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Twitter Focus

For the last month I’ve been strictly limiting myself to following only 150 people on Twitter.  You can read more on my thinking about this and other peoples reactions here. What I want to share with you in this post is what the first month has been like.

Hocus Pocus

I want to start by describing a bit more about what I was experiencing before the experiment started.

I was struggling to find balance, clarity and appropriateness for purpose in the connections I had made. For some time I’d been managing down my following of others, yet there was still this persistent “noise”  in my Twitter timeline.  It’s hard to say how much of it was useful or useless to me but the experience quite often felt a bit like this…

Regardless of your musical tastes, there’s something curious & magnificent in that performance isn’t there?  Quite fun and distracting… yet, it’s hard (not impossible) to discern anything intelligible or valuable in those 6 minutes. This describes some of my historical experience of Twitter. In fact at times I’d say it’s been a bit less like a rock show and more like a magic show…

Lot’s of wonderful fun, humour & performance… Lots of great participation and cheering from the crowd… Then with a bit of Hocus-Pocus you suddenly realise you are following 100′s of people for no particularly sensible or focused purpose!  It’s a bit like Derren Brown has had you up on stage hypnotised trying to spin 100′s of plates, miserably failing of course, as the audience watch bemused.  Then having awoken you watch the video replay and can’t quite believe how you’ve been beguiled and how lacking in purpose and focus you’ve let yourself become.

Focus Focus

So quite a few people have been asking me how this “experiment” is going…  What was it like to cut down to 150 people overnight? How have people reacted?

So, once the decision was made, it was really easy to go through my followers and reduce to those whose connection matter to me.  It’s surprising just how many (I assume very good) folk I’d followed and then had had very little or no interaction with… mea culpa.

I then took a bit of time to do some housekeeping and reorganising of my lists on Twitter. The structure I had for a few hundred needed to be altered to work optimally with 150.

The combination of both those activities (reducing to 150 and optimising my lists) has really helped create focus when I’m on Twitter…

    • I’m spend good quality time on Twitter and very little time filtering…
    • I feel more in touch with my most important relationships & connections…
    • Some of the relationships that I thought were valued I now see are not at all…
    • I’m getting to know some people better because I am now able to focus on that outcome…
    • I’m still following & unfollowing people but have to think more carefully about these choices now…

More than that, I’ve found deeper focus emerging away from Twitter…

    • I’m spending more time talking to key relationships on phone/email/SMS and those engagements have a deeper joint purpose be that social or commercial…
    • I’m giving more time to LinkedIn but in short focused bursts…

So one month in and I’ve not become a pariah, the sky didn’t fall down and I’ve not had any “difficult conversations”!!! The whole experiment has been well worth it and at this stage there’s no turning back.

What from this would you consider trying yourself?

Post Script

For those who are curious about what happened to my following when I made the transition to 150, here’s my graph from :-

Twitter 150 Experiment 28-2-2013

I suspect the “plateau” effect that has emerged in followers is a direct relationship to my deliberate plateau of following 150 people. It may of course change!

I’m fairly agnostic to my number of followers but thought this might be of interest to some who are considering such an experiment.



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