This week I started my Twitter purge. I have pretty much just stopped using Twitter because the noise levels were so high that it was no longer useful. When I ran the podcast at Alternageek.com I followed anyone who seemed to be a fan or had anything even remotely interesting to say back. It wasn’t long before I was following over a thousand people and many of those I really didn’t have anything in common with. Some of the new media people I would still like to stay networked with however, I don’t think Twitter is the place to do it. With all of these social network sites you tend to add all of the same people, but I don’t think that is the most efficient way to handle them.
I originally signed up at Facebook (when it was still closed to the public) because higher ed used it and I work full time in higher education. I have branched out my Facebook relationships, but I won’t add just anyone who adds me. I like to keep Last.fm to those I know or are interested in similar music. I use Ravelry to connect with knitters and crocheters. Now I do have overlap on some of these networks and that is pretty awesome but normally I don’t want to talk web 2.0 in a yarn forum. Specialized networks should be used for the specific types of relationships they foster to get the most benefit from them.
Back to Twitter static; I had to clean it up. I was missing messages from people who I really enjoyed reading updates from. One of the best tools to start my purge was Twitter Karma. Twitter Karma pulled in all my followers and friends and sorted them. First I could see who I follow but that doesn’t follow me. If you aren’t famous or a service, I would appreciate the follow-back. If you don’t follow me back, maybe you aren’t interested so I re-evaluate if I am really interested in your updates. Non-followbacks cut dozens of my follows out.
Next was the mutual relationships. I sorted these by Last Updated and cut everyone who hadn’t updated in at least the last 90 days then reviewed everyone who hadn’t updated in 30-60 to see if that was just their way of doing things before purging them.
I have cut hundreds of people and it’s sad I even let my account get to the point where I have to do that. The last phase of my Twitter purge is to watch my timeline and if I don’t recognize a friend or they tend to tweet things I am not interested in, I am manually removing them. It’s nothing personal, I am just not interested. There might be a few that get caught in the cuts that I want back, and I am sure I will find them again.
The moral of the purge is that it is easy to go to excess with social networks. If the network you are using isn’t teaching you something, connecting you with others, or benefiting you then either cut the site or figure out how to fix where it went wrong. I miss Twitter, hopefully this will get me back in gear again.