Monday, April 1, 2013

The Great Internet Fast of 2013: The End (Not Really)

More: On this blog, More on Whether You Should Give Up Twitter
Ed Morrissey, Back from my self-imposed Lenten Twitter exile
Kevin Drum, Twitter, Addiction, and Changing Social Norms

Now that Lent is over, I can go back to my regular daily consumption of approximately 200 blog posts (more when there is big news or some sort of gizmo/video game convention) and lord knows how many tweets, right?

Wrong.

I'm not going back to Twitter. Or rather, I'm not going back to Twitter until I find a way to separate the wheat from the chaff. And on twitter there is a lot of chaff. This extremely accurate chart* suggests that up to 90% of a typical twitter feed is basically a waste of everyone's time. If I could write a filter that only showed me tweets that contained links, that might improve the signal-to-noise ratio to the point where twitter were useful.

After two days without Twitter, I barely missed it; by the second week, I was downright happy not to be thinking about "staying on top" of my feed. I've uninstalled Tweetdeck from my phone, and going forward will only use Twitter to post links to my own blog posts. So my first piece of advice is that you should just stop using Twitter altogether, or find a way to show only those tweets that contain links.

I was much worse when it came to phone noodling or other social media. Moving app usage off of a phone and onto a tablet is generally a good idea, since the temptation to fiddle with a tablet is smaller, and using it is a more pleasant experience all the way around. I suppose the thing to do would be to move my Facebook & forum usage onto the tablet. That leaves only the bus ride as suddenly dull, and for now I'm trying out this new fad called reading printed books as a replacement for checking RSS feeds and doing crossword puzzles.

Note: despite the fact that this is being published on April Fool's Day, I mean it. No more tweeting. I'm out.

* to a first approximation, at least

11 comments:

Greg Hao said...

Quite agreed about Twitter. There is so much noise on it that it's basically useless. And ya, you can use lists or whatever but even then it's still mostly unwieldily.

I pretty much only turn on the app (I think I use tweetdeck) during big political events when I'm basically only looking for snark.

Neil Sinhababu said...

This confirms the suspicious that have led me to stay away from twitter, and use it only to tweet links and to respond after someone has already mentioned me in the conversation.

wendolen said...

I quit kind of by accident about two years ago, and haven't been able to bring myself to come back. Maybe I should just delete my account.

Jay P said...

Nice post.

The ironic thing is, though, that TweetDeck actually updated its Max OS X app during Lent, and it DOES now allow you to filter out anything that doesn't contain links. If you click on "Edit" in your main column, you can now activate those filters.

Jay

Nicholas Beaudrot said...

@Jay P. Well, shit.

Someone on the wonkblog mentioned paper.li, which I guess crawls your timeline and just produces the links. I think that's what I'd actually want.

George said...

I suggest using Twitter only to promote your blog content. A wordpress plugin tweets automatically every 4 hours.
Reading blogs is less time-consuming than reading twitter

Greg Hao said...

If Ezra Klein is too good for twitter then so are you!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/04/01/the-problem-with-twitter/

The Gloves Are Off said...

Reading printed books? How quaint....

Actually, it's something I've taken to doing on my busrides as well. So far, the biggest problem is putting the book away when the busride ends....

mona said...

I've found far better content by creating my own personalized lists. The end to Twitter? I don't think so. When you customize everyone or stop following the meaningless Tweets, it speaks loud, clearly and perfectly for me.

Josh Doody said...

Nicholas, I agree with you that Twitter is full of chaff. I built an app to help solve this problem for myself - It's called ShareAppeal, and it's free to whoever wants to use it. Here's a blogpost specifically about the feature that pulls in only tweets with links: New on ShareAppeal: Twitter Integration!.

I know you're off Twitter, but you can find me there @JoshDoody. If you have any questions or feedback on the app, I'm all ears. You can also email me about it: admin at ShareAppeal dot com

My typical workflow with ShareAppeal's Twitter feature:

1. Go to the "Latest Links" section to see what people are sharing.
2. Skim to find stuff I want to read later and save it to my reading list (click the star next to the link).
3. Most of the time, I just go to my "Saved links" page, which is where my reading list lives.
4. Once I read something, I just mark it as read on my reading list.

It also has a bookmarklet, which I use to save stuff I find online to my reading list (by just clicking a button in my browser's top bar). This is probably the most useful thing about it for me as it helps me quickly save stuff to read later if I don't have time now.

Good luck!

Josh Doody said...
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