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Apr 20

Rebooting your social network; When is it time? And how can you garden?

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After talking about the “Social Web” over the weekend, I heard about how the young’uns often reboot their social network every year or so. It becomes too unwieldy for them, they may have switched groups (high school to college for example) and they kick off a new account and start afresh. After getting all of those friends????? Hmm.

I have noticed something similar myself. I find that the gardening that you have to do once your social network evolves can be as intense as dealing with your RSS subscriptions. A lot of people are ignoring feed readers and instead just rely on the social streams and “friends” to tell them what is happening. Social aggregation really helps keep down the flow without making you think that you are missing out on something. I personally look forward to a day when I hang up the feed reader hat for awhile. It can be too heavy for my neck these days.

Anyway, back to the gardening. The problem that I have is that when I start on a new network, I plant a lot of seeds. People who connect to me will get connections back, as why not? However, if I get a follower on Twitter now, unless I recognize the username, chances are that I won’t make the time to follow them back. This is unfortunate, and is due to the fact that I perceive myself to be at the upper limit of the number of people that I can follow and still stay sane.

The problem though is that this new chap may have a lot more interesting things to say that someone who I followed on day 10. I just don’t unfollow enough (weed the garden).

I mentioned not taking the time to follow the person back and you may think “time??? to click on a link???” but that isn’t really where the time is. To do it right, I should either go back and read their past tweets and/or follow them and “give them a few days”.

One small change by Twitter itself that I would appreciate, and would help me follow back, would be to change the email notification that you get when someone follows you. Instead of the simple:

Hi, Dion Almaer (dalmaer).

Zaphod Beeblebrox (DaBeebiest) is now following your updates on Twitter.

Check out Zaphod Beeblebrox’s profile here:
http://twitter.com/DaBeebiest

You may follow Zaphod Beeblebrox as well by clicking on the “follow” button.
Best,
Twitter


Turn off these emails at: http://twitter.com/account/notifications

How about showing me the goods. Let me know what I am missing by NOT communicating:

Hi, Dion Almaer (dalmaer).

Zaphod Beeblebrox (DaBeebiest) is now following your updates on Twitter.

You may be interested in following him back, and to help you decide, here are some of his recent tweets:

“I love catz”
“My cat is the cutest”
“@arthur can we leave!”
“Tie me kangaroo down sport is the best song evar!”
“@arthur uh uh!”
“Giggling. It’s sunny.”
“@arthur DON’T PANIC!”

Check out Zaphod Beeblebrox’s profile here:
http://twitter.com/DaBeebiest

You may follow Zaphod Beeblebrox as well by clicking on the “follow” button.
Best,
Twitter


Turn off these emails at: http://twitter.com/account/notifications

On a side note, I got to meet Alex Payne of Twitter who had some good insights on Bespin. Very helpful, and an all round great chap.

5 Responses to “Rebooting your social network; When is it time? And how can you garden?”

  1. Ryan Corradini Says:

    “DaBeebiest” has got to be the coolest Twitter username ever… if nobody’s snatched it up in a day or two I’d be highly surprised.

    On topic, your tweak to the automated email makes a lot of sense to me from a usability standpoint. Hopefully TPTB run with it.

  2. Jesse Andrews Says:

    I used to think that it would be good to include recent tweets for context, but it will make it even easier for the tweet-follow-spammers to spam your email box.

  3. dion Says:

    Jesse,

    Really good point. Darn spammers!!!!!

  4. Devon Govett Says:

    Check out Twimailer – http://twimailer.com/! All you do is enter your email address, and they give you one back. Now you replace your twitter email address with the one they gave you and you will get emails with everything about that person when they follow you (recent tweets, bio, number of followers, number following, location, and website). They give you options like follow back, block, and report as spam all from within the email!

    I am not affiliated with this service in any way, but I have found it useful and thought that you would too!

    Devon

  5. John Drinkwater Says:

    I posted a feature request to identi.ca for this idea,
    http://laconi.ca/trac/ticket/1455

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