Twitter isn't that bad, you just have to curate it

If you walked into a massive mall food court full of people (pre-covid of course), and started yelling, you'd expect people to yell back. So, dont use twitter that way either.

Twitter isn't that bad, you just have to curate it
Photo by Jeremy Bezanger / Unsplash

If you walked into a massive mall food court full of people (pre-covid of course), and started yelling, you'd expect people to yell back. In fact, even if you're yelling about something mundane, there's a good chance someone else out there is going to have an opinion about it, and respond to you (after all, you're the crazy person who started yelling in a food court).

Similarly, if you walked into that same food court and sat down at a random table full of people, you're opening yourself up to whatever crazy things they'll talk about. It's not their came into their space.

Photo by Regina Victorica / Unsplash

But if you sat down at a table and put a sign up that said "I'm going to talk about data science" maybe 1 or 2 people might sit down to chat with you. Although honestly if you actually did that, you'd get ignored 99.99% of the time.

Photo by Beth Macdonald / Unsplash

That's my approach to Twitter. Find/curate a smaller space which doesn't have all the rest of the twitter ecosystem intruding on my feed.

I've had a personal account since 2008, and a work account that I finally set up in June 2020. The bios link to each other, so it's not like I'm hiding anything. My advice for curating twitter is focused on my work/professional account.

My Personal Account
My professional / work account

Just set up a new account

The first thing to do, if twitter is overwhelming or you're seeing way too much negativity, politics, tiktok viral videos or whatever you are sick of..... do some clean up of your following list OR just set up a new account.

You'll "lose" followers or you'll be starting at zero again, but really, and say it with me's going to be okay.

The benefit of twitter for most of us isn't defined by the number of followers we have. You can announce it from the original account...follow people and they'll probably follow you back if you make sure they know it's still you.

Ultimately, this is about purging the unneeded things from your feed. If you want to talk about data science....just follow data people and no one else. It's really that simple.

Use lists, not follows

Twitter has a feature where you can set up lists of accounts. I have one such list for data related people/things:

This way, you can jump directly to that particular topic instead of having to follow/review lots of different things in the same feed.

Don't follow everyone

Some people have the tendency is to follow everyone who ever replied to them, or was part of a thread, or maybe it's just an attempt to get them follow back. Avoid those urges. Only follow people who tweet things that are related to the topic(s) you want.

This is easier with people who have specific accounts for their personal vs professional work; you can just follow their professional account and not have to worry about their personal views, or family recipes, or latest holiday pictures.

Do your own research, pick the right people

Look at the people you're thinking about following and not just based on their name / title / bio.

Scroll back through their tweets to get an idea if they mostly post about the same things, or if they talk about a lot of things that may fill up your feed with unwanted content.

It's not rocket science

Some simple changes can make twitter a much happier place to browse and interact in. It doesn't take too much time, and the payoff is that you're more likely to consume interesting content from people you actually want to follow, rather than avoiding the rest of the twitter food court yelling at each other.