Dipping My Toe Back Into Twitter
In The Social Media Conundrum, I shared my thoughts on the then front-page news of Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover, primarily about my consideration of rejoining the platform. In it, I stated my motivations: promote the blog, connect with friends and family, and organize my information feed to aid efficiency.
This post provides an update on how I’ve proceeded from that initial consideration, and what I’ve learned to date.
In my previous Twitter life, I used Hootsuite to set up channels based on topics of interest (Professional, Sports, News, etc.), which made focusing my content search easy. Like nearly everything else, Hootsuite is no longer free, and it is expensive to boot. I didn’t find a substitute I liked until discovering Tweetdeck, which is both a Twitter product (automatic integration) and free (I like it!). I allocated the accounts I follow across Tweetdeck lists to form topical verticals.
Why do this? Because when I go looking for John Piper’s daily post I don’t want to have to scroll through Jordan Pederson, Ben Shapiro, the Dodgers, IFMA, and all the other off-topic feeds. It saves time and helps maintain focus.
Managing the Monster
I ran across a common theme in my research about how to manage Twitter instead of letting it manage you: do NOT put it on your mobile phone. Use it on desktop only and establish a protocol for when you will look at it and how you will use it. At this early stage my protocol is pretty simple.
- It is not on my phone
- I view Tweetdeck as part of my morning information routine and sometimes in late afternoon, if it happens to be a slow day
- I never view it after working hours (this may change as family/friends connect, but only for them)
Basically, this is common sense. If you don’t want to be a slave to something, make it a slave to you. Set boundaries on how, when, what, where, why – and live to them. It really is that simple.
What I’ve Learned
It is still early in the game, but I would say my experience is mixed. It is neither a certainty that I will or will not stay with Twitter at this point. I do like having the information feed customized to my tastes, ease of access to content I care about, and the idea of short messages versus longer forms. I also like being able to easily schedule future tweets, and see the utility of being able to manage multiple accounts from one dashboard.
I am not a fan Twitter’s recommended feeds. They aren’t all bad, but they aren’t all something I’m interested in either. Too many of them waste my time. Ideally, there would be a way to tell Twitter what topics I am interested in and let it suggest feeds based on my input. This would probably amount to a rebalancing of their algorithm, which doesn’t seem that big a deal. I think the difference between topical and key word suggestions would be significant. But hey, I am a rookie at this and may well have overlooked an already existing solution. Before you ask, yes, I have tried using the search function. It is a step, not a large one, in the right direction … imho.
By far, the worst thing I’ve encountered are the trolls. You know them. They are those who, whatever the platform, come knocking on your door to connect with you when there is no connection. Spam, which I used to like (that’s another story), is no longer meat for a sandwich. It is everywhere and it is annoying. Most of what I get are so egregiously obvious that I don’t understand why Twitter doesn’t discreet them away from my account.
At this point, I have barely dipped my toe into the Twitter pool. I’ve connected with a very small number of friends, followed people and organizations I am interested in, and I get a good bit of my news from the feed. I do tweet out new blog posts and that is having some positive effect on its reach, as well as the occasional other tweet or retweet. I also, chaos aside, generally like what Musk is doing, or at least his stated motivations for same. And, I think I’ve only put out one tweet that had a bit of snarkiness to it.
But like I said, it’s early. Stay tuned.
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