Twitter and me

Frank Chimero wrote about the way Twitter has been changing lately, it’s a good piece and if you haven’t read it, I recommend you do that before you continue on here. Ever since I read it yesterday morning I’ve been thinking about it. Not just the changes that are happening currently at Twitter, but also the role Twitter plays for me.

I was a reluctant user of Twitter. I actually started using it to win a t-shirt at the first An Event Apart I went to in Seattle. I slowly started using it after that, lurking and following, not sure what it was going to be for me. I didn’t know a lot of people on it, I didn’t have a “community” in any sense of the word as I wasn’t interacting with very many people.

But in the last two years or so, Twitter has changed for me, and I definitely feel a sense of community when I open it up. Working from home and being alone much of the time, there are days where Twitter makes up the bulk of my interaction with other people (I know, I should get out more). To piggy back on Frank’s metaphor, Twitter is still a porch for me much of the time, but I work hard to do that. I’ve ventured out into the street and met new people who have become a part of the party on my porch, so it’s a balance for me that sometimes may not always work completely, but it’s better than a firehose of noise.

How do I maintain the porch? I use Tweetbot and I mute, a lot. Meaning, if there is a hashtag or news story that is getting a lot of talk and it’s becoming too much for me, I mute words and hashtags so I stop seeing it. This may sound like avoidance, but honestly, sometimes stories need time to sort themselves out and I can’t handle being a part of the sorting process all the time. And most important of all, I leave for periods of time, I scroll to the top when I open it in the morning, and I don’t worry about what I may have missed.

Twitter has introduced me to many great people, people who are friends now and I am grateful. But I also think that change is inevitable. While I don’t love everything Twitter does as a company, I do love the people who I meet through it and the way they’ve opened up my world in countless ways.

As an aside: I’ve been using Slack with a some friends and have found it to be a fantastic place to have the kinds of discussions that I don’t want the street to weigh in on.