choose who you want to unfollow. In my summary, I have a section saything ‘These accounts ignore you.’ Within that, users fall into 3 subcategories.
- Hardly follow anyone
- Don’t interact with anyone
- Have fewer than 10 tweets.
Each section is broken up like this. Based on the report, it is really easy to make a decision about who you want to unfollow. This process is really easy.
There are two options. You can use the data to manually unfollow people or you can let The Twit Cleaner do it for you. You are given four options:
- Only unfollow those I don’t select
- Unfollow the spammy and absent, keep the rest
- Unfollow the spammy, keep the rest
- Unfollow the absent, keep the rest.
I suggest you use whatever option feels right for you. I always choose to unfollow the users I don’t select. This is time consuming but ensures you don’t accidentally unfollow people.
Selecting someone is easy. You just have to click their avatar. Their icon will show up as shaded and that person wont be unfollowed.
How much does it cost?
Surprisingly, the report itself is free. There is a small charge if your total follow count is over 2000. The prices are:
- Up to 25,000 – $5 USD
- Up to 50,000 – $10 USD
- Otherwise – $20 USD
These are very reasonable prices considering what you get.
Mini Interview with Si Dawson
1. This was super easy and really thorough. Why did you choose to offer it for free instead of charging?
The report is always free. I do charge a small sum if you follow more than 2000 people & want to get us to auto-unfollow for you. 90% of twitter users follow fewer than 2000 people, so for the vast majority of people, the entire process is free.
For larger lists, I figured once people saw how useful the report was & how much time it would save them, they’d be happy to pay. The charge is primarily to cover costs on larger reports. For people with massive lists (20k+) it can take literally hours on a quad processor box to do all that analysis. I did have one report that ran for three days. It’s a LOT of work.
2. How much work went into creating and maintaining the twit cleaner?
I’d say I’ve spent somewhere in the order of 1500 hours to date. Eg, last night I worked until 5am, & was up again at 9 to deal with tech support issues, minor hiccups etc. That goes on seven days a week. It’s pretty full on.
3. How does using this application improve your twitter experience?
I designed it because I tried some auto-follow tools (keyword following, that sort of thing) & quickly start to dread looking at Twitter. There was so much noise, so much junk.
The Twit Cleaner categorises everyone you’re following into common groupings – people that just post links, people that never talk to anyone. Those that are just blasting noise out, & not authentically engaging with anyone, oh, & the pure out spammers, & so on.
So, by seeing these groupings, it then becomes very easy to go “You know what? I’m actually not interested in following that kind of person.” In my case, I got rid of all the spammers, the link feeds & so on.
When I got up the next morning I looked at Twitter, & suddenly it was -interesting- again. It went from 90% noise to 90% interesting stuff. Stuff I liked, information that was interesting to me. It was always there, but I just couldn’t see it because of all the crap. My follow list dropped by about 30% but my enjoyment went up 500%!
4. Do you plan to create more apps that will help the twitter community?
I have a couple more apps in the imediate pipeline, yes.
Obviously there are some bits of the site that are still a bit average. The functionality is good on the report, for example, but the UI needs to be slicked up quite a lot. So, there’s that.
The other things is this – calling in The Twit Cleaner is kind of an emergency situation. Things have gone mad, & you need to get them back under control again. Wouldn’t it be better to not need it in the first place?
So, one app (which I already have early beta versions of, but isn’t quite ready for public rollout), is a clean followback – which follows anyone that follows you, but filters them according to the algorithms (so you’ll never follow any spammers).
Another is clean keyword searching. So, following people that use certain keywords – all very common already – but again, filtered by the algorithms. You’ll be able to choose which categories you’re interested in following or not.
Using these two give you all the power to grow your list & respond to the community, but keep it clean & high value at the same time.
I have some even more exciting stuff I’ve been testing out, but it’s too early to talk about that just yet. Suffice to say, it’ll completely revolutionise finding quality people on Twitter. I’m very excited about it.
Over to you:
Have you used any applications to clean up your twitter account? What was your experience like? Also, if you have any questions about The Twit Cleaner just leave them in the comments.
Disclosure: The developer, Si Dawson, is a friend of mine. However I didn’t know that he created this, or that he was a coder, until after using the service.