In the past few months my love affair with Twitter has become uneasy and irritating, like sand still in my shoes hours after the beach.
I’ve curated a list of people I follow, I’ve tried hard to keep my following to under an arbitrary 400 person limit, regularly culling those who become irrelevant or boring.
I keep it impersonal, Twitter is no way to maintain a meaningful relationship so I don’t follow people I know for the sake of it, I follow people for their contributions, their writing or observations about my interests.
While I’ve put effort into creating a useful and entertaining Twitter feed I’ve not considered how it makes me feel. Recently I’ve noticed that I often come away from Twitter with a bad taste in my mouth, feeling unfulfilled or even moody.
When you follow someone on Twitter you subject yourself to their warts-and-all public feed, and even the most reserved and thoughtful tweeter will have a bad day, but there are times when people become negative, argumentative and forget they are in a public place.
I don’t want to open myself to someone else’s negativity, spectate on frequent arguments between the people I follow or read tweet after tweet of righteous indignant ranting about things that probably don’t matter that much.
I’m not about to quit Twitter; so much of my professional career has been driven by the people I follow and the connections I’ve made in the 140-character back-and-forths. Instead I’m going to adjust my expectations and change the way I use it.
I’m not going to set any clear rules, but I’m going to make myself aware of how someone’s tweets make me feel — whether they’re useful or entertaining — and if they’re a jerk I don’t want a window on their lives.