Managing Twitter Overload

Twitter is The Next Big Thing on the web…sometimes referred to as microblogging.  (For some background on Twitter, see my earlier post: Twitter: Yet Another Web Thing.)  Several of the ham radio bloggers have tried Twitter and have gotten frustrated with it. Steve K9ZW says that

Basically the few unique bits of information passed are overwhelmed by endless droning Tweets about microcosms of banality trying to add value to the mundane.

I think NØHR captured the issue succinctly by describing Twitter as having a poor Signal-to-Noise Ratio.

I suppose this is what you get from a free, web-based communication service that asks you “What Are You Doing?” and gives you 140 characters to form the answer.

My view is that we are living in a world where the barriers to communication have been dramatically lowered, meaning that there is more information flying in our direction than ever before. Twitter is just the latest example of this. If you “follow” a hundred or so people all tweeting away with their What Are You Doing? stream of consciousness,  you are going to end up with a Pile-O-Stuff of questionable value. To make this useful, you must be careful about who and how many people you follow or apply some kind of filtering/sorting mechanism to keep it under control. I noticed that WA4D expressed a similar view.

This is really no different from when we subscribe to other forms of electronic distribution, such as email lists (e.g., Yahoo groups) and RSS feeds. The reality is that you can easily get overloaded by all of the content out there….more than any human has time or energy to read. So be selective…it is the only way to survive the Information Diarrhea Age.

73, Bob K0NR

Followup on 30 Dec:

I guess I should have specifically stated: I am finding value in Twitter….usually in the form of a pointer to an interesting web page or an insightful observation by one of the people I am following. Your Mileage May Vary.

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