Today’s Growl message reminded me about a friend’s birthday tomorrow. I haven’t seen her in ages since she moved away to teach in another state, so I thought I’d tweet out to her just because she was on my mind. Then I realized, in a moment of panic, that I didn’t remember her Twitter handle. No problem, I thought; I’ll just look it up.
Now that was a problem.
Currently I’m following about 500 people on Twitter. You wouldn’t think that’s so bad but, as I perused the list, I couldn’t help but notice I had to pick through more and more accounts which were no longer relevant to my life just to find one that is. Which, of course, gets me thinking about Twitter in general, and my use of it specifically. I’ve written before about why and how I use Twitter (cautionary warning: link goes to a really long, though still relevant, post) and my struggle to stay above the high water mark. It’s a fast and fluid medium which, like any other content stream, requires constant curation. I believe there’s an art to creating a useful content stream — though, as always, your mileage will vary. My personal recipe goes something like this: start with people you know and like, add people from whom you can learn amazing things (not mutually exclusive groups, that), and mix in new people you’ve met and are trying on for size (and content). Sprinkle with a few thought leaders, add a healthy dose of humor, and let marinate. Adjust as necessary. Revisit and repeat. The result should be a relevant mix of content for your life, and if you aren’t getting relevancy, it’s up to you to fix it.
So today, I am revisiting my content curation. There are a lot of accounts in my stream as a result of my extensive speaking, training and event management over the years, including people I’ve taught about social media, and helped them merge from the onramp into the high speed traffic. Rationally, I know these people aren’t adding to my twitter stream, but emotionally, I feel guilty just thinking about cutting them off. The problem remains, however, that I’m doing myself — and you, if you’re following me — a disservice if I don’t get things under control. In the past year I’ve made some major changes in my life, refocused my career interests, and adjusted my world view. My Twitterstream simply doesn’t reflect all that change. So I’ve decided, guilt or no guilt, I’m clearing out the deadwood and taking no prisoners. Those who don’t tweet often but are still interesting are going into lists, and those whose professional paths have changed sharply from mine are just going away. That, along with reviewing my lists (if you aren’t using lists, I want to know just how you manage to stay sane), should get me back in the saddle of awesomeness.
And if you actually notice that I’ve unfollowed you, I want you to know that it isn’t personal, and that it isn’t you. It’s me. Well, maybe it’s a bit you. But at least I’ve got a terribly guilty conscience about it.
PS. Sara? Happy Birthday a day early! And thanks for inspiring this post. Every so often, Growl is my friend.