Hitting the wall: inevitable Twitter navel-gazing

June 3, 2009

The Wall, by _spoon_

Image: The Wall, by _spoon_, via Flickr

I think I’ve hit a bit of a wall with Twitter.  The excitement of all the initial exploration and discovery has been overtaken by some feelings of hmmm, how can I put it?  Weary drudgery. Overload.  Disconnection.

I do recognise this flat phase from other networking – eventually after a bit of wild expansion, you need to regroup and consolidate.  I got really excited at uncovering new people and new blogs via Twitter;  then I went a bit mad adding new people and finally, I got to the stage of being unable to keep up, or remember who this person was.

On the whole, I’m loving Twitter, but it’s such an odd window on the world.

Four things that struck me this week:

  • the excitement and the frustration of online networking

Sometimes you hit a good 140 character ‘conversation’ and you think: dang, this chat would be far better carried out over coffee, or a drink, or even something extremely 2003 like Instant Messenger.   The Twitter chat can be great, at times, but it’s also so frustrating and narrow.  You people on the internet, you’re different in real life.  I know that.  I’d like to see that. I’d like to see YOU.

  • the niche nature of online networks

Few social networks, even the high profile ones, truly capture an audience.   There are so many relevant and interesting people who aren’t there.

In the case of Twitter, perhaps it’s maybe likely that everyone in an intense geekspace is present; but outside of that group, online networks are a partial representation of the whole.    Of course, that doesn’t matter:  we talk to the people who are here; but when we generalise beyond ourselves, we need to remember all the other folk who are too busy or too uninterested to get involved.

  • the sheer VOLUME of virtual landfill (blogfill?)

I think it was the NME (someone will correct me) who coined the term ‘indie landfill’  for a certain kind of indie act that would get 6 months of fame if they were lucky.    With Twitter, I click blindly on posts.  Some blogs are lovely, some are dire, some are OK.


Freshnetworks have a well-written, interesting, pithy post up every single bloody day.   I’m still musing on Tuesday and they’ve bounced on to Thursday.

I can’t keep up.


  • We  are weirder than we realise

So. I tweet, I read, I blog, I comment.   When I come across an interesting blog that I’d like to read regularly, I add it to my Netvibes page (my RSS reader).   In the research I did last year amongst young managers, something like 9 per cent had used an RSS feed.    Now, I know fine well that I am not up there with the technogeeks.  Still, I have a Netvibes page.  THIS ACTUALLY MAKES ME QUITE UNUSUAL.  Add in my demographic details and it makes me an actual freak, but we won’t go there.

There’s a moral here somewhere.   Get out more, maybe (note to self).  This is nice, but it’s not the world; and for the most part, it’s not your customers’ world either.

How do you stop yourselves from being overwhelmed?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

mikeyb63 June 3, 2009 at 11:45 am

Know what you mean. This was in The Times yesterday http://tinyurl.com/lygd9g.

How do I manage? Discipline. Keep one Twitter account for porfessional stuff, another for family and friends. Prune those whom you follow vigorously. Too many tweets usually gets a quick ‘remove’. Run LinkedIn proactively – esp the Groups – and then dont bother with anything else! Just this gives me more than enough variety and connectedness to keep me interested …… for the time being.


Alison June 3, 2009 at 12:48 pm

I keep thinking Twitter has functionality that it doesn’t actually possess – like being able to opt out of someone’s coverage of an event that doesn’t interest you!

I sort of run in little phases of expand/consolidate, expand/consolidate but it can get quite energy-sapping. It’s mostly good.


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