I am beginning to use Twitter more and more as a source of news and information from people and organizations I trust.
As part of doing so, I am whittling down the number of people I follow on Twitter to a more manageable number. By manageable I mean being able to open up my Twitter homepage and scroll thru the feed in a fashion in which I can find value.
Value, for me, is getting news and learning things, being able to share items I think of value to my followers (retweet or share with my comments) or being able to engage those sharing items.
I have taken down those I am following to about 550. At one time I was following close to 10,000 and I took that down to less than a 1,000 a number of years ago. But 1,000 followers was still too much for a worthwhile feed on the Twitter home page.
Following 1,000 I never used the Twitter home page for news and information. It was too much of a fire hose. Sure, I shared items on Twitter, engaged people who engaged my tweets, occasionally looked at my Twitter lists and did searches, but I never used Twitter as a news and information feed.
Twitter’s homepage works as a news and information feed when following 550.
Whether on my iPhone or iPad, more preferable than my MacBook for reading Twitter, I see some good stuff from some good people. I engaged a couple New York Times’ reporters this afternoon, a law school, a law firm and other individuals — all by following the Twitter home page for a bit. I picked up some good stuff to share and comment upon for my Twitter followers.
I see people with tens of thousands of followers and an equal number of people and organizations they are following. I know some folks that use or have used software that generates followers for the sake of followers and follows back in return. Some follow in the hope of getting followed back.
Assuming you’re not so vain, what’s the point? You cannot use Twitter for news and information when following a ton of people.
I get that you want to be nice to the people you know who are following you. It’s been tough unfollowing people I know who follow me. But if what they are sharing is not of enough value, what should I do? I can still stay connected and get to them in other ways – Facebook, LinkedIn, face to face and when they engage me on Twitter by liking or retweeting items I share.
Looking at Twitter as a news and information feed, the news and information from my friends and colleagues may be very valuable to others, but not too me. Though Comcast gives me 800 channels I don’t watch them all.
When Twitter was new, people asked “Should I follow back everyone who follows me? Isn’t it the polite things to do.” Not if you have a ton of followers and following them back means an unreadable “fire hose.”
Traditionally, I got my news and information primarily from my news aggregator, Feedly. By following sources and subjects that I selected and organized into folders I stayed abreast of items like you would via a newspaper (tailored in this case) and had plenty to share with my Twitter followers.
I am looking forward to now also getting news and information from Twitter, the people’s network – for knowing what’s happening and what everyone is talking about, right now.