Twitter anxiety

I’m only following 33 people on Twitter.  Is that enough?

I think so.  Other people follow loads more – like 783 – but I can’t understand how that doesn’t become utterly useless.  Unless all you do all day is sit watching your Twitter account you’re going to miss loads of stuff aren’t you?  Or am I mssing something?

I saw this blog post, see, from Todd Defren.  I totally agree with Todd that Twitter’s a really useful tool for understanding what people are thinking about, writing about and doing…which can only help PRs do a better job. 

Todd lists a load of Twitterers that are essential following.  But there are 45 of them.  And I bet they all Tweet like mad.  The reason I stopped following Hugh MacLeod (long before he decided to stop…and then start again) was because he posted so many times that my Twitter page filled up with just his Tweets.  Which wasn’t very useful.

Todd’s the fella who follows 783 people, so if he’s got a canny way of managing that, perhaps he could pass it on?

Here’s a few other Twitter-related things: 

A post from some bloke called Stowe Boyd saying he’ll only accept pitches from companies via Twitter, which I think is a bit ridiculous.

A link to Twhirl which is a much handier way to see and post Tweets than the website (I think Dom put me on to that).

And this little gem called Twistori that Tim just showed me.  When you click on one of the words on the left – love, hate, think, believe, feel, wish – it aggregates all the Tweets that are being posted using the word and scrolls them up your screen.  Strangely compelling.  I particularly like ‘I feel…’

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14 thoughts on “Twitter anxiety

  1. Pete says:

    Mate, you made me lonely as I wasn’t following anybody. So now I am following you. Stange thing is pretty soon I really will be following you on that flashy new bike of yours while Grant & I chug along smoking roll ups.

  2. Mark says:

    Blimey I hope not mate – you’re meant to be one of our pro cyclists!

    And you’re one to talk about a flashy new bike…

  3. Todd Defren says:

    Heya, thx for the mention.
    Although I officially “follow” 700+ people, honestly it doesn’t seem like that many. There tend to be about 100 or so who tweet a lot, the rest do so intermittently.
    I use Tweetbar most of the time, which is a sidebar browser app. Since I am online all the time, the twitterstream just kinda rolls by. Sometimes I pay attention, sometimes not.
    You can’t be “real time” all the time; I give myself forgiveness for when I miss stuff. 🙂

  4. Mark says:

    Hi Todd – thanks for popping by. I think being able not to worry about what you might’ve missed is the key. If it’s that important or insightful, it’ll bubble up again somewhere else.

  5. Matt Ravden says:

    I still maintain twittering is for birds, but as you know I am a reactionary old sod. My first reaction when I see twitters is … well shouldn’t you be concentrating on something instead of tapping away onto a frigging blackberry? But there you go. Naturally I don’t follow twitterers, but am a victim of ‘Push Twitter’ on Facebook.

  6. Mark says:

    Quite right Matt. The gramophone’s overrated too I reckon.

  7. Matt Ravden says:

    C’mon you have to admit, some technology is good and progressive and some is nasty, invasive and just a little bit creepy. Sign up for Twitter so you can follow someone and all of a sudden there are oddballs who want to follow you even if you aren’t actually twittering. Why? Because of something in your profile? Or because they have nothing better to do? And what’s the obsession with numbers? Ooh, I must get my technorati count up …. ooh I must follow 9 million twitters ….

    It is just a bit odd, isn’t it? Or is it just me. Ok it’s just me.

    And gramophones are back in, in case you hadn’t noticed. Analogue is making a huge comeback. Pretty soon, Twittering will be replaced by handwritten notes by carrier pigeon …

  8. Mark says:

    You don’t know how right you are. I was talking to a trend watcher the other day and she told me that some of the kids she uses for focus groups have started writing letters to each other, retro stylee…

  9. Andrew Bruce Smith says:

    Twistori = pass the joint, maaaaan…..

  10. […] thanks or otherwise to Mr Pinsent for pointing me at […]

  11. Simon Marks says:

    Le Twittre

    http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/4/23/

    I only follow one Twitter (Twit? Twittee? Twitterer?)- of a writer – because pretty much everything he says is interesting and Twittering suits his random mind to begin with.

    Most other people are either filling in space for the sake of it or sharing such mundanity that it’s incredible we bother to read it in the first place.

  12. Dom says:

    Thanks for the link through Mr Pinsent. I’ve discovered another beautiful little tool called Twist (http://twist.flaptor.com/) which shows you what people are talking about on Twitter and provides you with a trend graph…I do like my graphs! Anyway quite a nice way to waste some time.

    How long until you set off on your trip?

  13. Stuart Bruce says:

    What you’re actually meant to read the tweets of all the people you follow? Thanks to the wonders of technology (TweetDeck in my case) I follow 500+ people, but only read about 50-60, in my ‘real people’ groups, the rest sit unread in the All Friends (now there’s a daft name for people you don’t know!) column.

  14. Mark says:

    I suppose that’s what it’s come to now Stuart (I just noticed that it’s very nearly a year since this post…blimey, time flies). We’re now using other tools that help make sense of Twitter (and all those other social media feeds etc that we don’t have time to read). But at what point will we need another sort of reader to consolidate all the consolidated feeds?

    Or will someone publish a hard copy and leave it outside my bedroom door each morning? Now, that’d be handy.

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