Lately, when I'm clicking through links on Twitter or clicking through Twitter search results - when I'm looking at Twitter users and I'm trying to decide who to follow - an important thing for me is volume. The volume isn't the first thing that draws me to a user, obviously, but it is a strong secondary qualifier. I will search a word in the Twitter search feature: an author's name maybe, or a very specific term from a subject of interest, or a place name, or a word for a mood or...damn...just about anything (usually not one of the top current trend terms (I guess I'm outta touch))...or I'll cruise the Twitter Public Timeline, remember that thing? Or I'll follow links through people I follow...and I'll land on a user's page and I'll read read read the first few tweets on the person's page to get the gist of what they say...and then a huge thing that shapes my decision is volume. I skip to the end of their first page to get an indication of how many tweets they have on the first page of their profile. Like if you looked at my profile, at the bottom, you'd see messages from today back to November 17th fill my Page 1. I look for that same measure in others. That's just as shallow and ridiculous as can be, right? And it's hypocritical too...anybody who's ever met me knows that I babble and babble and babble and have no right to impose a word count on anybody.
But isn't this a good compatibility test? I mean: what exactly do you want out of Twitter? I want to use it on my phone. I want to hear from as many people as possible during the day while I'm slaving away, but I don't want to have my phone blowing up so badly it's unusable. I have passed on following some really interesting people because of their volume. And I only let certain people flood my Twitter stream. (You know who you are, and I LOVE you and there's a reason I follow you like a disciple.)
I don't know...maybe I'm going for Dunbar's Number.
Obviously my opinions could differ from somebody - like night and day - even if they tweet the same amount as I do. Of course. But the 'connection' is about more than just agreeing, right? It's about a successful communication process, the right conditions for a successful communication process to proceed. I am a firm believer in the power of Twitter as a means of meaningful communication.
People who have the same volume as I do, maybe they have a similar expectation for Twitter.
People who think like me (or: at the pace that I think), who refine their thoughts and shape a message and utter an utterance with the same frequency with which I do it - they might use Twitter in the same way that I do. Pacing! Synchronicity! Maybe these are the most important facilitating elements of a 'connection.' By 'connection,' what the hell do I mean? I mean somebody posts messages to Twitter regularly which 1) I can relate to, 2) I can learn from, 3) make me laugh, 4) challenge me, 5) enlighten me, 6) scold me when I'm screwin up....and I hope to do the same back to the person - - a connection - -
I don't look to Twitter for ALL OF MY INFORMATION AND TRUTH. There are some messages that are too heavy or too long for Twitter. (Guess what: I read books too. And lots of newspaper and magazine articles and blogs and forums and...wow...just about anything...cereal boxes, government websites, association websites, think tank websites, academics, pdf reports downloaded...and then there's all the stuff I listen to and view....) But for what I am looking for out of Twitter, what I am hoping for out of Twitter, maybe my volume thing is a good idea. Maybe I am getting the most out of Twitter. (Or maybe I'm missing so much it's a freakin tragedy.) What I miss out on - on Twitter - I hope I pick it up elsewhere - - or I just don't get it I guess. Whatever. In this life you gotta go with what you got. Use the info at hand to make a decision, to make a statement, to produce your art or write.
I just know that the high volume user squelches a low volume user on Twitter - because of how it's designed. When Twitter Lists came out, I started a list of low volume users...so that I could be sure to hear from them when I'm logged on...when I'm not using Twitter via phone but instead via computer. (Maybe I should have a high volume list too. A fast lane and a slow lane...but then I would be forced to click around a buncha lists...I don't know...maybe I'll do that)
Maybe I should just use Twitter to answer the question that Twitter itself poses to me, the question at the top of your Twitter page right above where you type stuff asks: What's happening? ...didn't it use to ask: What are you doing?