Skip to content

How to bring back Bulk Following and Unfollowing in ManageFlitter

manage flitter


I really feel for the guys at Twitter tool, ManageFlitter. They have been another victim of Twitter stabbing developers in the back despite it being developers who made Twitter what it is today.

Twitter made a change in their terms that outlaw the practice of bulk following and unfollowing. Dick Costello has backed up this change a number of times and can be summed up in this tweet:

 

I agree with him to a point, it depends on how the bulk following/unfollowing is done. If you just follow everyone in a list without filtering things down then you are bound to get spammy followers. But what if you want to do a bit of spring cleaning. Costello makes another point in a Twitter reply….

Hmmm, again he kind of has a point. However I don’t think this is always the case. Sometimes you want to bulk unfollow people who have dormant accounts, or people who no longer engage with you- I could go on. This is where a tool like ManageFlitter has been so useful.

The thing is what constitutes bulk? Is it the process of automating it? If that’s the problem, then is there a limit to how many people we can manually follow or unfollow at one time? If so, what is that limit? Twitter really need to communicate this better.

Up until recently it was easy to bulk follow or unfollow people in a list. You could select everyone who you follow who hasn’t tweeted for a year, or people who tweet in a different language, or people who tweet more than x times a day. You can the unfollow these in bulk. What I tended to do was to select the whole page in a list and then go through and deselect the people I didn’t want to follow, or I would add them to my white list. The white list feature from ManageFlitter is really useful- people you add to this white list are protected from any unfollows.

Bring it back?

ManageFlitter have gone out of their way to make their service still usable. You can easily follow/unfollow people but you have to keep clicking a button. You can also add people in a “do later” list to follow/unfollow later. They have even created an “entertainment mode” that allows you to watch a video or even learn a new language whilst doing your clicking. I think they have done this in good humour- both making it more useful for the user but also pointing out to Twitter how ridiculous the whole thing is!

However, I wondered whether we could make it a bit easier and use a bookmarklet to bring the bulk unfollow/follow feature back. With some help from Ben Hutchison from the StackOverflow forum, I’ve been able to get this working. It’s a bit of Javascript code. Here is the code that will click the unfollow buttons:

(function(){
    var unfollowButtons = $('button.Unfollow');
    var index = unfollowButtons.length-1;
    unfollow();

    function unfollow(){
        if(index >= 0){
            $(unfollowButtons[index--]).click();
            setTimeout(unfollow, 500);
        }
    }
})();

and here is the code that will click those follow buttons:

(function(){
    var followButtons = $('button.Follow');
    var index = followButtons.length-1;
    follow();

    function follow(){
        if(index >= 0){
            $(followButtons[index--]).click();
            setTimeout(unfollow, 500);
        }
    }
})();

The above code has a built in delay of half a second between each click, to make this quicker you can change the 500 to 100 or less.

The Bookmarklets…

And so, the moment you’ve been waiting for. The bookmarklets to enable you to click all the buttons to unfollow or follow people on one page. Just drag these to your bookmark bar at the top of your browser (if you aren’t using your bookmark bar you will need to enable it). When you want to follow or unfollow everyone on the page, hit the button. There is a delay of 100ms per click.

6 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

neatville1

As far as the bookmarklets go, I’d like it if people with egghead photos were automatically screened out.

Ashley Faulkes

hey awesome Ian, I had not thought of this, I just click the button as penance! And I manage 3 accounts. So this really is a saviour

7 Pillars by @mqtodd

Genius