It’s sad, but the time has come for me to leave Twitter. At the time of writing this, the three most followed people in England are; John Cleese, Stephen Fry and then me. I have made some great connections because of Twitter and met a lot of interesting people too. Twitter has been a great experience for me – BUT it’s time for me to go!
Twitter’s technical problems highlighted one of my own
My Twitter account was one of many to have recently suffered from the dreaded caching error. After 5 days, it was manually fixed by Crystal in Twitter’s tech support team. This was a blessing in disguise!
For 5 days, whilst my account was waiting to be fixed, I was unable to follow anyone or see who had followed me. I noticed that I suddenly had lots more extra time each day, so I decided to do some Twitter research! I wanted to know just how long I actually spent using Twitter each day.
I was amazed to see that even during a fairly quiet period, I was investing an average of 2 and a half hours each day!
Even more amazingly, less than half of that time was spent actually ‘tweeting’ with people!
The rest of my Twitter time was spent dealing with the hundreds of Direct Messages I get each day and filtering through the hundreds of people who follow me each day; to see from their profile whether or not to follow them back. This is an increasingly time consuming problem, as so many people are now doing that follow / unfollow trick, to attract auto follows and make it look like they have lots of followers.
Most of the Direct Messages I get on Twitter are people asking me; ‘please share this link with your followers Jim’ or asking me to look at their blog / website and give them some tips. I’m also getting stacks of spam sent to me via Twitter’s Direct Message. This all takes time to review, answer or delete. Yes, almost all of these Direct Messages are from people, who have never tweeted with me or commented here!
The 1000 people on Twitter who connect with me
Although I have over 23,000 people following me on Twitter, I found that only around 800 / 1000 or so are in regular contact with me. These are the people you see in my Twitter stream and commenting here on the blog. These are the people, who I built this blog and my Twitter network for. These are the kind of people, who make Twitter the best social media site / app on the Internet (In my opinion.)
The reason I am leaving Twitter, is that it’s the other 22,000 people, who never connect with me, who require the vast majority of my time!
The sensible thing to do, was for me to find a way to focus all my energy on the people who actually ‘connect with me’ – And that’s what I will now be able to do!
How I solved my Twitter problem
One of my options, was to delete 22,250 people from my Twitter account. This would take forever and it still wouldn’t stop the flow of new people every day; who follow my account and require filtering. Yes, I could just set up an auto-follow, so every spammer on Twitter could target me, knowing they will get an automatic follow back – but that’s not why I invested my time in Twitter and it would only help with part of the problem.
FriendFeed and Twitter
Thankfully, I have found an excellent way to communicate with everyone, who wants to keep in touch with me – WITHOUT me having to waste all those hours each week on those who don’t!
I have decided to replace what I have been doing on Twitter, with FriendFeed.
Whilst FriendFeed is not as instantly usable as Twitter, it doesn’t come with the same insane focus on followers / following either. Just like Twitter, you can interact with people without following / subscribing to them. However, unlike Twitter – on FriendFeed the follower / subscriber thing is far less of a big deal! There are also no issue with Direct Messages, which ate into so much of my time each day.
This means I can focus massively more of my time on the ‘social’ side of social media.
I hope to see as many of my regular Twitter pals on FriendFeed as possible; so we can continue the conversation.
However, even if you don’t want to join with me on FriendFeed, you can still find out what I am doing via Twitter!
You will still see me on Twitter, via FriendFeed
Even if you don’t have or want a FriendFeed account – you will still be able to see what I post via Twitter anyway! I am going to keep my Twitter account active; so people who want to, can still follow my stream without having to do anything. One of the great things about FriendFeed, is that it will automatically send all my updates direct via my Twitter account – so anyone following me on Twitter will be able to see them.
This is not one of those; “which is best Twitter or FriendFeed?” arguments. It’s just that FriendFeed is the best option for me right now.
Over the past 48 hours, I have found that most of the people who were regularly tweeting with me, have now found me on FriendFeed; with others introducing themselves all the time! Thus, I shall not be sending my FriendFeed updates through my Twitter account.
I don’t want to just broadcast via Twitter – Twitter’s supposed to be about communicating NOT broadcasting!