Twitter Techniques to Manage 20,000+ Followers

August 24, 2010
By the ZippyCart Shopping Cart Reviews Content Team

While 20,000 followers seems like a massive goal for any Twitter user to hit, it is actually not too uncommon as over 10,000 people have surpassed this mark, and the number of people achieving 20,000 followers is growing each day. Most people with Twitter followings this large are either celebrities, or those who have been using their Twitter account for at least a year. And no matter what, as Twitter continues to grow in popularity, so do the number of followers that many accounts have following them. If you are new to Twitter and expect you will soon have a massive amount of followers, then this is the perfect post for you to read, as it will give you insight on what you need to do now, so you can better manage your followers once you become very popular. However many of us with large numbers of Twitter followers are in a position where we need to make adjustments to how we manage things soon, or else it will get out of control and be too complicated to oversee. As @zippycart closes in on the 20,000 follower mark, we thought it would be a good opportunity to provide an overview on the techniques you can use to better manage your massive list of followers. Keep in mind that Twitter is constantly changing their tools and the way they work with 3rd party companies, so new techniques will continue to arise over the coming months.

Managing Twitter Followers

Desktop Clients – While the addition of Twitter Lists has made the use of desktop clients less vital, they’re still a great way to have everything controlled from one central dashboard. The two options leading the way in this niche are Tweetdeck and Seesmic. These both have very comparable tools, and can accomplish the same end goal of managing a large number of Twitter followers. These desktop clients are also great if you manage multiple Twitter accounts, as you can  give each account a column. What makes these tools key to managing massive amounts of followers include the ability to turn your Twitter Lists into columns which can be viewed on your dashboard. You can manage Twitter Lists via Twitter direct, but it is time consuming, and not as smooth as a desktop client. Another perk of the desktop client is that you can create a column out of almost anything, meaning that you can use search terms or hashtags to control a column of tweets posted on Twitter, that you deem to be important.

tweet deck columns

iPhone Apps – Not only do Tweetdeck and Seesmic have solid desktop clients, but they also have iPhone and Android apps (Tweetdeck is currently in Beta on Android) that you can use which will mimic your desktop experience. While these are not the only mobile apps to manage Twitter, it does make sense to use these if you already have one setup as your desktop client. When you have 20,000+ followers you will constantly have new updates and contacts , so you always want to able to manage your account no matter where you go.

Twitter Lists – While Twitter Lists may be third on this list, they are in fact one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal to properly manage a large number of followers. Lists are still fairly new, so if you already had a lot of followers when they debuted, then it will take a lot of time to sift through your followers to determine how you want to group them. This will be the trickiest part to managing massive amounts of Twitter followers, if you have not already invested time to add all of your important followers to lists. There is a not a perfect tool to do this, but if you spend the time researching who tweets with you most often, who gives you #FollowFriday (aka #FF) shouts, or follows you in your industry, then you should be able to start putting together some good lists. Think of lists as social networks within a social network, as they represent a microcosm within a larger macrocosm. They will allow you to narrow in your focus on a group, so that you can properly devote attention to them. Without Twitter Lists, it can be near impossible to oversee 20,000+ followers on a daily basis. Keep in mind that these Twitter Lists can be private, so that other people (or your competition) do not know exactly how you organize your lists.

Managing Direct Messages

dm whackerDM Whacker – When you have 20,000+ followers, you will most likely find that you get a lot of direct messages (DM’s) to your account, and believe it or not, Twitter does not give you any way to easily clean up your inbox. Your DM inbox acts like the email of your Twitter account, and if you do not clean it out, then it can be extremely difficult to try and keep up with all of the messages you get. Thankfully, Seattle based developer Damon Cortesi, has given us power Twitter users a way to solve this issue. He created a tool that you drag to your bookmark toolbar called DM Whacker (not compatible with Internet Explorer), and it is easy to use to clean out your DM’s. After you drag it onto your bookmark toolbar, you then need to go to the direct message section of your Twitter account, and then click on the DM Whacker button in your bookmark toolbar. From there, it will present you with the options on how to selectively or completely clean out your DM’s.

Bulk Unfollow Large Amounts of Twitter Users at Once

Greasemonkey + Tweepi - Managing a massive number of Twitter followers often involves unfollowing those who are not following back, so that you can make room for new people who want to truly follow you back. Twitter does not like when people follow much more than 10% of the people following them, meaning that if you have 20,000 people following you, then you should not follow more than 22,000 people. As with DM’s, you would think that Twitter would give users an easy way to manage who is following you and who is not following you back, but they do not, and it is why Twitter users have to use 3rd party tools. However Twitter made recent changes to their API, which stopped the ability for users to bulk unfollow (or follow) people, as it was creating too many spammy accounts. So now real Twitter users have to use more creative ways to clean up the people not following back. While there is still no true way to bulk unfollow, there is a somewhat easy way to speed up the process by using a few online tools. Here is a rundown of what you need and how you do it:

First you need to make sure you have FireFox downloaded and the addon called Greasemonkey. In addition to Greasemonkey you need to download a userscript called “Check boxes” and enable it, which will prepare FireFox to allow you to accomplish your goal of cleaning up all those people who do not follow you back. Next you need to go to Tweepi and connect your Twitter account, and then click on the Flush button. If you have done everything correctly thus far, you should see a black bar across the top of the page in Tweepi that says ‘Checkboxes check: All None Invert.” Go ahead and hit “All” and this will auto check 20 boxes of people that are not following you back. Then you can go to the next page, and clean out another 20 people not following you back. While this process is time consuming, Twitter honestly does not give you an easier way to accomplish this goal. Those who want to speed things up, can tweet about Tweepi while in the Flush interface, saying “Adding the most interactive tweeps and unfollowing deadbeats using Tweepi’s geeky Twitter tools.,” which will allow you to clean up 40 users at a time for a one month period.


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  1. This is a nice list of applications I like the sound of DM whacker I haven’t used that one. I have built a Twitter management application myself and would be interested to hear what you thought of that as a fellow social media fan. My app is called let me know if you want to have a beta invite and see what you think.

  2. Here is another one, Auto Twitter Bot. It’s New!

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