Changing the way I use Twitter

Sitting down to write The Startup Factories made me realise that Twitter has had quite an impact on my concentration span. I’d got to the point with Twitter clients on my desktop, laptop and phone where I was twitchily checking it almost every few minutes and picking up a little endorphin rush each time. I started to feel like a trained rat — except one that was being trained not to write reports.

I also found that more and more of the things that I was seeing was basically puff and PR. I’ve complained that I’d rather people talked about the weather than ‘important stuff’ and that’s true. I also thought that the way that Twitter treated Tom Armitage’s Tower Bridge feed was abysmal — that was a real dent in the reputation of Twitter Inc for me.

So I’m giving up on using real time Twitter clients — I’ve uninstalled them all — and instead using a few daily services ( and are the ones I know about) to see if I can tame them to get the kind of news I want. I think I might have to build my own little extra service to just send me an email once a day with the tweets that have been retweeted but don’t contain any photos or links. They’re usually the funniest ones.

When we were at Demos there was a similar issue with email. My friend Matthew used to laugh out loud at the wrong moments. We basically used the “Staff: all” email list as a real time way of communicating in the office — and there were a few people who were very, very funny on it. It was a bit like the way people use Skype chat lists in the office now. The thing was, Matthew only used to check his email once a day so would get a concentrated burst at some point — and the laughs would alert all of us that Matthew had checked his email. The thing is Matthew was one of the best researchers and managers we ever had — not checking his email every few minutes certainly didn’t do him any harm.
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