I popped open my twitter account (@jmillsapps) this morning and realized that for the last few weeks I hadn't really been on much. I remember back when I first got on Twitter I loved it because so much of what I was interested in came to me without my spending time combing the web. I just followed a few people and I got the benefit of their time spent combing and culling the webs content. Now a few years later I find I'm almost never on or only if I have something I want to tweet. It has essentially become a megaphone instead of a two way communication stream.
So...I went to my account and took a look at it. One of the first things that jumped out at me was that I was following almost a thousand people. How did it happen? Well when I first started tweeting I was amazed that people would want to follow me - so I almost always followed back. It kind of felt rude not to do so. Then I realized some of these folks were just trolling for exactly this behavior so I stopped following everyone back. However, I still followed folks that looked interesting back on a pretty regular basis. Also because I was using my twitter account as a way to identify content I might be interested in I would often follow people whose content came to me via a RT of someone else I followed with the thought that I would be interested in other things they have to say.
Today it all came to a head. Following a thousand conversations just isn't possible and I'd essentially stopped using Twitter because of it. The fact is I love Twitter's ability to help me find content I otherwise wouldn't see. Much like Slashdot.com it combs the internet for me and serves up some brilliant content I otherwise would never see. So I decided it was time to get back to a useful number of people I follow. I chose 250 as a max limit and immediately began trimming. The problem is that manually trimming is terrifyingly boring and painful. So I did a little searching and found manageflitter.com. This tremendously useful website allows you to quickly comb through the accounts you follow and unfollow people quickly based on different categorizations like how talkative the account is, how many people it follows, whether or not they follow you, etc. It also has a handy bulk unfollow box if like me you need to do serious trimming.
My goal is to get down to 250 people I follow and then trim judiciously from there. Unfortunately I hit the 800 person unfollow limit that manageflitter has in place and so I was stopped short of my 250 person goal. I'm hoping this makes Twitter relevant for me again. If your Twitter feed has become unmanageable - try manageflitter.com. It makes unfollowing easy.