Robert Scoble (who’s on Twitter about 24 hours a day) did an interesting post about how he uses Twitter today – after he unfollowing a whole lot of people and shutting down his autofollow-bot he still follows about 2k people (about 1300+ that he met and 600+ that he’s interested in). This is one of his accounts that he uses for the “filtered information flood” as I’d call it. All people he follows are from a certain area of expertise that he’s interested in most or people that he’s met and therefore might be interested in their tweets. These people he met are also followed by Scoble on another account.
Scoble tells us that he switches Twitter clients pretty often, and therefore can better filter information by following a certain target group with different accounts. And he also tells us that its pretty impossible to read the tweets of 90000 people anyways.
I must say that I think the same way. But I don’t have time to be on twitter everyminute of the day (as Scoble and some other “Social Media Guru Expert Evangelists”), so I even have to filter some more. First, I took my ithoughts_de account and only followed people I like to read and who tweet interesting stuff. As I don’t have too much time and don’t want to clutter my timeline with people who tweet way too often (like Scoble) or only tweet a lot of completely pointless stuff (like Ashton Kutcher or Tila Tequila), those get removed rapidly. Following 250+ people is pretty easy to keep up with, if you look for the filtered information of the day. This is the source of knowledge, that will always instantly tell you important stuff – much earlier than official magazines or websites. No matter what, I still get a lot of information in there, so I can’t always be on that account when I want to use my time effectively.
Therefore I set up a protected account for myself, where I only follow people I know personally (one exception). Here in germany Twitter STILL didn’t break through to the usual webuser, so these are only six people (if you leave out doubleaccounts). That I’m pretty sure that only friends can read it lets me also dump my own pointless stuff without much information value there AND I can use it for communication. I also use this account with my iPhone, so if I make a pointless TwitPic I won’t scare away my ithoughts_de followers (that I believe are there for the good links I find and share).
After all, I also set up a follower-bot thats nicely working in the background to build up followers slowly with 3.4k followers atm. You never know when you wanna have that audience around (that might mainly be bots, but who cares – sometimes also numbers count).
New Idea for Twitter.com
I think if you know about Twitter you could also drive this to the extreme and make different accounts even for different topics of interest. Every account could follow some special breed of people and you could tweet your links to the group of people who follow your account dedicated to that single topic. In facts, this is one of the features that twitter should integrate into (premium?) accounts: using their REST approach they could let you divide your stream into topics and also let you assign your friends (the people you follow are called ‘friends’ on twitter) to that topic. This topic-centered URL would look like http://twitter.com/ithoughts_de/topicjava/ instead of just http://twitter.com/ithoughts_de and you also wouldn’t have to set up 100 accounts then. A nice drag-and-drop webinterface could let you customize your topics and sort your friends in there and you could decide if you follow a person or only one (or more) of his or her topics. Some microsyntax like “§topicjava I found a nice Java-related article that I want to share” could work for older twitterclients while Twitter expands their API by one more parameter called ‘topic’, so updated clients could directly post messages into topics.
If you like this idea, please share it on Twitter … lets hope someone at Twitter sees it. They could also do this thingy for their premium accounts. *cough cough … I didn’t say that you must be mistaken*
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