Some friends are noisier than others. They make a big splash as if every statement was breaking news. Now, imagine a place where every friend is a fire hose of headlines. This was my Twitter experience until I decided to cut the noise and sharpen the focus.
Social media adds thousands of communication channels for us to decode. When I started my Twitter account, I quickly followed all of the big technology blogs, music magazines, and a few celebrity personalities. Few of my close friends and personal connections used the service, so the stream of tweets looked like a breaking news ticker.
After several months of finding local connections and new friends in the Indianapolis social media community and beyond, I use Twitter differently. The great fun of social media is that you make of it what you will. Rather than a headline ticker, I now want Twitter to be a pool of social commentary and localized news. So that’s what I’m making it.
As a devoted reader of Mashable, I decided to unfollow Pete Cashmore as the first step. Most of his tweets duplicate headlines that I eventually read on the website, so they were just noise to me.
Not to say that you shouldn’t follow news media and bloggers on social media. My favorite magazines, newspaper reporters and correspondents all tweet frequently with thoughts and content not found on their main website. Lorraine and Allison talk about an 80/20 rule (more of a guideline) for posting on social media.
The 80 percent of content (commentary, links, etc.) that you share from other people, not your own stuff, gives you the opportunity to share twenty-percent of your own news and material. This way, your followers know it’s not just the Me-Me-Me Show. It shows that you’re engaged and responsive to the world at large.
This is why I like Paste Magazine’s Josh Jackson (@joshjackson) and WTHR’s Nicole Misencik (@NicoleWTHR). They tweet their organization’s news, but share lots of other unique things too. I’m trying to keep a similar balance with my own Twitter, posting the good stuff going on at Roundpeg as part of the fabric of everything else.
So Mr. Cashmore, I’ll keep reading and sharing Mashable. Expect my eyeballs to lock on to that homepage every morning. But your noisy Twitter account and a few others are officially unfollowed.
Image from omacaco on sxc.hu
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