I have been absent from Twitter for about a month.
I know that doesn’t sound like much but I haven’t been off the platform for more than a couple of days since I signed up way back in the ancient days of 2007. Even during a two-week trip to China in 2015, I found work-arounds to their firewall to tweet pictures and comments.
Normally, my Twitter client is constantly open on my computer desktop and, when not at the keyboard, I’m often using my phone to scroll through the feed.
Then, at the beginning of November, I closed everything up to minimize distractions while I worked on a project.
However, when that work was completed, I didn’t go back to my old social media habits.1 Of constantly scrolling through the Twitter timeline searching for something new, important, or useful. I know there’s plenty of good stuff in there, but there’s also far too much crap and I didn’t feel a compelling need to return to it.
To be completely honest, most of that is my fault. The quality of Twitter, or any social media platform, is largely dependent on who/what you choose to follow. And over the years, I’ve elected to add far too many questionable sources to the mix. When I return – very soon – I will start by spending time on some serious unfollowing.
How do users with follow lists in the thousands or tens of thousands make any sense of the stream?
Another realization that came during my pause is that Twitter is not especially useful as a news source (was it ever?). Maybe 280 characters of headlines accompanied by snarky no-context reactions is worse that knowing nothing at all. Better to wait and get the information from a trusted, edited source.
Anyway, no great wisdom in this rant. Just some random thoughts that likely would have been far shorter had they been tweeted.
In it’s early days (ca 2010), Twitter regularly had technical issues, resulting in the site displaying the Fail Whale. Today, the infrastructure is far more robust but they still share many of the failures of other social media companies. Not nearly to the degree of Facebook, but still in the mix.
1. Which really can’t be called “habits”. I have a Facebook account but only open it a few times a month, never post anything, and rarely comment. I check Instagram a couple times a week, post images irregularly, and like/comment only on pictures from people I know.