Saturday, January 22, 2011

A New Year's (Media Diet) Part 4: All-A-Twitter

This is the fourth installment in a series (part 1part 2, part 3) about new approaches to media I hope to adopt and maintain throughout the year. 

Part 1 was a list of reading/thinking that has inspired me to make some changes, while Part 2 honed in on the realization of my "intellectual obesity." Part 3 jumped into Facebook headfirst....

In today's post I'm all a-twitter...


Here's the deal with Twitter: I try to keep it fun, light, and easy. I'm learning to be cavalier with it. Casual even.

Since signing up for the service it's been a hard road to adopt this attitude, but I think I'm almost there. Which is great, because otherwise I find it much too easy to be swept away downstream amidst a torrent of disjointed thought and random asides.

I know there are many people out there who rely on Twitter to keep them in the loop, to stay informed of the latest breaking this-or-that, that's just not why I enjoy it myself.  I enjoy it for  the quick connection, the quick queries, and the quick camaraderie that has developed between those of us who've put ourselves "out there" and "available" to interact via the medium.

But as with most good things in life, too much of it will start to work against you, and I've found that without some sort of self-imposed discipline it's just not worth the time it can eat up.

To that end, I'm discovering that a light-hearted vigilance serves me best. What makes Twitter work for me is when it isn't that much work.*

If I can keep it "fun" I'm in a good spot. And while "fun" is nearly impossible to engineer when you're working with lots of other people, I've found that a good deal of whim and fancy go a long way to ensuring some measure of success.

That said, it's not easy to take technology so non-chalant these days (this series is a case in point) and so I've gently adopted some of the following guidelines :

1. Don't be afraid to stray from the guidelines.
2. Follow more flesh and blood people than twitter accounts representing organizations.
3. Follow more people I know than those I don't know yet.**
4. Don't be afraid to Unfollow.
5. Use lists to slow your main timeline down.

And that, my dear friends, is where I'm at with Twitter these days.

Up next: Google Reader Redux...


*For those of you interested in my twitter setup, I oscillate between tweetie for mac, and twitter on my iPhone. Though I do enjoy it, I don't find myself using the web client nearly as much as either of these apps.

**I know this sounds slightly anti-social, but I've found that  following people I know in "real life" has deepened these relationships moreso than following people I don't know has led to new relationships. 


Michael Krahn said...

On guideline 2 - a majority of my follow requests these days are spammy orgs. No thanks!

On guideline 4 - the Hillside Twitter account unfollowed me last week. That needs to be rectified. ;-)

On guideline 5 - I find Seesmic indispensable for managing my followers.

James Kingsley said...

i hear ya - the choice to unfollow everyone via Hillside's account was a tough one to reach.

in a nutshell, until we decide to divert some more time to engaging our followers, we found it best to use it as a one-way form of communication for updates and FYI type stuff...

Michael Krahn said...

It's no problem. People follow and unfollow every week. Usually I pay no attention but every once in a while I wonder...

Three cheers for being proactive!