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robertogreco : microcelebrity   1

Ditching Twitter |
"I spent a good piece of my childhood on a farm in Montana, and a thing you learn about on a farm out there is water. There isn’t enough of it, even in the comparatively lush part of the state where I grew up, so when the snowpack starts melting in the mountains, how you handle the meltwater—the runoff—has everything to do with whether the things you’re growing will actually manage to grow. The same rush of silty water that can erode away a freshly planted field will keep that same soil safely and evenly watered if you divert it into the right system of ditches. And if you’re a kid given to messing with makeshift dams and mini hydro-engineering projects, that same freezing torrent is endlessly entertaining, and instructive.

It took me a few weeks of feeling quietly glum about losing Twitter before I remembered that I know a few things about streams, and ditches. And beyond that, that figuring out how to make better use of communication systems is kinda what I’ve been doing for a living for a decade or so.

So I thought more formally about what I want and don’t want, and I worked out some practical ways of diverting and fussing with my various streams to get them to do what I want and need. For me, it looks something like this:

• I want to keep being exposed to interesting links and ideas from people I choose to follow, and I want to keep my own conversations quieter, but not completely private, so that friends of friends can wander in and out and perhaps eventually become friends themselves.

• I want to use the odd little public platform I’ve ended up with to redirect attention to people who, in my estimation, deserve a wider audience.

• I want to reduce the volume of awareness-raising angry tweets I see about issues that already saturate my awareness—things like vulgarity and bias in the software industry, the existence of truly horrible politicians, and the latest squalid online mob attack against women who have the nerve to write or speak in public about something other than Women’s Topics.

• I want to be gentle to my followers’ emotional equilibrium, and I want to avoid attracting followers who like to fight on Twitter or cheer people fighting on Twitter.

• I don’t want to spend another minute of my life responding to or even seeing angry tirades from people who don’t know me and have no interest in the context surrounding whatever tweet of mine that makes them feel mad.

• I need to conserve my own resources more wisely, and channel more of them into less ephemeral mediums.
Most of the things on the above list can’t be obtained simply by changing the list of people I follow, so I put together a more involved plan.

• I’ve moved much of my conversational Twitter activity to an account I think of as “unlisted”—not a locked one, but one that isn’t obviously connected to the rest of my online traces so that I retain soft access control. I now check the mentions on my main account once every couple of days instead of once an hour.

There are other things, too: Work-specific lists that let me look at the streams of my colleagues in journalism without 24–7 exposure to world news. A fat stack of muted keywords designed to block the more corrosively detailed anecdotes in my timeline while letting through the system-level background information and thoughtful commentary. Deleting Twitter apps from my iPad, cutting web-Twitter out entirely, and dropping some accounts from my phone to make sure I’m behaving more intentionally.

Beyond the tools, though, I’m trying to make an emotional shift from exuberant joyful angry frenetic Twitter to something subtler and gentler. When moved to discuss something about which I feel strongly, I’m beginning to default to a longer form first, to reduce the heat of my Twitter conversations and boost the light I work by elsewhere.

I’ll let you know how it goes."

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erinkissane  2014  twitter  ditches  flows  flow  celebrity  microcelebrity  infooverload  online  internet  lists  self-preservation 
september 2014 by robertogreco

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