Let me first state that this is a post bred from my personal experiences as a Twitter user in which I have been a spammer (overly posted) and I have been spammed.
As you can see, I am already redefining the word “spammer.”
After going through the phases of an average Twitter user, meaning to say a level of over excitement followed by varying levels of interest and disinterest, I can speak to how much I love and hate Twitter. It really is a love / hate relationship.
In fact, it’s gotten to a point where I no longer allow Tweets to get to my phone unless they are direct messages. There’s just too much crap coming in — even from friends.
Uselessness has, and always will be, the biggest worry about Twitter. The amount of unusable content, in my mind, should not outweigh the amount of “cool” information. It’s why I can’t allow some friends to come through directly to my phone anymore. They are, what would be traditionally called, power users. But 90 percent of what they have to say is in all considerations personal conversations made public.
It’s like hanging around on Texts from Last Night, but everyone in the world gets to see it as it happens. It’s not fun. It’s just annoying after awhile.
In an effort to build up my own Twitter stature, I followed tons of people. A lot I do not know, but many of which are celebrities, journalists, news organizations and folks in the community I thought would be interested in my messages: Slice of life stuff, behind the scenes with public figures and sports content. Sports is still No. 1.
Of those people, it’s becoming harder and harder to boil it down to what’s actually worth paying attention to. An organization like, for example, the Sacramento Bee, makes it difficult for me to want to allow them to text message me in the case of an emergency when they pump out 60 tweets on a big news day. (The Bee shot out 31 in the last 24 hours.) Yes, while I find all of their content valuable, their overuse of Twitter devalues my desire for it.
In contrast, for example, the San Francisco Chronicle has multiple Twitter feeds (like the Bee), but I follow just one in particular, @SFChron_alert. To date, it has published 89 tweets in all. This Twitter feed functions as the breaking news alerts for the Chronicle and does not carry the load that @SFGate carries or any of its other feeds.
What is a power user?
This should be the new definition of a power user: Relevant (subjective to you and I), significant and timely tweets. This kind of information is the bread and butter of the clutter. It’s why I don’t tweet so much. It’s why I think twice about everything I will say, not for fear of saying something stupid — that’s inevitable — but because what I say has to have some value to somebody, somewhere. Sometimes the value is in the conjectured laugh, or it’s key information on what I do. Other times, it’s a look into my personal life, so that I am more personable to those who don’t know me. Whatever it is, I hope, it’s worth reading. I’m still working on being timely, so I don’t even think I’m a power user.
What isn’t a power user?
A power user is not posting more than 20 times a day. I’m not reading all of that, and therefore, I don’t care for all what that person has to say. I’m pretty sure, most people feel the same way about these type of users. And if anything, the average user is constantly trying to figure out how to wade his or her way through the cacophony of crap. It can be deafening and it requires tons of organization (thanks be to Seesmic Desktop for alleviating some of these burdens). But I suspect the patience of the average user is somewhat like mine: After awhile, you just don’t care for any of it and you need to either hack down your followers or limit the ways in which you use Twitter in itself; i.e. no more text messages.