HAS TWITTER GOTTEN TOO BIG?

Nancy Myrland All Posts, Social Media 11 Comments

Too-big in 50 Stunning Photoshop Text Effect Tutorialsnew 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.

Shel shared:

“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!

Fondly,

@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.


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10 comments
Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

HAHAHA! No one has ever called ME patient! Thanks Bill!

Christina Pappas
Christina Pappas

I missed Shel's post on this, but its an interesting notion and I cant help but agree. I have only been on Twitter for about 4 months and try to be active consistently. Everyday I find more interesting people to follow and build relationships with and it gets tough to manage. I have columns setup on Tweetdeck, like you, but cant help but we caught up with a tweet that catches my eye in the top-right. I could spend my whole day on Twitter if I let myself and I constantly have numerous tabs of great content open in my browser that people shared and I just havent had time to read, retweet and comment back. How do we control the 'monster' when, as you said, there are SO many great people to connect with! We can only do so much but its bittersweet to have tons of followers and fans sometimes...

GdM
GdM

I have joint Twitter a while ago, out of curiousity, meaning not with the intention to participate actively but to watch (out for) the interactivety of the carefully selected tweeters I choose to follow and tweets I choose to post. I hereby still think in terms of my personal quality standards instead of quantity standards.
On top of that, Twitter has always felt as an anonymous place to me, but a really interesting one, full of knowledge and ideas to share and thus retweet, not necessarily to put myself forward but to make a list of tweets full of info that I should not forget.

Allison Carter
Allison Carter

Nancy,

This is a great point. I read just today that Twitter has 200 million registered users sending 110 million tweets a day. That's more registered users than the entire population of Brazil, which also means that yes, it is completely impossible to know even a tiny fraction of people on the site. But there are a few ways to make it more usable. Like you mentioned, many people find benefits from using lists. Personally, I make my Twitter world smaller by carefully choosing who I follow back. It's important to remember that you are under no obligation to ever follow someone just because they follow you. If their information is not interesting/amusing/relevant, then don't follow.

I also try to keep my Twitter list very local. While of course I follow some people from all around the world, and am interested in their news and opinions, it's the local community that I work the hardest to stay connected to. They're the folks that I have the "back fence" conversation with.

Thanks for the great post, Nancy!

Bill Dorman
Bill Dorman

Yes and no for me; as a relatively new convert I have found it very exciting and engaging as I meet new and different people throughout the Twitter community. However, my paying gig requires me to be out of the office a lot of the time and I struggle keeping up with the continual flow of information as a lot of it I want to capture.

I guess at the end of the day I control what I want my 'network' to look like, it's just I'm still finding out what that is.

And I say this with all sincerity, you and @ginidietrich have made my experience a lot more enjoyable. You are engaging, thoughtful, patient and always have good content. I will always 'pimp' you as much as I can and hopefully somewhere along the line you will benefit from this.

Thanks for helping me to stay connected.
Bill

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by shel israel, Nancy Myrland, Nancy Myrland, Lindsay Griffiths, Kim Howard and others. Kim Howard said: RT @NancyMyrland: My new Myrland Marketing Minutes post: Has Twitter Gotten Too Big? http://bit.ly/ggkfrS (cc: @shelisrael) […]