This post was last updated on October 15th, 2020 at 06:08 pm
Why Twitter cleanup is important
If you’re reading this post, there’s a good chance that you already know why Twitter cleanup is important. Maybe Timehop reminded you of your spring break Twitter pics from college, or a job interview started to go south right after your friend tweeted explicit song lyrics at you, or maybe you posted something stupid and it went viral.
Whatever the reason, it’s time to make some changes (and ideally clean up your social media in general). If you haven’t noticed the direct impact that your presence on Twitter can have on you – consider this:
- There are 68 million active Twitter users in the US
- The average person spends nearly two hours a day on social media
- 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates
- 40% of admissions officers visit applicants’ social media pages to learn about them
What people find out about you online can have a positive or negative effect on your real life. From professional or academic opportunities to your dating prospects, your personal brand online can help or hurt you. Twitter is a hugely popular social media platform and the most successful personal brands use Twitter as a foundational part of their strategy because it works.
That’s why a Twitter cleanup is a must! Here we’ll show you how to clean Twitter in terms of content you create and share, how to perform twitter follower cleanup and how to conduct a Twitter cleanup that manages who you’re following.
Clean up my Twitter first
When you ask yourself, “how do I even start to clean up my Twitter?”, take a deep breath and relax – we’ve got you covered. But before you start going crazy bulk deleting tweets or unfollowing anyone who hasn’t been active in the last 2 days, you need to reflect a little bit.
1. Define your personal brand before you clean up Twitter
Twitter clean up is important because your Twitter account shouldn’t be a liability, but an asset – no matter who looks at it. The Twitter cleanup process is also critical because it forces you to reflect on your existing personal brand, how you want to present yourself online, and how your Twitter account fits into that.
- What image do you want to project?
- What is your personal brand statement?
- Do your profiles and websites support this?
We list some of the most common red flags for employers, partners, clients, admissions officers, and dates below so that you know what kind of tweets or overall Twitter accounts can hurt you. However, you may not care about some of those red flags. Or maybe you don’t want to censor yourself so heavily. If that’s the case, come up with your own rubric for what kinds of content that you do and do not want to be associated with your name.
2. Watch out for red flags during Twitter clean up
With a thorough Twitter clean up you take the first step in defining your online persona. Below are some of the most common red flags for employers, partners, dates, and others looking at you on Twitter. Red flags discourage others from building any sort of relationship with you and keep people from sharing opportunities with you. No one is going to invite you to speak on a panel if you drop the f-bomb in every other tweet.
Examples of red flags you need to get rid of during your Twitter cleanup:
- Discriminatory Language: This refers to any discriminatory content or comments towards race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or any other indication of intolerance towards other groups of people.
- Lack of professionalism at work or school: Watch out for any comments, pictures, “jokes”, videos or things you’ve shared that undermine you as a professional or student. That means you should avoid making disparaging comments about anything that relates to your job or school. A series of tweets related to how much you hate your coworkers, or tweeting a video of you at a party (when you said you had to go home early because you were sick) are no-gos. Leave comments about your job, boss, coworkers, company, clients, fellow students, teachers, principal, administrators or school to an in-person venting session with your close friends.
- Violence or Bullying: Look for any examples where you use hostile speech, insult others, threaten people or utilize aggressive language. Even if you just tweeted something that’s a joke to you, that may not be obvious to someone who doesn’t know you and is looking for red flags.
- Drinking or Drug Use: Depending on your particular situation (ie job, age, etc) you may want to avoid all mentions of drinking or drugs. Otherwise, just focus on getting rid of any videos, pictures, or comments that reference heavy drinking, getting wasted, recklessly partying, illegal or irresponsible drug use, etc.
- Criminal Activity: Criminal behavior varies in nature and severity. But whether a prank goes wrong or you are into serious illegal behavior – employers, admissions officers, clients and potential dates have no interest in people flaunting these kinds of decisions. Employers list criminal behavior as a top reason to not hire candidates.
- Sexually Explicit: Whether it’s an ill-advised tweet or an accidental share – tweets about sexual behavior, genitals, porn, or other sexually charged content are all red flags.
- Unprofessional Communication Style: This includes profanity and other examples of unprofessional language. Pay attention to spelling and grammar, as well as informal language or slang. How you talk to your friends is (and probably should be) different from how you speak to your boss. But for better or for worse your friends are not the only audience for your Twitter account. And it’s not just about profanity. It’s about how you communicate as a whole. At BrandYourself, we don’t think that informal language or spelling errors are an indictment of you as a person, but we want you to know that these are the kinds of things that employers, admissions officers, and others use as red flags.
While these are some of the most significant red flags, feel free to add red flags to your personal list or remove some of those mentioned above during this phase of planning Twitter clean up. For example, if you work in the pharmaceutical industry – you should be tweeting about (prescription) drugs pretty regularly! And if you’re a lawyer, you may have specific compliance rules you need to follow according to your firm’s standards. Whatever the case, make a list upfront so you know what you should be looking to remove during your Twitter cleanup.
3. Get started with my Twitter cleanup
Now that you know what to look for, it’s time for the phase we like to call, “clean up my Twitter”! You have 3 options available to you when it comes to Twitter clean up of content you’re responsible for making or sharing:
Manual removal: This means that you’ll scroll through your profile and delete all the content you’ve tweeted that meets any of the red flag criteria or you’ll use Twitter’s Advanced Search features to find and delete tweets with that fit certain criteria. In addition to original tweets you’ve created, you’ll also have to review posts and content that you’ve liked, pinned, or retweeted from others. Unless you’re supremely inactive on Twitter, that seems like a pretty time-consuming and ineffective method for getting rid of tweets that could get you in trouble.
Bulk removal: If manual removal seems impossible because you’ve already tweeted 20 times today and it’s only 2 pm, then you might be tempted to use a service that lets you delete a bunch of tweets at once. Unfortunately, many of these kinds of apps and services are not fully effective in identifying red flag tweets and rely on parameters like keywords and dates for Twitter clean up. This means that you could easily miss red flag content or accidentally delete tweets that would have helped your Twitter profile.
Using BrandYourself’s DIY software: BrandYourself’s mission is to make the process of ORM transparent and accessible to everyone. That’s why we created DIY reputation management software that scans your reputation online and shows you how to improve it. One of the features of our world-class software is the Reputation Builder which lets you connect your Twitter and Facebook accounts and scan for any posts that could be flagged by employers as unprofessional during an online screening. Our software then helps you delete them. This is the most practical solution for identifying and deleting content off your Twitter account without getting rid of something that could help you.
Clean up my Twitter followers and accounts I follow
Now that you have a clear picture of what version of yourself (hint: the best version) you want people to see when they find you on Twitter, let’s talk about Twitter following cleanup and Twitter follower cleanup.
1. Your ratio matters for Twitter cleanup
The mythical golden ratio suggests that you should follow fewer people than the number of people that are following you. While the actual ratio is unknown, you should still apply that idea when maintaining your own account.
In terms of approach, there are tons of free (or inexpensive) tools that can help you clean up who you’re following in bulk, but proceed with caution. But, if you’re following tons of people this may make sense for you.
If your numbers are more manageable, consider doing this unfollow process manually and gradually to make it appear more natural.
2. Clean up My Twitter by unfollowing
So who exactly should you stop following?
- Inactive users: Depending on what tool you choose to use, you can filter the people that you’re following and view profile names according to when they last posted something. Now it’s true, there may be some people that you follow who post super infrequently on Twitter… but you need to follow them because you admire them, you work for them or they’re family – and you cannot wait to read their next tweet whether it’s in 5 days or 5 years. However, there are likely a number of people that you follow that rarely interact on Twitter. This is basically dead weight and a waste of your following quota. Use your own judgment when it comes to inactive users, but remember that this can be a very easy way to get rid of people that you’re needlessly following.
- Irrelevant users: Irrelevant profiles add zero value to your Twitter experience. So that may mean it’s time to unfollow that guy you met at a party ten years ago who only tweets inspirational quotes from MMA fighters. And remember, a user who is irrelevant to you doesn’t mean that they’re irrelevant generally, they just don’t work with the way that you’re choosing to curate your profile.
- Commercial Users: This can include brands that you followed a couple of years ago when you entered a contest or accidentally followed. While there’s nothing wrong with following brands or influencers that you like, make sure that you prune these users if they’re no longer relevant to you or your personal brand.
- Inappropriate Users: So maybe you followed someone five years ago because they tweeted something hilarious (or so it seemed at the time). Since then you’ve grown to realize that their tweets are offensive, inappropriate, and not funny. As the number of people that you follow drops, you put a spotlight on the few that you do. Weeding out accounts you follow that don’t reflect your personal brand is an important part of your Twitter cleanup.
- Low -quality Accounts: Similar to commercial or inappropriate users, part of your twitter clean up will involve getting rid of low-quality accounts. That could mean they are really spammy or fake. You don’t want to be associated with either of those qualities.
Once you’ve identified the accounts you need to stop following, get started. Again, you can use a bulk unfollow tool, but we recommend that you manually unfollow so that you have full control of who you’re following and so that the actual unfollows are staggered – you don’t want this action to mark you as an automated profile.
From here it’s also a good idea to start creating lists of the people you follow by category – industry leaders, news sources, random, funny – etc. This will be helpful for you as you build your brand and start to act more strategically on Twitter.
3. Twitter follower cleanup
Similar to the process of unfollowing, you want to clean up Twitter followers. You don’t have to be quite as rigid as you do with who you’re following. Focus on blocking followers in these categories:
- Inappropriate: Clean up Twitter followers that incorporate offensive humor, violent or sexually explicit content, derogatory or hateful language, or bully/threaten other users by blocking them.
- Spammy: Clean up Twitter followers who just tweet out promotions or other spam all the time and clearly aren’t real people.
- Inactive: You don’t need followers who have never tweeted anything. It doesn’t reflect well on you, so clean up twitter followers and get rid of them.
Twitter follower cleanup may feel daunting at times. You don’t want to offend your cousin Jim, but his Twitter account with one tweet from February of 2010 about Lindsey Vonn isn’t doing you any favors. So make sure you follow all the steps listed above and continue to monitor your account. This is how to clean Twitter.
Scared to clean Twitter on your own? BrandYourself can help
BrandYourself offers software and services that not only show you how to clean Twitter but get your personal brand on track. Our DIY reputation management software scans your current online presence and calculates your Reputation Score (like a credit score for how you look online). From there, our technology flags anything that could damage your reputation and earning potential. Our software shows you the high-impact steps you need to take (one-time-only and recurring) to improve how you look online.
Or, let us do the work for you with our managed services team. Discuss your options with a Reputation Advisor today at (646)-863-8226, or schedule a consultation.