I am learning the hard way that Twitter, while a valuable social media tool, can also be very high maintenance. Despite telling myself that I could handle following 400 then 500 then 600 members, I finally hit Twitter overload. It was time to re-organize my Twitter community.
The problems started when I realized that, thanks to the explanations from my Twitter friends, Twitter can only give you a maximum of 20 new Tweets (or messages from people you follow) every time you request new Tweets. And you can only get a maximum of 70 updates in an hour. At least with Twhirl, which is a Twitter client that I started using after Kris Hoet’s suggestion.
So this meant that if I had 25 tweets from Twitter friends come in, I’d only see 20 of them. Yikes! To me this is like randomly losing 5 comments on my blog. Not good.
Part of the problem was that I was following around 630 people, but “only” had around 500 followers. That meant that there were well over 100 people that I was following, that couldn’t see my Tweets because they weren’t following me. It also meant that their Tweets might be keeping me from seeing the Tweets of people that are following me, if I went over the 20 tweet limit.
But my Twitter community again came to my rescue, letting me know about an interesting site called Twitter Karma. This tool shows me everyone that I am following, and also if they are following me. It also shows me people that are following me, that I am not following.
This tool is great for managing my Twitter community, because it does 2 things:
1 – Helps me see who isn’t following me, so I can stop following them if I choose to
2 – Helps me see who has followed me, so I can return the favor. Apparently I had dozens of followers that Twitter had never notified me about.
So when the smoke cleared, I went from following 630+ people, to following around 560. I removed about 80 that weren’t following me, and added a couple dozen that had been following me that I didn’t know about. But my Twitter experience is now more valuable to me because the conversations are more relevant. I’m also glad that people like Tara and Armano kept pushing me to try and stick with Twitter.
One last point. With all the new social media tools/sites popping up every day almost, it’s difficult to decide which ones are for you. Chris Brogan made a great point recently on how to choose which tools will work best for you. His advice was to find someone that’s a really “good” user of the site/tool, and see how they use it.