Overwhelmed by Twitter


Are you feeling overwhelmed by Twitter? I hear comments like this all the time:

I don’t have time for Twitter.

I can’t keep up with Twitter.

I’m too busy for Twitter.

Are you amazed by the amount of updates in your Twitter stream? Did you know you do not have to read ALL of the updates of the people you follow?

Coffee Break

Think of Twitter like the break room at a corporate office: when you enter the break room there are probably other people in the room having a conversation –> you walk in to the middle of the conversation –> participate while you are in there –> then go back to work even though there are probably still people carrying on a conversation in the break room after you’ve gone back to work.

Most likely you are not going to get a replay of all the conversations you missed (unless you work with one of those really gossipy types). And probably you are okay with that. So why do you feel the need to read every single tweet that comes through your stream?

Twitter is a lot like the break room – when you are signed in you participate in conversations, when you are gone life goes on without you and it is okay.

However, if you are a business like Starbucks and you want to know who is talking about you when you are not around you can always do a Twitter search.

Do you agree? Do you read every single update?

6 thoughts on “Overwhelmed by Twitter

  1. Michelle Gannon

    Hi Sally, When you told me this idea at the Tweet Up, I was struck how differently I use Twitter! Actually, I do read ALL of the tweets. Then, I like to get to know people personally through DM, email or in person. Maybe it is my role as a Psychologist. I value intimacy, connection and getting to know people better. However, I don’t have thousands of friends and followers like many of you do! Interesting. Thanks for the perspective.

  2. Sally Post author

    Shawn – I know how you feel.

    Michelle – You inspired this blog post. But maybe the way you are doing it is better. Small intimate vs. large insane. LOL

  3. David Gerbino


    I do not read every single update. My setup for the last three years has been as follows:

    There are a few people I follow who I want to see every tweet and they get texted to my cell phone. Any other important topic or company that I want to track is sent to my e-mail. The most important are sent in real time and the less important are sent daily.

    Now that twitter has lists, I use that to quickly check in to the groups that I have defined.

    So to answer your question, “Do you agree?” – Yes I do.


  4. Justin

    I touched on it in a comment to a previous post, but I do a little of both.

    The vast majority of people I follow I look at from time to time – when I have a few minutes, when somebody retweets or references something, that sort of thing. I just don’t know those people well enough to need to see everything. They’re like the random chatter in the breakroom that I can walk in and out of.

    There is a group of about 30 people or so that I want to see all of their tweets. If they Tweet “My house just burned down” or “One of my kids is missing,” I’d like to know about it – I don’t want to be the guy who finds out three days later he should have been being supportive but didn’t know.

    Hitting “Clear All” in Seesmic for these would be like walking out of the restaurant in the middle of a dinner with friends. I’m just not comfortable with that, even if dinner runs longer than it should.

  5. Sally Post author

    David and Justin – thanks for your comments.

    David – you have quite an elaborate set up, thanks for sharing.

    Justin – good point about staying at a dinner even if it runs longer. I to look at the vast majority periodically throughout the day and then have a main column of people in my TweetDeck that I keep a closer eye on. However, I still don’t read every tweet, I do scroll and scan the one’s I’ve missed but say I’m out of town for a week… and unplugged… I’m probably not going to go back and read all those tweets. Although, I may ask if I missed anything exciting while I was gone.

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