Twitter Profiles - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Widely accepted Twitter etiquette deems that you follow back those that follow you but, I am not always perfectly polite. 

When you just can't keep up, or you start to reach Twitter's limits for following, you have to be more choosy about who you follow. If you are curating content for your followers, you may want to put the big guys on a list and unfollow them. Don't worry, they probably won't miss you, and you can still see their tweets (I'll explain later). 

After you reach Twitter's first following limit of 2,000 you will have to keep the ratio of your follows to followers somewhere above 90%. It varies as you grow the number you're following. Twitter doesn't disclose the exact ratio, or what other criteria they use, but you will hit a limit several times if you are trying to grow your number of followers.

You need a method to follow selectively

One method I use that allows me to limit the number I follow, is to organize tweeps with lists. I have many tweeps I don't follow, on lists. I can view a list's feed any time, so I am still "following" them. They're just not counted  by Twitter as follows. Since I've grouped tweeps into lists by topic, and I view their tweets with a purpose, I am actually "following" them closer. Lists are a great way to share tweeps you have grouped by subject matter. 

You can see my public Twitter lists here: twitter.com/tcledford/lists. If a tweep is tweeting about a subject that interests you, please follow them, or subscribe to the list. I would highly recommend that you create your own lists and make them public. Your author and search rank will benefit, and your listed tweeps will too!

I also use Tweepi to rank the tweeps I follow who are not following back. Tweepi sorts tweeps by criteria I can use to decide which ones to follow - Klout score, number following them, number of tweets, last time they tweeted, etc. Tweepi has many useful features to help you manage Twitter. The basic version is free and you can access it at tweepi.com.

Profiles help you follow more selectively

Now, I am more selective about who I follow to begin with, and I try to put them on a list as I follow them. I follow tweeps for many different reasons, but one sure fire way to make me want to follow, is a good profile. If your profile is bad, I may not dig too much further to see if I want to follow you. Including your website or blog url in your profile makes it much easier to find out more. If your profile is ugly, I may follow you but, "When it's time for leavin', I hope you'll understand. I was born a ramblin' man!"

Of course this is all very subjective, but for me, a good profile tells me what you do, lets me know what kind of tweets to expect, intrigues or entices me to know more about you.


The Good

  • A Web Developer...
  • I write books and rock out.
  • Harvard Senior Fellow and upcoming author on entrepreneurial leadership from Simon & Schuster
  • Daily, an Inbound Marketing Professional. Nightly, the queen of the kitchen, an expert in giggling and I am naturally blonde.
  • My mom RTs me. I'm her only follower. | Manager of Social Media at @twittername | A mix of work, sarcasm, slightly NSFW, and life.
  • Sharing knowledge about how to blog and the best tools in the business, particularly WordPress.
  • Brain surgeon, constant learner!
  • Practical leadership advice from a former Fortune 500 CEO, co-author of NYT bestseller, keynote speaker, & HBR blogger.
  • I'm a woman of full force passion in art in dance and live for the element of surprise.

The Bad

I won't list any actual profiles here, instead, I will just list a few things that do not impress me in a profile. These don't necessarily make a profile bad by themselves, but add an egg or a goofy profile picture and they may be on their way.


  • The word guru - Unless you have dedicated your life to meditation.
  • You have dedicated your life to meditation
  • How you can enlighten me with your wisdom
  • The word actionable
  • Profanity or sexual innuendo - It's boring.
  • Not saying anything to help me understand what you do, unless you are very clever, funny or intriguing.

The Ugly


  • Follow!! And i'll Follow Back!!
  • Follow me and I might follow back.
  • Lots of hashtags

Your results may vary!


What kind of Twitter profile makes you want to follow?



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