11/11/2013 12:54 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

A Guide to Twitter Etiquette: Unfollowers and Unfollowing

It was Times newspaper journalist and author Caitlin Moran who said "I think we should all be polite and nice." Now, she was actually referring to being a feminist, but her simple statement applies to Twitter too. Twitter is basically the digital extension of you, a microcosm of your thoughts, daily lives and personality.

Unnecessary unfollowing on Twitter is the biggest faux-pas, the ultimate snub which makes you look like the stuck up kid at school. If you're anything like me, when someone unfollows you for no reason you'll get pretty pissed off, and believe me you have every right to be. Never think that being pissed off because someone unfollows you means you're childish, it doesn't. In our daily lives we expect a little politeness and courtesy, and as Twitter is a part of our daily lives, then you shouldn't expect any different.

Twitter etiquette isn't difficult to grasp, just be friendly, polite and treat others as you would want to be treated, unless you're engaging in some political debate or who was the best dancer on Strictly, then etiquette can go out the window.


Although Twitter etiquette is simple, Twitter users aren't, but they can be grouped into certain categories. It's easy to judge who is going to unfollow and who you can unfollow without feeling guilty, and these are four of them.

1. #TrojanHorseFollowers

Trojan Horse Followers are basically soulless marketing accounts that lure you into following them with compliments and general pleasantries. Once you follow back they'll bombard you with direct messages, containing links to numerous websites that offer everything from modelling contracts to penis enlargements. This will be a simple and guilt-free unfollow.

1. #ViperFollowers

Viper Follower's are my personal bête noir, snake like in their actions; they're people who will do anything to amass a sizeable collection of followers, which they do by following you one day, then a few days or weeks later unfollowing you, hoping you won't notice.

Essentially, Viper Followers desperately want their ego fed and to feel more important than anyone else. Don't sweat it if they unfollow you, they're the ones with low self-esteem.

2. #FauxCoolFollowers

Think back to the cool kids at school, not the ones who were genuinely cool, but those who carefully created the illusion of coolness. They're the Twitter users who painstakingly spend at least 20 minutes writing either a witty or intellectual tweet in the hope of impressing other people.

The reason they're such irksome followers is the fact they'll often delete entire conversations you've had with them, because it doesn't fit with who they want to portray themselves as. God forbid they should actually be spontaneous. They can surprise you sometimes by coming out with "Our tweets weren't in sync, so I unfollowed you" but this is quite rare.

3. #HypersensitiveFollowers

A Hypersensitive Follower is something most of us are guilty of being on occasions, I know I am. They're the people who get very annoyed if you don't reply to a tweet they've included you in, or if you've said something not directly about them, but people's attitudes in general, which resemble them.

They're likely to be slightly schizophrenic, unfollowing you one minute then regretting it and following you back again soon after. Unfollowing them is a bit of a sensitive area, I mean you don't want them spending their Saturday nights talking to the Samaritans.

4. #FalseFollowers

False Followers are one of the easiest to spot, yet at the same time it's a complete mystery as to why they exist on Twitter. Every tweet is either an "inspirational quote" or "words of wisdom" they've seen online, and they're photos are all memes they've found on Tumblr. The bottom line is they're just desperate for retweets and need at least a few dozen followers to get noticed. As a rule they don't unfollow, but again don't feel guilty if you want to unfollow them.