It’s been just over a week since I decided to make Twitter a read-only medium. I haven’t posted a single tweet, and have only scanned Twitter a handful of times in that week.
And I haven’t missed it one bit.
I’ve been having many more IM chats with the people I care about. I’ve been conversing more via email. I’ve been writing more blog posts. I haven’t dropped offline. I haven’t disconnected. All I’ve done is lengthen the feedback loop – no more constant reloading of Twitter.com to see if there are updates. No more composing tweets while offline. Just a healthy balance, and a reconfiguration of the social connections.
This is going to sound bad, although it’s not meant to. But most of what happens on Twitter – I just don’t care about. People I don’t know. People I simply don’t care about. Not that they’re not good people, or smart, or funny. Just that they are not people I know. And as a result, I simply don’t care to hear constant updates and jabber from and about. There is a strange distortion that I noticed on Twitter, where I was spending a fair amount of time reading updates from people that I don’t know. I’ve never met them. I don’t read their blogs. So why am I bothering to read their tweets? It sounds bad, and goes against the spirit of 2.0 – being connected to everyone all the time – but pulling back to a closer, tighter, more important (to me) group of people just feels right.
Here’s the crux of it for me. Overextension of social connections dilutes and devalues them. Hyperconnectivity negates the connections I care about. If everyone is a “friend” – what does that mean to my real friends? If I spend as much time reading updates from strangers as I do from the people I really care about, that’s not fair to the people I care about, nor to myself.