Twitter Me This: No More Tweet Archives On My Blog

My blog has gone to shit. Now mind you, my blog was never meant to compete the likes of The New York Times or the Huffington Post, but it was always a place where I could share my thoughts and opinions on the issues that matter most to me.

I never had a diary. I am not a great writer. But something about blogging resonated, and I was happy to have my little space on the Internet.

Then in January 2007, I discovered Twitter.

That platform changed my world.

I never wanted to blog about anything without researching it first. I know that seems silly, but to me – with blogging, came responsibility, even when it was on something as simple as talking about how to roast a pig. However, with Twittering, came freedom. I know it directly relates to the amount of text allowed (Twitter was limited to 140 character posts), so it kept my thoughts short and to the point whereas as I always felt I had to *say* something when I blogged.

Well, no more. While I plan to keep my Twitter account, I am pulling my blog back from the brink and reclaiming it as a space for me to share deeper thoughts and to gush about the best purchase I ever made.

I don’t need a Twitter archive here. If there is something I say on *that* service that I feel passionate enough about keeping a record of, I will write about it here. I know, what a novel idea.

Requesting the end of Twitter Auto DMs

This is a post I have been trying to write for months. Typical me wanted to do some research, poll our community, do more research and then write this really thoughtful piece about the pros and cons of auto DMs, and I finally realized today…I just need to get it out there. It won’t be perfect, but at least I will have said my peace.

I am not a fan of the auto DM and I want people to stop sending them out. Please.

What was once a feature being used to tell people a little more about you has now become nothing but a promotional tool and a total annoyance. On any given day, the Social Media Club account sees 50-75 auto DMs that range from ‘get rich quick’ to ‘get 18,000 followers in two days’ to someone simply saying ‘thanks for following me!’. None of these have value to me.

The first two are spam, the latter is sweet, but honestly – I would rather you not send that auto DM as it doesn’t tell me anything about you. I understand your desire to recognize the follow, but all it did was cause me to spend an extra minute in the day hitting the delete button. Multiply that by 50 tweets a day with the same message and it has suddenly become a big annoyance.

As the Twitter community grows so does the number of auto DMs we receive. What was once manageable, now requires 10-15 minutes a day culling through our DM ‘spam’ trying to find the real messages someone actually took the time to pen PERSONALLY.

It makes me wonder if there is some secret ‘getting started with Twitter’ handbook being passed around to everyone signing up for a new account that says the auto DM is a good idea. Trust me, it might have once served its purpose, but it is nothing but an irritant to me.

So please, I beg of you. Turn the auto DMs off.

If you are really interested in getting to know me/us, how about we go a little ‘old school’ and do the following:

  • Reach out personally 1:1 and let me know a little about you.
  • Learn a little about me before you reach out. If you do, you will know that I don’t like to receive ‘get rich quick’ DMs (and I am starting to block people who send those out).
  • Understand I am not going to promote something you did just because you asked me to.
  • I am not going to click on a random link from someone I don’t know – no matter how enticing the tiny url looks.

And please know I do appreciate the thought of you thanking me for following you, but let’s both just do this telepathically and save me wearing down of my delete key.


Note: This was cross posted on Social Media Club.

More about my Twitter experiment…

In my semi-recent post discussing my Twitter experiment, a couple of questions came up on my process, so I thought I would elaborate a little bit on ‘why’ and the ‘how’ as this ‘following’ thing can leave some folks feeling slighted, and I want to eliminate any hard feelings that might be brewing.

First the ‘why’. In my original post, I noted the following:

For a while the list of people I followed was intentionally kept small (under 150), as I am a big believer of the Dunbar Number and the power of small(er) tightly connected networks. Over time, I allowed it to squeak up to 225 which made the conversations more interesting and diverse, but also required a bigger investment of time as I try to stay attached to my ‘community’ (yes, I am one of the nut jobs who likes to try and read every tweet from the people I follow).

Fast forward eight months and I have extended my network so I now follow 400+ people, but truth be told, I am finding it extremely hard to ‘keep up’ with what everyone is doing now. There is also a sense I have lost some of the intimacy I once had when only following 150 people, but I have to admit, back then there was also a feeling I was living in the ‘echo chamber’ as my network was not very diverse – so this experiment has exposed me to a multitude of industries, beliefs, customs and ideas. While some of my new relationships may not be as deep as those in the past, I am extremely happy where this is going right now.

UPDATE: In my original post, I forgot to mention that I also manage the Social Media Club Twitter account (14k followers) and the my6sense Twitter account (not as many followers [yet]), which adds to the lack of attention mix. I swear, sometimes I wonder how I manage to keep up.

What about the ‘how’: I am still trying to do this systematically to keep it as fair as possible. As for who I am following – I started out rotating 50 people every 30 days, but found trying to rotate contacts that often is tough and does not give me enough time to learn about anyone, so I have pushed the rotation back to every 60 days. The process for the 50 people I add has been tweaked over time, as I used to add every 4th person but realized I needed to dig deeper into the follower list so now I add every 25th person from my following list to get the first 35 people. For the next 10 people, I continue along the every 25th person in my follower list, but instead of following them directly, I go into their account and pick the 5th avatar showing up in their followers list and add them. For the last 5 slots, I add a name of someone I recently met or have heard of and add them (some of them have been people that got cut from previous rotations, liked what they had to say so wanted to bring them back into rotation). It sounds complicated, but honestly, it is a simple process that simply takes a bit of time to put into effect, but has given me a well rounded information source.

For the cutting list – this is the part I absolutely hate, but realize I needed to strip emotions out of it completely to ensure a fair process. It is a bit easier than the add piece as I dig into the list of people I am following and cut every 25th one on the list. As for preserving anyone, no. Not even my husband. If he came up 25th in line, I would remove his tweets to allow for someone new to come into my view, and I have unfollowed several people I feel are close[r] friends to me – [for example] @pistachio, @chrisbrogan, @missrogue and @jowyang…so no one receives special treatment.

I have removed two people mid rotation as they were posting items I felt offensive to my belief system. I also removed @jasoncalacanis and @scobleizer mid rotation as they both posted so often, that it made it hard to keep up with everyone else. Other than that, I follow my group until the next turn.

I am trying to be as fair as I possibly can, and I thought my system allowed me to do so.

I know I have hurt people’s feelings as I am not following them. It sucks, and all I can say [right now] is ‘I am sorry’ as I simply cannot follow 1000 people and get *what I want* out of this ‘tool’. For me, I am looking to expand the network of people I know, and following a smaller group allows me the time to get to know a little about them. I am not here to build a large following list. I am here to build meaningful relationships and expand my knowledge base.

The other interesting piece in evaluating my little Twitter experiment is I started looking into how I am using the other networks I belong to and I thought I would share that with folks as well:

* Facebook – This is by far, my largest ‘network’ as I am adding anyone who friends me there. I don’t join every group and I hate throwing snowballs at people or being poked, but I am using Facebook to experiment with how big can I grow a network and still feel like I can say a name and know where they come from and how I know them from.

* LinkedIn – This is my business network. If I have worked with you, met you in real life or had a conversation with you and I want to make sure we stay connected in a professional level, I make sure to add you into LinkedIn. If you and I have never spoken before, I will not accept an invite.

* Ning – Same as Facebook, I connect with anyone who reaches out.

* Dopplr – If I know you or have some kind of personal contact with you, I am happy to share where I am spending my time with you.

* Flickr – I follow the Facebook rules here, for the most part. I have blocked a few people as their tastes drastically differ from mine and I just do not want to become a photo on their wall, but my life is pretty much an open book and searchable via Google – so friend away. 🙂

So there you go. I will continue my experiment for as long as I feel I am getting value out of it, and look forward to connecting with folks in various ways along this journey.

Twitter rotation, take IV.

Another month, another rotation on my Twitter stream. It continues to be an interesting experiment for me, one I will continue for a while longer as it is exposing me to new people, thoughts and ideas…and I kind of like it outside the echo chamber.

The only negative, per se, is that I have found the amount of conversations I have within Twitter has slowed drastically as the number of people I follow grows (added 250 since April 29th). And while 250 may not seem like a lot to some folks (I have friends who follow 1000’s of people), it is a huge number to me (remember, I am a Dunbar number kind of girl and I like to know a lot about the folks I follow, aka: my personal ‘network’), so I end up spending more time just reading about them and what they are writing than responding or contributing to their conversation. Maybe I lose out on some things, but I think I am becoming richer (personally) for the experiences.

So it will continue…as long as my sanity allows it.

Twitter rotation, take II.

In keeping up with the little experiment I started on April 29th, I went through another cycle today in my Twitter account by following 50 new people, and removing 50 people I had been following.

Only one month in, but so far – I am pleased with the results. I am able to keep my following list at a reasonable (to me) number (330) while constantly being exposed to new folks, ideas, experiences. And like the first round, I tried to keep it as fair as possible by adding every 4th person in the list of people following me, and then removing every 4th person in the list of people I was following.

I think next month I might hit the general timeline and pick a few off there to really mix it up, but the experiment as a whole seems to be working as planned, so for that I am very happy and look forward to reading and learning more about these new folks.

Spring cleaning: more than my closet

I have been taking a look at my Twitter ‘network’ as of late, wondering how I can mix up the information that flows through my world without requiring too much more investment of time on my side.

For a while the list of people I followed was intentionally kept small (under 150), as I am a big believer of the Dunbar Number and the power of a small(er) networks. Over time, I have allowed it to squeak up to 225 which made the conversations more interesting and diverse, but also required a bigger investment of time as I try to stay attached to my ‘community’ (yes, I am one of the nut jobs who likes to try and read every tweet from the people I follow).

I took a look at some of my pals who are able to follow 1000s or 10s of 1000s of people and still participate and contribute regularly. Their way of thinking was a much bigger leap than I wished to make, so while I am hopeful my network can expand, it means baby steps to ensure success.

So today I started a little experiment.

I decided to stop following 25% of the people currently on my list and then add in another 100 people I don’t really know (or don’t know at all) to mix up the information coming through this channel and test the waters on expanding my network.

The fun part – the additions. I decided the only way to do this, the fair and balanced Libra minded way of doing this, was to follow every 4th person in my ‘followers’ list. Why the 4th? I don’t know. It just seemed like an easy number to track I guess.

Doing so, I added 145 people. I was supposed to stop when I got to 100, but I got a little overzealous and didn’t think it right I add, then immediately remove, folks, so I am leaving it as it and hoping I can keep up. I also didn’t get through the entire list of my followers as I want to do this in chunks, but it was an interesting and exciting process as I realized there are a lot of people who follow me who I don’t personally know, and I am looking forward to getting to know them a bit better.

Adding 100 new people I follow on Twitter

Now came the hard part. The unfollow process. It sucks as I know some people will take this personally. Please don’t. I went with the same fair and balanced Libra minded way of doing this by removing every 4th person in my following list. I removed 40 people. Most of them close friends or people I adore, so it was a very odd feeling when I hit the ‘remove’ button.

Removing 40 folks I follow on Twitter

I do feel bad as I cut a couple of my Joyeurs. I cut several of my good friends. I also cut my boss and the company I work for. Everyone I unfollowed popped up 4th in the list. I had to do it to keep the experiment ‘true’.

With the unfollow made, I will not see their updates in my Twitter stream. It also removes the ability of them sending me a direct message via Twitter. There is an easy way around this as they can do an @kristiewells with a message and I will see it – or they can shoot me an email. I can also still go to their personal Twitter page and send them a message (as long as they continue to follow me) and read through their stream to check in on them from time to time. I just thought the removal process was a necessary part for the whole ‘changing the information I receive’ part.

So there you go. The great Kristie experiment. I think I am going to do this ‘spring cleaning’ once a month for three months to keep things interesting, and will clean up the lists as needed; meaning if someone starts posting things I find offensive or not beneficial to my world, I will unfollow and add someone else in their place.

Excited to see/hear new things, meet new people, AND keep in contact with those in my original network (whether directly following you or not).