I like the idea of having followers. It makes me feel like a Demigod. On Facebook I only have friends, which is all too human.
But am I keeping up with an important trend or is twitter just turning me into a deranged megalomaniac? Either way, I have a confession to make: I don’t really get twitter.
It sounds like a great idea: follow people you admire, celebrities you love and smart people with interesting ideas. But the reality is different. As I say, I’m following a couple of dozen people, and I’m already wilting under the onslaught. Each person or company I follow puts out about 10 tweets a day. So every day I have around 250 tweets to read and digest. I simply can’t handle that much information. Especially when so much of it is drivel. You see, I’ve discovered something else from using twitter. Even smart people can sound stupid when they have to express themselves in fewer than 140 characters.
Some people on twitter are following hundreds or even thousands of people. That could generate hundreds of tweets every hour. Day and night. No human intelligence could possibly handle that amount of information.
So what’s the solution? In my case, I ignore everything. Like a real God, I tweet to my followers and ignore anything coming back in my direction. What else can I do?
I wonder if I’m missing something here, so I google “twitter information overload.” There are a few people out there who seem to agree with me. I read about one guy who follows 90,000 and has 90,000 followers. He obviously can’t read even 1% of what twitter tells him.
My conclusion is that some things aren’t scalable. One thing that isn’t scalable is friendship. That’s why twitter doesn’t let you have friends. And another thing that doesn’t scale is understanding. Reading more stuff doesn’t mean that you understand more. It might mean that you end up understanding less.