Since it launched, I’ve been conflicted about Twitter. It’s an ego distillery, and the signal to noise ratio is ridiculously high (or should that be low?).
Yet, I’m feeling increasingly obligated to engage with the tool for professional purposes (not to mention the book we’re writing). I encourage all of our technology clients to use the service, but there would be obviously be applications for an active personal account as well. A friend recently launched a new project, and announced it on Twitter. He called it something like “a fantastic lens for focusing attention”.
But, man, I just can’t get interested.
Thinking about it, I wondered if it had something to do with an obligation to ‘follow’ a few hundred members of the digerati. Or even the social obligation to follow everybody who’s following me? I more or less bowed to that perceived pressure in Facebook, and now I’ve got 455 friends and rising. How many of them are actual friends or colleagues in any kind of meaningful way? Less than half, I’d guess. As such, it’s a useless tool for monitoring actual friends’ activity. And I’m not even sure if I want to do that.
My New Baseline
So here’s my latest Twitter experiment. I’m only going to follow people who I personally know, and with whom I have an ongoing regular relationship. We see each other at least occasionally, or exchange emails or something. If I met somebody two years ago at a conference, and haven’t seen them since, they’re out. If I read their blog and comment regularly, and send them an email every once and a while, they’re in. That’s my new baseline.
I just culled my Twitter following list down to 33. It will increase, as I haven’t actively sought anybody out to add, but I’m going to try to be disciplined about it.
Hopefully this approach will help me get more excited about the tool. Instead of just another fire hose of geeky news, I’ll be watching my friends and colleagues lives. Which, just as mine would, may turn out to be tremendously dull. But I’m giving it the old college try. Again.
I don’t expect to ‘tweet’ (that is, broadcast messages) very much at this stage. I plan to just watch and reply to others if something tweaks my interest.
UPDATE: I’m so conflicted about Twitter that I failed to include a link to my Twitter stream o’ tweets.