Easy: block them.
It really is that simple. Twitter is too precious a resource to be ruined by the antisocial behaviour of a persistent minority.
And it is a minority – most of the people you meet and engage with on Twitter will be courteous and civil. But a small percentage of every community – and this is certainly true across the internet – will be rude and disruptive, going out of their way to poison the well.
Thankfully, peace of mind is just one click away.
Here’s the thing: you’re under absolutely no obligation to follow anyone on Twitter, and you’re under no obligation to let anyone follow you on Twitter.
When you block somebody on Twitter they will no longer be able to send you messages, and your tweets will stop showing up in their timelines.
Some examples of problem followers include:
- People who take objection or find fault with everything you do
- People who are negative all the time
- Anyone who is aggressive towards you or your friends
- Good, old-fashioned weirdos
Don’t engage. Don’t try and reason with them. Do not attempt to feed the trolls. Employ a zero tolerance policy and just block them.
It’s true that these kinds of users are really only problem followers if they engage with you. Otherwise, you probably won’t even know that they are there. But if things like influence and clout rankings are important to you, then removing bots, spammers and other undesirable followers from your Twitter network can be very beneficial to how you score.
In some cases these people should be reported to Twitter. You can report spammers on Twitter.com and in some Twitter clients such as HootSuite. Major violations should be reported directly to Twitter.
(Important: while blocking problem followers is advised, Twitter’s block isn’t as effective a deterrent as it is on other social networks, such as Facebook. Read more here.)
Bottom line? This is your Twitter. It’s what YOU make it. If the behaviour of other people is ruining your experience then YOU need to take action to make it right. And by spending a few minutes each every week or so weeding out problem followers from your network you can dramatically improve the way that Twitter works and the way that you feel about it.