This week marked the start of my third year on Twitter. When I announced this a couple of people have asked me to elaborate on how I use Twitter. Specifically, how do I use it to bring in information that works for me.
I don’t know what’s right or wrong but I do know what’s logical and realistic for me.
Here are a few thoughts:
I use Twitter as an inbound tool. My ratio of listening to posting approximates 500:1. Listen more, talk less. I try to share back only what I find remarkable. If you follow me I’ll try to respect your attention.
I try to follow people who are smarter than me. I’m only as smart as the information I take in so I recruit good people to bring me the information I need. Those I follow create my human signal. They’re my curators.
I find people to follow from the people I follow. Smart people attract and talk about other smart people. Lather, rinse, repeat.
I constantly test and sample. I’m always trying people out to see how they fit. I’ll follow people, find that they’re noisy and unfollow. Another may represent an amazing addition. Like dating you’ll only know what you like and don’t like by trying it out.
Follow me if I help you. Whether those I follow are following me is irrelevant. It doesn’t influence how good their feed may be. And you should only follow me if I offer something of value to your stream. The sooner we all get over this issue of obligate refollowing the sooner we’ll see Twitter change from an instument of narcissism to one that make our lives truly more productive.
I keep an A-List on Tweetdeck. I frequently scan my core feed so long as I’m not writing, seeing patients or with my family. I also keep an A-list. This is my concentrated core of people who at this point in time are of special interest to me. When I first follow someone I think may bring important information I put them on my A-list. My A-list consists of no more than 3-4 dozen people so I can be away from my computer and still catch their feed hours later. This ultrapurified feed changes week to week.
I talk to lots of people I don’t follow. There are plenty of people I meet and talk to who I don’t follow. Sometimes I wind up following them once I learn what they’re about.
There’s more to life than medicine. I explore different verticals. My most creative ideas come from non-medical people. At social media meetings I’m most interested in hearing what’s going on outside of the health world. It’s my chance to hear a different perspective. I listen to smart folk in marketing and communication. I listen to creatives. I’ve got motivational types and daddies. Smart, successful writers help me understand how I need to be functioning to be successful. I’ve got a few funny people. And there are some old friends I’ll never let go of no matter how noisy they get.
I don’t fight interest migration. Your interests, motivations, and needs will change over time and what you do with Twitter should reflect that. You should allow your feed to be plastic enough to match those changing needs. Don’t be afraid to declare that you’re moving on and changing direction.
What’s important to take home is that you need to shape Twitter the way you need it to work for you. I’ve heard it too often: “I’m overwhelmed. I’m feel like I’m feeding from a fire hose. Help me. Good God, someone help me. I’m a victim.”
Help yourself and stop listening to all that nonsense in your feed. Forget decorum, hurt feelings and the habits of the almighty gurus. Fashion Twitter to work for you, not overwhelm you.
One last thing: Twitter is changing, I’m constantly evolving, and my view of this transient little medium may likely be different in a year. So don’t quote me.
- If you liked this you might like… To Unfollow is Human