When my Twitter app turned int oa conveyor belt of uninteresting tweets, I knew it was time to gut my following list. I used the following criteria to decide to unfollow someone:
1. Have we ever met?
2. Do they follow me?
3. Do they tweet anything of interest?
4. Do they tweet things I wouldn't find through other people I follow?
5. Are they an individual (as opposed to a business or organization)?

If I answer "no" to about 3-4 of those, I unfollow.

However, people who tweet too darn much get unfollowed regardless. I define "too darn much as:
1. Live commentaries about movies, television, or sports;
2. Last 3 tweets are from 4square or instagram (I'm not stalking you, and if I wanted to see pictures of you, I'd be your fake Facebook friend)
3. Excessive "state the obvious" tweets like, "I can't wait for the weekend!" and "good morning!"
4. Excessive "my life" tweets like, "Making ice cream!" or "Meeting friends for beers at Central Park!" It's great that they have a life. Seriously, people who have lives are less likely to commit homicide. But if that's all they're tweeting about, I'd rather consume this info on Facebook, which isn't constantly updating on the side of my screen telling me which bar so-and-so's heading to in a city miles from my own.

In short, I want to follow people who put something new in my head (that isn't a picture of a baby), and those new things will shape the person I become. I also try to evaluate my own tweets in this process to make sure I'm offering a balanced mix of personal, professional and promotional tweetage. Too much of any of those can make for a lackluster feed.

While I'm making these calls, of course I notice follower counts. I have about 1500 followers. I'm not bragging. A portion of those are spammers and defunct accounts, and I don't get replies or retweets enough to indicate that the other thousand actually pay attention to my antics.

Sometimes I'm surprised to find that people I hold in relatively high regard, like +Les James and +Benjamin Farrell, don't have a lot of followers. It's not because they don't make excellent observations or tweet useful or interesting links. So why do I have so many more followers? I don't understand.
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