Twitter Following Policy

I’ve been using Twitter more and more. It’s another reason why blogging at this blog has sagged in the past year. Some of the ideas I might have posted here are instead ending up at Twitter, which is quicker and easier than posting here. Plus, now that I’ve tied together Twitter and Facebook so that my Twitter posts also publish as my Facebook status, I might have a bigger audience at Twitter/Facebook than I do here.

I still haven’t quite figured out when I want to follow people at Twitter. I do check the Twitter feed a few times a day, but I can get overwhelmed when I follow someone who is tweeting his/her life. So, after trying a few different combinations, I pruned my list of people I’m following down to a fairly small number. Reflecting on this group, I’ve noticed that all but 2 of them are people I’ve known for a decade or more. (The other 2 are blogging buddies that I frequently connect with). This is in contrast with Facebook or LinkedIn, where my friending standards are much more inclusive. It turns out that for Twitter, I’ve implicitly decided to track only a fairly small sphere of my broader social network. There may be a research paper on the topic of how and why people decide to define their social networks differently in different social networking sites.

When I was looking into people who had Twitter accounts, I was surprised by the number of my friends who had invitation-only Twitter accounts (i.e., their tweets aren’t public; you need permission to see them). Even if I wanted to do so, I feel somewhat forward asking to join this inner circle unless they are a really, really close friend. (Otherwise, it’s like I may be intruding into a private conversation where I may not be welcome). So the protection system acts as another psychological barrier to following friends.