Sometimes this is true.
Mostly it is a cover until I have the time/a trigger to clean it up. Twitter is my digital room, but instead of last semester’s Arabic homework and drug law handouts crumbled and unstackable in the corners, I have unique streams of information. Each tweet is one of a thousand continuous droplets flowing from accounts and mixing their contents with their neighbors’.
There is one thing I want to find when I log into Twitter: great writing. I want to be able to dip into a river of beautiful, topical writing on things I think are important (women, politics, rights, technology, friends).
Today, a friend mentioned he thought my feed was so full I would end up missing some of the best writing in the flow. That was my trigger. I began scrolling through the accounts I follow, culling those drops which ruined the flow of my verbal river. Here’s the questions I asked to go from 550 to 355 accounts I follow today:
- Is the account for a friend? If yes, keep.
- Is the account a well-written tertiary source (eg, most of Salon, Wired, Politico)? If yes, keep.
- Is the account an important primary source (eg, a federal agency, senator, or activist I care about)? If yes, keep.
- Is the bio offensively pitch-y? (“Former Deputy Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush, Author of Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight” or “This is the official Neil Diamond Twitter page. All Tweets are from Neil Diamond personally.”). If no, keep.
- Have they posted this month? If no, and not kept for any other reason above, Unfollow.
The joy of Twitter is that, unlike my room, I own that space entirely. I don’t return home with a bag full of Tweets which I must unpack and engage. My account’s shape will remain wet clay as long as I have it, but its shape will be determined solely by me.
If you read regularly, you’ve seen the Inspirational Quote before. But that speaks to its impact on how I think of my internal enviroment: while my room can never fully reflect my one own acre, my Twitter account just might.
“…Every single one of us at birth is given an emotional acre all our own. You get one, your awful Uncle Phil gets one, I get one, Tricia Nixon gets one, everyone gets one. As long as you don’t hurt anyone, you really get to do with your acre as you please. You can plant fruit trees or flowers or alphabetized rows of vegetables, or nothing at all. If you want your acre to look like a giant garage sale, or an auto-wrecking yard, that’s what you get to do with it. There’s a fence around your acre, though, with a gate, and if people keep coming onto your land and sliming it or trying to get you to do what they think is right, you get to ask them to leave. And they have to go, because this is your acre.” —from Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, 1994.