Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Trouble with Twitters

I must confess, I am a twitterer. But you probably already knew that, and possibly wandered here from my twitter profile in the first place. I find I get a lot out of twitter, from useful information, social connections, news about events local and virtual, and more. The challenge is in taming the flow of the information.

Way back when I started using twitter I followed the basic policy that as long as someone who follows me isn't a bot, a commercial, or way too offensive I follow back. That was great at the beginning but once exceeding around 200 people being followed it became hard to follow the tweetstream as so much information and so many people are twittering. Sometimes the things I wanted to hear about just got missed in the rapid scroll of tweets. Some people only follow select people I can completely understand that policy, the nature of twitter changes significantly when the number gets large. Some people consider this elitist, I just consider this a different way of handling information flow.

I have considered cutting back the number of followers, but how do I pick. Once I went through a winnowing process and the next day got into a really interesting @ discussion with someone I had just unfollowed, who was promptly refollowed.

I tried setting up a second account with a "short list" but I usually ignored that stream, and keeping it up to date with new connections of people I do want to hear just proved too much bother.

The other problem is it isn't like I have one list of people I want to listen to. I'm involved in many different groups and activities and different people speak to different focuses. What I have wanted for a while was a way to group friends and be able to chose which group to look at. Twhirl's searches came close, but Tweetdeck really seems to have hit the nail on the head. I think that tweetdeck may be the start of a new breed of twitter clients.

For the first time in ages I can actually catch the conversations I was missing, and that also means I catch the main timeline more often too because I am getting value out of twitter again. It isn't enough to just "read what's current when you have time" because not all tweets are equal - I wanted the volume up higher on some tweets, and now I can have that. Thanks tweetdeck for giving me my twitter back.


Michael said...

TweetDeck is awesome, but needs a boatload of real estate to run. If they can compress the space a little bit I might go back to it.

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit surprised you caught up late on TweetDeck.
I love fact that you can organise contacts into columns.
I'm afraid I might miss Tweets from folks who tweet once in a blue moon !

The chatty ones - they'll be there and they'll even tweet about their tweets if they want to !