Friday, 3 September 2010

Can't hear for all the noise

Before I continue this post I want to make it clear that I love Twitter. I love the way it has enabled me to interact with people I've never met, to share ideas with people on the other side of the world, to see that there are professionals that are as passionate about teaching as I am and to read about such a variety of people and their lives. I'm amazed by the generosity, kindness and humour shown by people who need just 140-characters to make an impact. I just wanted to record my feelings that I've been having for the last month or so.

I've been using Twitter for over two years now. I remember tentatively following those first few people. Back then it was a major decision whether to follow or not. I would read their short-bio and look at their last few tweets. I'd even look at the website which is linked to from their Twitter page. Each person I added seemed to inspire me more and more.

But I guess that what I have done over time is to get a bit blase about following. Gradually the decision about whether or not to follow was just to look at recent tweets. Sometimes I'd just quickly read the bio. Occasionally I'd just look at the username to see if it sounded like an educator.

Without wanting to offend anyone, during the last few weeks I've realised that I've begun to follow too many people. I would load up Tweetdeck during my holiday and have a read of what's going on in Twitter. But it was so hard to find meaning and inspiration when there's so much going on! I had a small cull of followers, losing a few businesses that I didn't know why I followed in the first place. I unfollowed a few people from outside the UK who I found that I couldn't really relate to and had had no interaction with. I lost various 'celebrities' whom I followed during the Twitter boom of 2009.

There are still a few things that can make the Twitter experience difficult.

I'm beginning to grow tired of the re-tweet facility (the new way and the old way). Some days about 20% of the tweets that come through my stream are retweets. (I wonder if there's a way to block these?)

Shortened links can put me off - just because they don't look very inviting. Whilst I appreciate that they are necessary to share links when you have a 140-character limit, I would prefer to know where I'm going before I click.

At time Twitter can feel quite heavy. I know that often the network is made fun of because people can tweet about mundane acts of everyday life. But sometimes I feel like people only like to tweet about school and education. I quite like to hear about what people are up to as well as develop my personal learning network.

Just by not following a few I feel like I've made a massive difference and Twitter has become inspiring once again (and I hope I've not offended anyone).

I wondered if anyone else can relate to my experiences...


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