Phil Crissman asks about my Twitter behavior: “does he really know them all? What does that feed look like? Is there more or less meaningful information in a twitter list that large?”
I should do a video of my Twitter behavior, but I have more than 6,000 people I’m following. Which is slightly more than the number of people who are following me.
So, first of all, I don’t use Twitter on SMS. I don’t even use it on the Web most of the time anymore. Instead I use Twitterrific on my MacBookPro. It sits off to the side while I’m working and presents new Twitter messages (we call them “Tweets”). It looks like an instant messaging client and changes every few seconds.
About once a minute, sometimes more, it gothers a set of new messages and brings them to me. 24 hours a day, too. Lots of new messages. 12 new messages every minute or two. I scan these things really fast looking for trends. News. And friends. I’ve started building a personal relationship with many of the people on my screen. Jim Long is there right now, for instance. He’s a camera guy at NBC. I’ve never met him, but I feel like I know him. Hes hardly alone.
You can see what posts I am seeing here. Phil says he was subscribing to all the people I was following just to see what it looked like. You don’t need to do that. In any Twitter account you can view “with_friends” to see what they are seeing on their screens or phones or apps like Twitterrific.
Some things I’ve learned so far:
1. News breaks first in Twitter, then moves other places. Yesterday Jim Long was reading us the wire reports of that shooting. That warned us that news was happening elsewhere.
2. Lots of people post links to their blog posts. It’s become the best place I know of to find new ideas from new people (you can add yourself to my list just by following me on Twitter).
3. It’s really easy to pick out “my real friends.” I just saw Scott Beale leave a message. It’s easy for me to get more value out of his messages than someone I’ve never met. The human eye’s ability to view patterns is really awesome.
4a. I don’t need to read every message. I can see every message sent to me specifically if you include “@scobleizer” in your message (I look at replies directly to me every morning).
4b. I am starting to use the new “track” feature to see everyone’s messages that mention a specific topic.
5. It’s interesting ot get up at a weird time of night and see who is on. Usually while I’m sleeping Europe and Asia are going full tilt. Overnight the news definitely changes. It often is MORE interesting because it’s different than the stuff you know.
6. Lots of blog geeks don’t sleep until late. I’ve noticed that I often see messages from some of the best bloggers at 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. — this morning I was online at 3:30 a.m. cause Milan woke us up. Jeff Pulver and Dave Winer, both on the East Coast, woke up and started saying hi to everyone.
Anyway, Twitter, to me, is a chat room. Definitely interesting to follow but I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone. When it’s on I definitely get less work done. As Linda Stone says it defuses attention. Pulls your attention away from what you’re supposed to work on.
Oh, to answer the question directly: no, I don’t read all Twitters. I only read them when I’m sitting on my computer and online, which is probably only about 10% of the Twitters that the people I’m following write. That is, unless they directly mention me in them, then that percentage goes up to 100%.