Thoughts on Twitter noise

I was following a little more than 100 people on Twitter, and I realized I was mainly following my own technical tribe. By tribe I mean people gravitating around Python core, and since a few months a few Mozillians.

Well, what happens is that most tweets that are sent by people I follow are just circling around, and I get a lot of noise. And I am evolving in some kind of closed circle of information.

For Example, if the PSF account sends a tweet. It's retweeted by Jesse, Voidspace etc.. The most interesting Mozilla news will be retweeted by people like Chris Beard, or Alex Limi.

So why do I have (and we all have it seems) so many followers that are like me ? I think that's related to the fact that people follow friends or acquaintances they meet in conferences etc. We use Twitter a little bit like Facebook in this respect.

But I don't want to do this anymore, I think Twitter has much more value than just listing people you know or you like. I want to cut the noise there and try to get more value out of it.

Reducing my own noise

It turns out I am what Klout calls a Specialist (see here). But I am redundant. I mean, look at this:
1. Terry sends a mail at Python-dev about the fact that Python 3.2.0 was released twenty years after 0.9 2. I tweet it 3. Michael tweets it right after 4. Many other tweet it in turn.

So what it really means is : does it make sense to duplicate on Twitter news related to Python when they are already published in other medium ? I guess it made sense for this one, since it brings to a larger circle of Python fans this news. Guido himself tweeted it.

And I like to tweet those things -- And I have more than 1k followers that seem to be mainly interested in Python, so they want those tweets and consider that I am a specialized reporter.

One way to cut the noise on my side would be to check if someone has already talked about it, and eventually retweet it, like when you try send a link in Reddit and it tells you someone has already done it.

Or maybe just become more specialized -- stop talking about wine or random Python news I know they will be tweeted eventually. And also, maybe limit myself to 5 tweets a day.

Reducing other people noise

In order to cut the noise, I need to keep only a few "Specialists", for every domain I am interested in. I could probably just follow voidspace to get the latest news from the Python world.

The real value though, would be to follow other people that talk about other topics than Python or Mozilla. That does not necessarily means I'll follow random people, but rather people that are partially sharing my interests and opening a window to other worlds at the same time. People that are in my tribes, but also part of other tribes. That's a little bit what Malcom Gladwell calls connectors I guess.

For example, ogrisel is part of my Python user group but really focuses on AI. I enjoy his updates because they are food for thoughts. I also enjoy zooko updates because he has one foot in Python and one foot in security.

So, I guess the most logical thing for me to do with Twitter would be to:
- stop following Python or Mozilla people, except a very few "Specialists" - follow more "Connectors" like ogrisel

I am already down to 40 people I follow and will probably cut it down in half.

I already feel better today, my Tweetdeck backlog was greatly reduced. I wanted to tweet something about the weather but I held it this time ;)