Twitter Unfollower Tracking Tools: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Posted by Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth is Vice President of Marketing for Comparz.com and founder and Director of eMatrix Media Comm...
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on Friday, 16 December 2011 in Social Media

It is a common and vexing issue for Twitter users: You notice that your follower count has declined, but you can’t tell who has unfollowed you. Twitter itself offers no tool to detect unfollowers. 

The desire to identify unfollowers is keen enough among Twitterers, however, that a good number of tools have been created that promise to uncover the treacherous souls who have abandoned you. 

While the promise is tantalizing, many of the tools deliver disappointing results.  In fact, some of the tools delivered no results, some only partial results, and none of the tools I tried was able to provide a complete historical record of those who had unfollowed me.

The tool that provided the purest and most direct unfollower hunting experience was who.unfollowed.me. It has a clean, simple interface and produces results quickly, but only shows you the most recent unfollowers—the past seven days. I was able to find and terminate 11 unfollowers in my first foray. Hasta la vista, baby! And two more unfollowers were delivered up later.

SocialBro also delivered up recent unfollowers in a satisfying manner, although the process was more involved and SocialBro's findings differed from who.unfollowed me's results.

SocialBro, a multifaceted twitter intelligence tool with a nice console, provides a lot of views and information, and "Recent Unfollows" is just one item on the "Your account" tab. You must press a synchronize button to sync your Twitter account with SocialBro, and a message tells you that unfollower tracking only works after your second synchronization. 

But voila! There they were, ferreted out and served up piping hot—nine fresh unfollowers. And SocialBro found six deserters who were different than those presented by who.unfollowed.me.  SocialBro also allows you to whack them back—check off each unfollower, hit an unfollow button, and SocialBro performs a mass automated unfollowing. Sweet. A yellow triangle with an exclamation point declares them unfollowed. Toast.

Like Friend or Follow, SocialBro also will show you who among those you follow is not reciprocating, and allow you to easily select multiple members and purge them en mass.

Other than who.unfollowed.me and SocialBro, nothing else came close to smoking out unfollowers.

Friend or Follow is a good-looking tool with a clean interface that delivers results quickly. However, it only shows you those who you follow and who are not following you back. It does not show you explicitly who has unfollowed you, or when. The functionality you get for free is limited, and a higher-level membership is $9.99 per month.

Your Tweeter Karma is similar to Friend or Follow but less slick. It delivers data fast and shows you those who you are following and who are not following you back, and gives you an easy way to unfollow them. But it does not show explicitly who unfollowed you. It’s free and offers a button for donations.

Goodbye, Buddy! bills itself as an unfollower detector, and it looks promising, but it came up empty. To use it, you simply go to the @goodbyebuddy Twitter page, hit follow, then visit the website. Goodbye, Buddy! presented a graph and stats, but produced zero unfollowers. Although it invited me to come back later, Goodbye, Buddy! gave me nothing, nada.

Twunfollow, a free e-mail alert unfollower service, was another disappointment. You sign up on the site, it verifies your e-mail address, and you select your alert options. However, it had no unfollower data initially for my account and provided no unfollower history. It later delivered an e-mail reporting that I had one unfollower, but did not identify the unfollower. Not an impressive showing.

Qwitter also failed to deliver a single unfollower, although it flashed a message on the screen that said, “We'll track your qwitters automatically from this moment on. In a week you can expect your first qwitter email notification.” I’ll be waiting.

All in all, the tools proved a motley collection that fell short in their ability to serve up unfollowers. Several of the tools will generate a complete list of who is not following you back, and the unfollowers will likely be among them. But for pinpointing unfollowers, a combination of who.unfollowed.me and SocialBro seems the best you can do.

Comparz has user reviews and ranking of social media management tools.  Click here to view Comparz' social media management software rankings.

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Michael Neubarth is Vice President of Marketing for Comparz.com and founder and Director of eMatrix Media Communications. Michael has a comprehensive marketing, communications, PR, analytical, and editorial background, including strategic marketing, communications, and market intelligence roles at IBM, FatWire Software, and Brodeur Worldwide, and as an analyst at Meta Group covering advanced technologies. His experience includes roles as editor-in-chief of Internet World, NetGuide, and Windows magazines, and expert contributor to CIOzone.com. Michael is a well-known writer on information technology, digital marketing, and social media issues, and his articles and blogs are cited widely online.

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