I'm making a second effort at Twitter. I've got too much information coming at me right now so I haven't been all that excited about adding tweets to my daily dashboard. I'm already behind on my RSS feeds and can barely get to Facebook at the end of each day. So adding Twitter seems like a complication I don't need. However, since I'm keen on studying how people learn and share information on-line, I'm redoubling my efforts to find value.
Am I alone? Doesn't all this information on the web give you a headache? Do you really feel comfortable relying on filters and keywords to guide what you learn? This seems to be the issue of our time...where do we draw the line between information value and information distraction?
Each generation deals with this to a certain extent. At one time people didn't want a phone in their house because they didn't want the disruption. What? A phone in my house that can ring at any time? Why would I want that? The current generation is slapped in the face with this--texting during movies, while driving, while in meetings, while playing with your kids, while eating dinner, while waiting in line, while on the potty, and on and on. How many of these are you guilty of? Do you really benefit from that exchange of information more than the activity you are supposedly paying attention to? If you were waiting on something then "yes". If you were spending time with a loved one then don't be so sure.
So I'm exploring value versus distraction with regards to Twitter. So far I've found both. I've deleted several tweeters who although they offer value, offer way to much distraction. I'm not sure what the threshold is yet for how to determine value. There's quantity versus quality to consider. However, it seems that if a tweeter is offering less than 25% value, I'm really starting to question whether or not I should follow them.
Social Context Is Important
Value varies depending on the context of the social network I'm using. In Facebook I'm dealing almost exclusively with friendships. I'm actually interested in where they ate out for dinner last night and how many home runs their kids made at the ball game. In LinkedIn I'm thinking about my career. I'm not primarily interested in those personal things.
Right now my Twitter account is schizophrenic. I'm using it for both personal and career reasons. This is actually where I've been having problems with Twitter. Where does Twitter fit in? The value I find in tweets changes during the day depending on what I'm doing at the time. Momentary value, now there's something to think about.