Do People Notice If You Unfollow Them on Twitter?

By Donna T. Beerman

There are many reasons you might want to stop following a Twitter user: maybe they post too many links or maybe they complain way too much. If you are wondering if people can tell if and when you unfollow them on Twitter, the short answer is yes. However, it won’t be blatantly obvious to the average user. Twitter itself does not notify people when they are unfollowed, but if your fellow tweeter is using a specific third party service or attempts to perform a certain action from his own Twitter account, the cat may be let out of the bag.

Step 1

Look at your Twitter profile, or that of the other user. Your Twitter profile contains two main lists: Followers and Following. Followers are those who follow you, and Following are users you choose to follow. From your Following list, you can easily unfollow people, as well as add them to lists and access their profile. What’s more, though, is that users can also access your Followers and Following list. If you decided to unfollow someone, he will no longer appear on your Following list, or his own Followers list. Did you follow that?

Step 2

Try to direct message. The way Twitter is set up, the direct message function works if two users are following each other in a reciprocal relationship. If you followed a particular user at one point in time, but later decided to unfollow him and he subsequently attempts to send you a DM, he will be presented with the message “You can only send a DM to users who follow you.” This is probably the easiest and most common way another user will notice that you no longer follow him.

Step 3

Use a social media monitoring service. There are several social monitoring tools, primarily used by brands and business, that allow Twitter account managers to get more data on their followers and track their activity and growth. SproutSocial and Social Bro are two examples. Many of these programs include a visual indicator on the list of users you follow that show if that person/account is also following you. Two green arrows pointing to each other often express a reciprocal relationship, whereas a one-way relationship is indicated by one red arrow. If you previously followed someone that uses this type of program, she may be able to see that you unfollowed her as she browses her list.

Use an unfollow tool. Though Twitter itself does not offer some information users seek, such as finding out if they’ve been unfollowed, application developers have stepped into that gap. Several email or Twitter-based resources have been created just to track unfollows. If someone you decided to unfollow does use one of these services, he will be sent an email or Twitter DM notifying him of your unfollow. Examples of these include Qwitter and Mr. Unfollow.