Twitter – Making Choices

I’ve been on Twitter for a while now. My @nixit (which has evolved into my professional account) handle is nearly five years old whereas my everyday @nicki_nz account is quite a bit younger.

I’m a middle of the road Twitter user (please don’t call me a Tweep, Twit or other cutesie-pie name). I post pictures of food and coffee and the places I go. I make observations about things in the media or in my fields of interest or I share links about the stuff I read. I retweet comments and links that are interesting or make me think. I talk to a few people, ask a few questions, respond to a few others. Somedays I am prolific; at other times I’m quiet. I read a lot more than I write.

I love Twitter because it’s about choice. I can dip in and out, engage or disengage. If I find someone who is really interesting or who posts stuff that makes me think, I can follow that person. If I find that someone that I already follow doesn’t interest me or posts too much rubbish then I can un-follow them. During an event I can follow a hashtag (#eqnz for the Christchurch earthquakes) or a specific user (eg, @acarvin who has been described as the man who tweets revolutions).

Some people mourn the days when it was just them and their friends on Twitter. This makes me laugh. You can choose who is on Twitter by carefully choosing who you follow. If that’s not enough then restrict who follows you – which I tend to think misses the point. It’s no different to blogs. If you engage only with people on the same wavelength then you will never be challenged to think in different or new ways.

I don’t like excessive retweeting. Some people go a bit crazy on the retweet button and copy everything a person says. This annoys me. If I find a retweet interesting I can go and look at the original stream and follow that person if I want to. I also don’t see the point of Kiwis retweeting archane news items from overseas. A lot of  BREAKING NEWS isn’t breaking for everyone. And just because it says PLEASE RT a lost or found  dog / cat / child … you don’t have to – especially if most of the people you interact with are on a different continent to the mislaid creature.

Sometimes I’ve discovered that my Twitter stream gets a bit unbalanced. I find that there are too many self-promoting journalists, politicians or celebrities pointlessly jabbering away at each other. Or like right now, I’m finding too much negativity in my stream. It’s easy to fix with a few judicious clicks of the delete button. After all if I wouldn’t enjoy it in real life, I don’t need to see it on my screen.

So, in order to finish on a positive note what do I like? New ideas, links and angles. Photos, music and videos that I’d never find on my own. The serendipity of making and meeting new friends (on and offline). And fun – good fun like the stuff in this collection of Kiwi gems. That’s what I love about Twitter.