A Do-Over?

Over the weekend, Lisa Noble stirred the pot when she tagged me in this post.

It’s a good article to read.  Bottom line – install this extension in your version of the Google Chrome browser and you can do a Mass Unfollow and basically reduce the number of folks that you follow to zero, nada, nothing, nobody.  Supposedly, you can do the same thing without the extension as described here.

I find it so ironic in this day and age where we’re still trying to get educators to get connected by getting a Twitter account and following other great educators.

I’ve been a member of Twitter since August of 2007 when Rodd Lucier indicated that I could be a lot smarter if I got connected and became engaged.  Dubious at first, I now know why he’s the Clever Sheep.

When it comes to technology, I’m intermittently tidy.  I’d be embarrassed to show you the desk I’m working at now.

As I read the article that Lisa shared, I realized that my Twitter account could be construed as untidy as well. 

I think, like most people, when I got my account rolling, I was like the proverbial kid in a candy store.  I think I followed anything that moved.  Then, I became a little more discriminating.  Someone would have to share or blog something of interest and then I’d follow them so that I wouldn’t miss their next bit of wisdom.  I liked to follow people that thought like me.  I liked even more people who challenged my thoughts and beliefs.

In the beginning, it was pretty sad.  There were very few Ontario Educators ready to make the leap.  At the time, Rodd was our Regional eLearning Coordinator and I think that was the genesis of things for those who could see and understand the power.  Classroom teachers, particularly those who were teaching eLearning courses, could see the value.  The further that people were from the classroom, the less interest they seemed to have.  But, pretty soon, I had a problem.  The great folks that were teaching in Ontario got lost amidst all of the others that I was following.

But, I solved that problem.  Twitter has the facility to further manage your users via lists.  So, I started a list called Ontario Educators and put people there.  Before long, I’d reached the limit of list participants so I started another one.  Then, another one. 

It actually started to work out nicely.  I didn’t actually have to follow these people in order to put them into a list.  It also facilitated automatic posts via paper.li and helped me give shout outs to active Ontario Educators on Friday mornings.

Certainly, a tool is necessary to manage all this and I’ve found that Hootsuite does a wonderful job.

Part of my desktop now looks like this…

And, Hootsuite supports tabs so I have a number of tabs open to further refine my collecting.

Given all this, you’d think that I’d spend my entire day following these things.  Generally, I don’t.  I do have a life.  What I really like is that I can open the browser and skim up and down and get the latest at that point in time.  In presentations, I call it a snapshot of the Twitter condition.  If there’s something of interest, then it’s easy enough to track back the conversation.

But, back to tidiness which is what hooked me with Lisa’s initial reference.

I seldom do any housecleaning.  Every now and again there will be a message posted by someone that I really find offensive and I’ll remove that account from my followers or the list. 

For the most part, though, I just leave them alone.  I absolutely know that there are people I’ve added that no longer post to their accounts.  If I was conscientious about this, I suppose I could go through and clean them out.  But why?  If they’re not active, I just consider it “no harm, no foul”. 

But, thanks to Lisa, I now have the little voice at the back of my head bugging me to do something about this.  At least, it will give Jaimie and me something to talk about during our morning walk.

I’d encourage you to read the original message and then think about your habits.  Or, if you’re a proponent of using Twitter to be connected, what advice would you give to a new user about how to manage their new digital life.  Or, if you’re into improving things for others, tell me how I can become better organized.  Is a Do-Over needed by me?  Would you consider a Do-Over for yourself?

In the meantime, it’s morning dog walking time.  I’ll see what Jaimie has to say.

4 thoughts on “A Do-Over?

  1. Doug, I’d be the one that says to just “leave it.” I know that this is what I’ve done, and I don’t even have the lists, so my timeline is probably a lot messier. Why leave it then? Because with Twitter, connections matter. If nobody is following you, then you’re basically talking to, sharing with, and connecting with nobody, and it doesn’t take long to then lose interest. I know that it took me about six months to really get the hang in sharing/tweeting, and if during my “quieter time” (hard to believe that this time ever existed now 🙂 ), everybody started unfollowing me, I may have never bothered to speak up. Yes, there are probably people that I follow that rarely/never share, but in that case, as you mentioned, they’re not really taking up room in the timeline. Maybe one day, at a conference or through a workshop, they’ll choose to share, and knowing that somebody’s “listening” may be of value. I do follow people now that were “quiet” for years, but currently contribute quite a lot (at least during the school year). I guess you just never know.

    Maybe I’m being unrealistic to think that following/unfollowing somebody really has that big an impact, but my thought is that I can still check out the tweets from the people that I connect with the most and browse through the rest of the timeline when I have a chance. Sometimes something new or someone new catches my eye, and I think, “I’m glad that I’m still following along!” I’m curious to know what others think about this.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Doug,
    A great conversation and something I’ve been thinking about as well. Like you, I only really unfollow someone if he/she posts something inappropriate. I have only recently started to use Commun.it (the free version) to clean up my feed a little bit, but I am wary about doing so. What’s my criteria? I’m following someone but they are not following back? There are lots of thought-provoking educators who I have met at conferences who don’t necessarily follow me back. Do I then have to decide if what they’ve tweeted lately is worthwhile to me? If they’ve tweeted in the last little while? Is my criteria that they have only a few followers? If I’m on Twitter to connect with educators, then will unfollowing people en-mass not make the whole experience very insular? Certainly there are educators whom I know in-real-life and with whom I connect regularly on Twitter, but lately, I’ve been surprised by the comments and shares that have caused me to pause and think and they’ve come from people who I’ve never met, from places I’ve never visited, and who have only a smattering of followers. A few of these have actually turned into meaningful and extended connections for me. Do I miss lots because my twitter feed is too full? Probably, but then again, like you, I have lists where I can scan what my PLN is posting.
    In my in-person life, I am discerning about who I spend time with. On Twitter, I like the fact that I follow a smorgasbord of people of varying backgrounds and interests.

    In my role, I have been promoting Twitter as a way to connect with other educators. It has been a slow and arduous process. I am following so many educators from my District who only have 5 or 6 followers. If I unfollow them, they may never choose to embrace Twitter. And I think there is a little bit of a personal affront as well. A person who is not confident about their online presence, may be even less reluctant to engage if they are being “unfollowed” or if they only have a couple of followers. In some ways, you have the same responsibility. You have done much to support EDU Bloggers; some of whom may be brand-new to Twitter.

    I don’t know if it’s just my personality, but I get just a tiny bit (ok more than a tiny bit) offended if someone with whom I’ve had verbal or virtual exchanges chooses to unfollow me or chooses not to follow me at all. I look at Will Richardson, whom I admire very much, and who spent two days at my District talking about connecting with Educators but who only follows 158 people. The following year, George Couros spent two days with us, spoke about connecting and then followed every single one of my peers who followed him–can’t imagine how unmanageable his Twitter feed is and how much he misses, but at the end of the day, if we are saying that Twitter is a medium for educators to connect with each other, then to me, I’m good with a bit of untidiness.

    Sorry for the lengthy response! And btw I think Rodd is a very clever sheep indeed!


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