I Stopped Following You On Twitter. Nothing personal.

I stopped following you on Twitter today. Nothing personal. You’re still funny. People still like you. Your 2037 remaining followers still admire the amount of snark and wit you can pack into 140 characters.

Its not you. Its me.

I just woke up and realized that my Twitter feed was no longer meeting my needs. I realized that Twitter is like a dinner party in a warehouse and everyone is standing by the buffet line, all 646 million of us, trying to be clever and pertinent but not too personal and not too emotionally involved.

I came to talk to people who know about libraries and teaching and educational technologies and writing and poetry and mobile tools in the classroom and open education resources and science stuff. Oh, and Star Wars. Yes, also Star Wars.

Your posts kept interrupting my train of thought. Your selfies and cookey cat pictures kept hiding the posts I really wanted to see. I’m sure your cat is very nice, but I don’t really care what she ate for breakfast. And I don’t understand the cheese hat.

You aren’t the only one. I stopped following dozens of others. There will be several dozen more to come, I’m sure.

I can imagine you and the sadness you might feel. Sitting there alone in your apartment, refreshing your Twitter feed, wondering where follower 2038 has gone. You aren’t the kind to keep an actual list of followers, I hope. If so, it might take you a while to check and double check the list of names to find the disappeared.

There is, of course, software you might use to isolate changes in your Twitterdom to find my handle is the one that is gone.

Don’t think too poorly of me. I followed you once for some good reason. Who knows? Maybe I will follow you again.

But it is awkward, isn’t it? The knowing that you are still following someone who is no longer following you. The relationship has changed. No more favorites. No RTs. A lonely silence on Follow Fridays.

Try to move on. Don’t wallow in the misery. Use┬áthe disappointment to help you grow strong.

I wish you all the happiness in the world. You deserve followers who appreciate your every tweet. May you be richly blessed and, when the time comes, may your Twitter account be verified and graced by that little blue check that means so much to so many. That moment when the world is forced to recognize that you are exactly who you say you are.

Until then, my friend, take care of yourself. Try to be brave. You have 2037 other followers to think about. Tweet them well.

Facebook gives me superpowers

When I was a kid, there were two recurring fantasies that kept me fascinated for years and years:

  • What if every moment of my life were being recorded by my glasses so that everything I saw, said and heard was documented for future archivists to explore and piece together the meaning of my existence?
  • What if I could know where my friends were and what they were doing all the time?

Those would be kinds of super powers. I was a strange kid. Now I’m 37, and I’ve been given those powers. Its called social networks.

I’ve been thinking a lot about social networks recently – what they are for, how they connect us, how they isolate us, how they can make life seem simultaneously more intimate and more remote.

I did an inventory of the social networks I use:

    Facebook
    Twitter
    Google Plus
    LinkedIn
    GoodReads
    WordPress

And I just joined Pinterest, which apparently is more intended for 20-something ladies planning their weddings.

I don’t use these networks all the same way but they all give me superpowers.

Facebook

I check Facebook at least 5 times a day. I check in when I am someplace interesting. I post pictures and videos of my daughter. I post articles and I like stuff. Timeline may or may not be a huge violation of my personal privacy but I think it is pretty great that it can aggregate data from my day and put it all together in one neat, well-organized, more or less sequential line. Some of my friends do the same. That’s both powers: the power to document my own life — mundane and sublime — as well as the power to know where my friends are at any given time and what they are doing.

Twitter

I’ve become a bigger Tweeter just recently. Mostly because it is the most compact, information-rich way to find out what people you are interested in are thinking about. The biggest difference: you “friend” people on Facebook; you “follow” people on Twitter. Reading someone’s Twitter feed can be like peeking inside their brain. People unfollow me from time to time. I don’t get offended. When people “unfriend” me it hurts just a little.

Google Plus

I’ll be honest. I don’t actually use Google Plus very much. I haven’t taken the time to figure out what it’s for. I do like the concept of Circles where groups of friends can share posts but I haven’t had a “group” of friends since early high school. I’m pretty much an everybody or nobody kind of guy these days. So, maybe Google Plus doen’t actually give me superpowers, yet, but if I had a superhero outfit I could do worse than the nifty +1 logo.

LinkedIn

I will have to save LinkedIn for another post. I have a passive-aggressive relationship there. I love the ability to see who I know that knows somebody else I know in a completely different context. Superpower: omniscience. The ability to directly perceive how everything is related. Unfortunately, LInkedIn fails to satisfy my kidhood fantasies as I rarely check in and keep meaning to update my profile with all the Important, Serious Stuff I am doing at work. If I’m not updating my basic profile, am I really present?

GoodReads

I underuse the social aspect of this network. I use GoodReads pretty much just to list the books I’ve read and keep track of books I want to read. I do keep up with what a few of my friends are reading there, but, to be honest, my favorite part is posting GoodReads updates to Facebook because that’s where the people are.

WordPress

Very few comments on my blog so far. To be fair, I very rarely read other WordPress blogs, let alone comment. So, I don’t know for sure that I am actually using WordPress as a social network. But I do get a thrill when people read and tell me they read what I wrote. Superpower: back to the documenting my existence for future scholars. Its the Quotidian in Ubiquitous Quotidian.

PInterest and Tumblr

I’ll leave both of these alone for now since I haven’t used them much. I suspect I’m too wordy to connect with these image blogs much.

I can see that this post started out as one thing and has become something of another. Back to the beginning, Facebook gives me superpowers. That idea deserves another try again soon. I should slow down a bit and notice how I really use Facebook.