Managing my Twitter existence

Twitter is a great tool, but the only way I've found to make it work for me is to limit the number of people I follow.

I've not traditionally been much of a Twitter fan, once deriding it as "Wonder bread."

I've increasingly found, however, that Twitter serves a useful function for me, fitting in between blogs and instant messaging as a "micro-blogging" tool, as Glyn Moody suggests. It's also a way for me to IM multiple people at once, without any near-term expectation of response. I now post to Twitter quite often.

Despite these benefits, the only way I've found to make Twitter work for me is by limiting the number of people I follow. I follow fewer than 20 people. These are people (or companies) I know well to actually care about what they think and what they're doing.

There are other people, of course, whose opinions matter to me, but I just can't follow them all on Twitter. I'd never get anything done. Because Twitter can be so noisy, I think it's critical to limit the signal-to-noise ratio, and the best way (for me) is by limiting the number of people whose updates I receive.

I don't understand how people can follow 100-plus people in any meaningful fashion. I also don't understand why anyone except close acquaintances or friends would care what I Twitter, as much of it isn't open source-related.

For me, Twitter has become a great way to stay in closer contact with people I already know, and to add context to my blog entries. But that's because I limit the noise.

But maybe you've found alternative methods that work better for you?

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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