Who Isn’t Following You Back On Twitter And Why You Should Care?

Are you maintaining your Twitter unfollow list?

When you follow someone, do you have an expectation they should follow you back? You’re probably aware this doesn’t always happen. But why should you care?

One reason is because Twitter imposes a restriction on how many people you can follow, based on those that are following you. Currently this limit is 2,000. What happens once you hit the 2,000 follow limit?

This is where it gets a little murky because Twitter is tight lipped about what exactly goes on at this point. But restrictions can apply depending on your followers to following ratio. Basically, if you are following a much larger number of people than are following you, you may not be able to follow more people once you hit the 2,000 follow limit.

The 2,000 follower limit was implemented to thwart the efforts of spammers. Those buying 10,000 followers for example, in the hopes they get a large number of follow backs. Should you be concerned than about the 2,000 follower limit?

If you are growing your Twitter following organically, meaning you are not trying to amass hundreds of followers a day by buying lists or following 1,000 people at a time, you should be fine. But if you hit the 2,000 limit and get stuck there, unfollow a few users and try to get your follower to following ratio a little closer to 1.

For example, if you are following 2000 people and only have 1500 followers, your ratio is 2,000/1,500 = 1.5. Unfollowing a few people will decrease this ratio. If your follow count drops to 1600, your ratio is a little closer to (1,600/1,500 = 1.06).

Below is a demonstration of how you can quickly trim your unfollowers. The demonstration uses a free app called justunfollow.com. The app links to your Twitter account. You’ll have to authorize the app to access access your account.

Anytime you allow a third party app access to your Twitter account, you’ll be presented with a login (if you haven’t logged into Twitter yet) or access form similar to the one below:

Twitter authorization form

Your Twitter password is not sent to the app you are authorizing. Your login info is kept secure. The free version of justunfollow.com does allow 25 unfollows per day. This should be plenty for most people.


If someone you want to follow has a very high follower to follow ratio, meaning a large number of followers and small number of following, chances are you won’t get a follow back. For example, if followers equal 10,000 and following equals 500, that’s a follower/following ratio of 20.

Keep in mind, you don’t need to calculate a ratio to figure out what you chances are of getting a follow back. Just keep in mind if the follower number is very high while the following number if very low, you probably won’t get a follow back.

What makes a good follow back ratio? That’s dependent on the person you are trying to follow. The best we can do is go with probabilities. For example, a follower number of 50,000 and following of 47,000 are good odds for getting a follow back. But if the following is 2X larger than the follower number (50,000 vs 25,000), I believe chances drop dramatically of getting a follow back. It is subjective and you have to use your judgement.

If you are unsure about whether you will get a follow back or not, simply follow the person. Give them a month or so to follow you back. After the month, you can decide whether you want to keep following them or not.

Twitter reference: Follow Limits (I Can’t Follow People)

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