Way back in January of 2008 I signed up for a little service called Twitter. The concept seemed strange but I gave it a shot. The more I used Twitter, the more it grew on me. It didn’t take long before I was accumulating thousands of Tweets.
Passing the time…
— Walt White (@waltw) January 24, 2008
The issue that I ran into was volume. Over the years I followed thousands of people. Some were like-minded individuals, others were companies that I wanted to keep up with. The outcome was predictable, the signal to noise ratio became imbalanced.
My Twitter account, which was once a wealth of conversation, had become an ocean of garbage. It was my fault after all, I should have seen in coming as I followed more and more accounts.
After years of using the service I finally had enough. I began wading through the accounts I had followed and began removing them. I spent what felt like ages removing anyone that might tweet something remotely annoying.
Despite my best efforts, it didn’t work and I continued to be overrun with junk. I wound up walking away. I didn’t delete my account but I stopped checking it and turned off alerts on my iPhone.
On a few occasions I’ve tried to go back, remembering the glory days of my Twitter account. I haven’t been able to stick with it and just wind up ignoring the service after a few days.
Ever since my youngest daughter was born I spend a lot of time caring for her at home. While my wife works and I’m up for a late night feedings, I find myself eager for adult conversation.
After scouring Facebook, I’ve been turning to Twitter for a hint of something interesting. Wading through the junk is exhausting and I’ve decided to take back my Twitter account.
I’ve spent the last couple of days staring at my feed and judging Tweets. I place them into three categories and then take action.
The good accounts are those that tweet personal updates. I like interacting with real people and these are often the most interesting. I don’t mind links here and there but it is conversation that I’m after, not the next website I should be visiting.
The bad accounts aren’t necessarily bad, just those that aren’t personable. Businesses and celebrities with social media managers fall into this category. The chances of having a conversation with these accounts are highly unlikely which reduces my interest. People that Re-Tweet relentlessly also fall into this category.
Needless to say, if my perception of a given Twitter account is negative it gets the axe.
The Potentially Ugly
The Potentially Ugly accounts are the ones I’m not sure about. Maybe our interests don’t align anymore but I want to keep them around to see if we have something to talk about. Whatever the reason, I don’t want to unfollow them straight off.
How about you?
The process has been slow going but I am seeing improvement in the quality of my timeline. I suspect that I’ll never eliminate the signal to noise imbalance but I can at least make it bearable.
How have your Twitter habits changed since you first started using the service? Do you have any tips to help reduce the noise?
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2 thoughts on “Taking Back My Twitter Account”
I’ve kind’ve gone through the same thing on Twitter. I bed I made 50 posts a day, 3 or 4 years ago. I still read it to keep up with things I’m interested in. But I also follow people I don’t agree with, like Moms Demand Attention and Al Jazeera, because I want to know what they are telling their followers.
But here’s the real thing – to reduce the noise, I did a couple of things. Twitter lets you organize people in Lists, so I do that. Shooters and pro-2A people are in a list called Pb, barbecue folks are in Dining, bourbon folks are in Drink, etc. Then, use a program like TweetDeck, which lets you arrange your desktop with the List feeds. Yes, I have the main feed, but I don’t have to pay attention to it, if I don’t want to. If I’m on a meat day, read the Dining feed.
BTW you are in Pb and always have been.
I used to do that with TweetDeck a while back. I stopped using it at some point (I think there was an API issue with all non-official apps at one time and they weren’t working right). These days I check mostly via browser (at work and home) and my phone (Official Twitter App – I’m not a big fan of it).
It looks like a lot of the people I used to talk to frequently aren’t using the service much these days. I haven’t been doing a lot of tweeting but I read and am hopeful for the occasional conversation.
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