I'm Following You
I'm not usually the type of person to talk about who I follow or why I follow someone on a social network. And yet, here I am writing a blog post about it. Okay then...
I've always liked Twitter. I like it's simplicity. I also like that there's the ability to do a one-way association by following somebody without requiring a reciprocal association. If you look at the list of people that I follow, it won't be instantly clear why I chose these people to listen to. What is clear is that I've gone out of my way to bestow some importance on these people. I've given them permission to speak to me via both public and private tweets.
Some people only follow a few people. Others follow thousands. I'm somewhere in the middle—currently at around 400. And those 400 people are quite active. Many have been using Twitter as long, if not longer, than I have. Following too many people increases the amount of information coming in and one hopes that the noise doesn't outweigh the signal.
It can get noisy.
So we start unfollowing people. (Well, I did.)
Which is unfortunate because sometimes we still want to hear what they have to say, just maybe not all the time or as often. What if we could filter this?
Making a List
I created a few lists. And yet, I so rarely use them. Like, actually use them in any way other than to categorize people that I follow. I've gotten the sense that many people are in the same boat.
What struck me recently, though, was that there were plenty of people that I wanted to follow. I wanted to allow them to contact me via direct message. I wanted to publicly (albeit subtlely) say that this was a person I found interesting. But I had hit that precarious tipping point between signal and noise.
Checking it twice
I decided to revisit lists and this time, I created a new list: the one that I actually visit on a regular basis. I skip over my main timeline most of the time and use my special list to soak in what people have to say.
As a result, I've noticed some interesting idiosyncracies between the main timeline and a list.
- There's no retweets in a list.
- Replies between people show up in the list but replies to me (aka Mentions) don't, even if the reply is from somebody on the list. (I wonder if it would if I add myself to my own list?)
I haven't decided whether the former is a good thing or a bad thing but I'd really prefer to have my mentions show up in the list.
Crossing the Streams
One of the ideas that I had for some version of a twitter application that never came to be was the ability to combine multiple streams into a single timeline. I could pick people, lists, retweets or whatever stream I wanted and then could feed it into a single timeline. I'd like to see a Twitter application that can do this.
Or maybe one day I'll actually, finally, build the Twitter desktop application I envisioned...