new post from Shel Israel, the author of Twitterville and Naked Conversations. The post is called Twitteropolis, implying a shift in Twitter culture from the more quaint Twitterville he wrote about in his book.
Shel wrote that Twitterville is feeling much more like Twitteropolis these days.
“I named it Twitterville because I wanted to connote a certain homey, small-town feel–a place where you met up with people you already know and through them people who shared your interests in business, sports, politics or whatever. I described Twitterville as a cozy, neighborly, safe place.”
Shel went on to talk about how Twitter is beginning to feel to him these days:
“Now the place feels more to me like Twitteropolis, a noisy, unwieldy place. I still have lots of friends in Twitteropolis. I share interests, information and ideas every day, but often, Twitter feels more like Times Square than it does a small town where neighbors might learn where to go and what to buy by chatting over the backyard fence.”
That got me thinking. Has Twitter gotten too big?
I shared these thoughts with Shel on his blog:
“Shel, Twitter has changed since I joined in 2008. It was very, very small for me at first. I was filled with excitement and enthusiasm, and, on occasion, pure joy in finding such a goldmine of wonderful people with whom to share. I, like you, quickly found many friends with which I bonded. I saw people I wanted to know better, so I introduced myself, joined conversations (hopefully I’m not one of those you are talking about as intruders, but I could be), bonded, shared and found friendships I never thought possible in a virtual space such as this.
The change that I have seen is a bit like yours in that my Twitter world has grown a great deal from those early days, mostly because I study, immerse and dip every toe I have in to the waters every day in order to learn, communicate and mold my use to my unique style.”
I went on to write:
“As with growth of a network of any kind, Twitter offers the potential to end up in a world of overwhelm, unfamiliarity, distance, noise and the temptation to back away when it gets to be too much. This reminds me of college campuses, cities or churches that grow to become categorized as “mega.” If one doesn’t have a personality to stay the course, to nurture current and new relationships, and to understand that we can be forgotten very quickly if we don’t participate, then Twitter will be a failure for us.
The use of columns or lists in TweetDeck, or any other tool, helps me prevent all of that from happening. I have you and many others in titled columns so I can find you quickly if I want to. What I also try to remember to do is to stray from those 5 columns that are visible on my monitor to the various other columns and lists I have developed so that I learn and develop new relationships whenever I can. I am always happy when I do as I am reminded how many interesting people there are out there.”
I wrapped up my thoughts by saying:
“Yes, at any given time, I could share all of your thoughts about Twitteropolis, but I’m resisting that evolution for now by staying the course in this contact sport that is social networking.
As always, thanks for sharing your thoughts. You always give me something to think and talk about, which I thoroughly enjoy!
@NancyMyrland, Your Twitteropolis Neighbor”
What do you think? Has Twitter gotten too big? How do you manage and prioritize your participation?
Thanks to Andrew Gibson for the image used above.