Social Media has been a bugbear in company conference rooms since way before Guy Kawasaki had an AMEX blog. I think it’s a great way to talk with people if you’re courteous enough to recognize that it’s a conversation, and that you should all be talking about something interesting to the people in your conversation. For example, if I’m looking for a support director, and you are a support director, let me know! If you’re looking for advice on a task manager app, I’ll reach out (but will probably need more than 140 characters). If we both really like tacos, we shall debate the pros and cons of soft vs. crispy.
I’ve been tweeting ever since I heard Chris Brogan speak at a North Shore Tech Council event in May of 2008, and have been pretty inconsistent with my tweets. When I started, I was into learning about Social Media and starting friendly conversations with interesting people. I was blogging a lot around this time, and completely bought into the whole social media connection thing. I even looked at lists of the top followed people and added the ones who seemed interesting. The idea that you could reach people who would otherwise be inaccessible to you due to distance, business role or anonymity was pretty intriguing.
I’d follow people who followed me to be polite, unless they were bots. I went through a brief obsession with qwitter and felt personally offended when people stopped following me, even as I recognized the absurdity of it all. The quitter email notifications included the tweet right before the person stopped following, implying that yes, indeed, it was something I said.
When Twitter came out with Lists, I tried grouping people into categories to make keeping up more manageable. Eventually, I just stopped caring about the content because I was following too many people who used Twitter as a business self-promotion tool, as a diary, or as a place to spam others with links. These are all arguably valid forms of using Twitter, but not really very interesting to me personally. I had built an arbitrary list and the result was my complete lack of interest in 90% of the content.
Tonight, I decided I’d like to start using Twitter again. So, I’ve been unfollowing everyone whose name and website I don’t recognize, or whose description is irrelevant to my interests. I’m focusing on local people who I might actually meet and interesting people who post things I want to read. I imagine there will be a drop in my twitter followers (resting now at 371) but I will try to muster the strength to not sink into despair now that Snackfan Japan (the latest snacks and drinks from Japan!) will no longer be my friend.