Twitter Trouble

I need some advice:

How are people managing Twitter?

I have too many tweets a day in my timeline. Over my break I’ve realised that the way things have been working aren’t any more. The compulsive and deeply psychological drive to having read everything – reaching inbox zero – is getting more & more difficult. I’m starting to feel a little like a slave to Twitter. So I’m putting the call out – seeing as many of you are following way more people than I am.

So what are others doing? 

Do I unfollow?
Is muting better?
Just use Lists?
Set up multiple accounts? 

How are people tuning into the signal and not the noise? How do you find the voice you need when there the rooms getting crowded and noisy?


5 thoughts on “Twitter Trouble

  1. This is the first question people ask me when they’re thinking of giving Twitter a try, and it’s because we’re conditioned by email — so your mention of inbox zero is really poignant.

    To me, email is the wrong model. I think of Twitter as car radio, or as a bar you might walk into where you know some people and are watching interesting others. You don’t follow everything closely; it’s on when it’s on, you missed what you missed. This is a big factor for those of us in Australia following the US/Canada edtech conversation.

    But it’s radio with benefits. I like that if you really want to backtrack and see where a conversation started, you can. Second, because people can direct things at you, I find Twitter works quite well asynchronously; I can react to something aimed at me when I find it.

    I like Twitter because it’s something I don’t stay on top of — to use a third metaphor that works for me, it’s a river. I like its chance timing the accidental poetry of what goes by at different times.

    Does this help? I’m sure other people will say things about lists.

    • Thanks Kate! I like all the metaphors and I think I’ve most myself when trying to explain Twitter too.

      I think over the last year Twitter, or at least how I use it, has evolved and its become very much a conversation that’s at the heart of my professional life. It’s so engrained now that it’s replaced much of the broadcast media for me – because I’ve got a team of intelligent and amazing people providing me with all the perspectives, stories, news and opinion I could possibly want. Coming from & living in Wagga Wagga, Twitter is tremendously important in connecting me to the world and the conversation going on that otherwise would be completely off limits given my role and geographical location.

      If I was to describe thing a little better I’d say that at the moment it’s like being at a party, everyone with drinks in hand, discussing their own world and perspectives. And because I’ve invited them here they’re doing it in my living room! In that kind of setting though I can see and hear the conversations – I can move between groups, avoid someone if they get rowdy and find the person in the corner shying away from the noise and commotion. I’m just not sure how (or if) that works with Twitter though…

      I suppose I’m trying to develop some kind of hygiene around Twitter. Can I use it more effectively? Can I make sure I don’t miss an important whisper if someone is shouting out?

      It might be me that has to change, to accept the medium as it is, I was just wondering if others were in the same boat :0

      • There are two things here that really jumped out for me. One is how Twitter has replaced broadcast media, as I think it has for me too. I feel this is because it’s more tailored. I grew up reading the daily newspaper, that was always delivered to the house when I was a kid, and I continued this as an adult. But just recently I’ve noticed that I’ve replaced that habit with reading Twitter.

        The other is being regional. I think Twitter became important for me because it connected me to a world outside the small community where I live, and the regional university where I work.

        Hygiene is such an interesting way of putting it. I also love the fishing metaphor. I just accept the idea of missing stuff, but really it comes around again as Scott says. Thanks for asking this useful question.

  2. I don’t have any earth shatteringly insightful advice to give. My solution has been a combination of Kate’s (don’t feel you have to look at everything), the use of lists (something that requires more discipline to do well than I currently employ), and a good client (Tweetbot for me at the moment).

  3. I have HootSuite set up to give me my overall feed (I’m following 5,610), hashtag feeds, AND a very special list called PLN (this list is private so I don’t offend anyone and only has several hundred people in it). I’m not sure the PLN list gives me any better stuff than my other feeds but it does have a pretty high signal-to-noise ratio.

    The analogy I use for Twitter is fishing in a stream. You’ll never catch all the fish and you know that up front. So you don’t worry about the ones that you don’t catch. You’re just happy with the ones you do.

    I find that if it’s really important, it comes around again and again so I’m not too worried about missing much. If you try to read every Tweet you receive, your head will explode. Scanning columns quickly to identify the valuable stuff is a learned skill. Keep practicing!

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