A Theory of Twitter

I like Twitter.

I’ve used Twitter since 2008, although my current active account is much newer. There’s a lot of noise (and sometimes mean people), but I’ve a lovely groove of finding interesting people sharing things we love.

Most of the people I interact with on Twitter are not part of the rest of my life, and it’s a delightful way to broaden my world. I love the unexpected discovery, share, or communication. Here are a few of the key ways that I use Twitter.

Lists
I love, love, love lists. This is how I usually view Twitter. I like my curated control over the Twitter content, and I like sharing my lists. I usually keep about half of my lists private, either because they are for work purposes or that I’m still building them out.

After lists, I will view my main feed, and then oftentimes various hashtags that I enjoy.

How I decide to follow
I like accounts that are real people, with some indication that they are posting their own thoughts and content to Twitter, and there is some hope that we might interact directly with each other.

If it’s an account with a really high volume of Tweets or followers, I might add to a list, but I’m unlikely to follow. Many accounts are also auto-posting from another source (Instagram, YouTube, etc.), and I’m unlikely to follow them.

Follow each other
I am a big believer in reciprocal following. This seems polite and this also can be an indicator of whether I’m following someone who is actively managing their account.

If I am following someone and they never follow me back (I typically give someone 1-4 weeks to follow back), I usually add them to a list if I’m still interested in their content and then I unfollow.

Sometimes I unfollow accounts that are following me. This is usually when their tweets are nothing but marketing (unless marketing something I love), particularly automated marketing, or violate my rules of good internet behavior. Muting is used as a probationary activity for excessive tweeting (ie, flooding my main feed with self-promotional messages or engaged in a lengthy private conversation).

I don’t follow people tweeting really mean stuff or sexbots, although both kinds of accounts can make me laugh.

Housekeeping
I try to review my followers and other interactions at least weekly to make sure I haven’t missed anyone interesting. I do this via the Twitter web platform.

I have the Twitter app on my Android phone and I frequently use that to check in on what’s happening with Twitter and interact with others. I recently turned off the email notifications since the phone app was keeping me sufficiently tuned into my interactions.

I also use Hootsuite to keep content from getting too bunched up. If I’ve got a bunch of fun stuff or weird ideas, I’ll space it out to not totally flood people’s feeds. There are a number of other tools to automate responses, direct messages, and following, but I prefer to manage all those interactions through the main Twitter web and phone apps.

A final note
Since Twitter controlled by an external corporation, I also understand the whole infrastructure could change. So I try not to be too attached to functionality or visuals. And just enjoy the content!

1 thought on “A Theory of Twitter

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