twitter snobbery or basic info management?

A post by Greg Schwartz on his Open Stacks blog directed me to a post by Mitch Joel on his Six Pixels of Separation blog, and after reading it, I have to say, “Ditto.” Except for the number of followers & following, and the bit about Twitter on a Blackberry, my experience and reasoning is similar to Joel’s.

I started off on Twitter with a small handful of connections, mainly from the same organization. Their interest fizzled out quickly, but it left me poised for the Great Librarian Twitter Invasion of ’07. Soon, I was following and being followed by more and more people. When my following number hit triple digits and the rate of tweets increased to several per minute, I knew I had to do something to keep Twitter from taking over my life.

As an experiment, I went public with my tweets for Computers in Libraries, and I have left them that way ever since. Periodically, I will go through and weed out those that I follow, mainly keeping people I know in real life (or have a deeper online connection) or people I simply want to keep tabs on (mainly celebrities like Wil Wheaton and Jonathan Coulton). I still get far too many tweets per day to keep on top of everything. On the up side, anyone can follow me if they wish, and I don’t have to follow them in return.

Regarding the @ reply thing… Like Joel, I try to refrain from @-ing too often. My followers are not all from the same group of people who would care about what I’d have to @ about, and to save them the trouble of wading through irrelevant tweets, I send direct messages instead. I only wish more of the folks I follow would be as considerate, particularly when their replies make no sense out of context.

10 thoughts on “twitter snobbery or basic info management?”

  1. See, here’s where I’m confused. I thought that if I sent an @ to someone who you didn’t follow, that you wouldn’t see that. Not true?

  2. You can manage the @ thing, too. In your settings you can choose to see only those @ message directed toward people you follow (which means you’ll also have seen all the context). Or you can choose to see every @ message your followees send. I tried the second option for about 2 hours before switching back to only seeing conversations between mutual friends. The other is just too overwhelming for me.

  3. Ah! I did not know that about the @ settings. If I have it set so that I see @ replies only for people I’m following, will I see @ replies directed towards me by those I do not follow?

  4. Unfortunately, Tweet Scan won’t catch those who have their tweets hidden. In any case, I think I’ll have fewer tweets to read with the more restrictive @ setting, so I’m turning it on.

  5. Hm. Despite having the more restrictive @ setting, I’m still seeing all of them, regardless of whether I follow the person being @-ed or not. Going back to all @ replies to catch what Tweet Scan doesn’t.

  6. I have the more restrictive @ setting turned on, but getting so many @ replies from people I *do* follow gets very annoying. Sometimes we need to take our tweetversations to IM; I’m just as guilty as the next person of not doing just that.

    SMS helps when I just can’t keep up. I have an unlimited txt plan, and I’ve changed twitter settings so that the messages of only people that I’m truly interested in come to my phone. Taking the machete approach to these has helped, too: I scan them every so often, then just delete my entire Inbox.

    Anna, try turning on the more restrictive @ setting then looking at the stream of someone who follows many more people than you–you should see many more @s from that person than you see in your own stream. If it’s the same, something’s definitely up.

    Great post.

  7. I admit that I am guilty of using @ far more than DM. One reason is that many people don’t seem to check their DMs that often. I’ve noticed that I get a response to an @ much more quickly than I get one from a DM.

    Another reason that I use @ a lot is because I am trying to draw others into the conversation. Others may use Twitter for marketing and other important business functions, but I use it just for fun. I’m a stay-at-home mom who doesn’t drive so I need entertainment :-).

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