How to Tame Twitter (other social media things are available)

I love Twitter. Or let me put it another way I hate Twitter! I never wanted to join it, never wanted to compress what I wanted to say down to 140 characters (or whatever the number is). I hated the “culture” of posting each time you had a sandwich, a sneeze, a bottom burp. I had better things to do with my time than to write a daily diary/blog/journal but in small sound bites. 

Unfortunately my last job required everyone to be connected. Able to reach and extend the reach of our partners and key stakeholders. Able to react to news and “stuff” quickly and efficiently. It actually appeared in our operational plan as having a certain reach, so many likes, follows and impressions. So the organisation paid workers to stay up during Olympics and World Cups to tweet the news as soon as it happened, To be the first to hit the “newsstand”, the fastest and most uptodate and informed partner you could want.

And I just could not get my head round it. Still can’t. Some partners fill your timeline at 9am, tweet after tweet after tweet, or around lunchtime or indeed 5 minutes to 5pm. Others are “retweet this to win a stuffed toy/bag of marbles/a chance to own a gold plated drinks coaster”. Then there are sponsored tweets that appear from people I have never followed, have no intention of following or buying anything from. There are other people who mix business with pleasure. So their 10am tweet is “in meeting with XYZ – the future of our industry” whilst their 10pm tweet is “Gazza get your arse down to X Club we f****** have pulled” with a suitable photo of 3 inebriated chaps, empty beer glasses on head and shirts ripped open to the waist. 

The more people I followed the more I either had to sit on it 24/7, scared to miss the important message amongst the haystack or look at it, glaze over and then post a couple of retweets, write a tweet about how glad I was to meet Jo and then not go near it for a few days. It became a giant thing that you were on, people followed you, got bored and muted you or unfollowed (by the way how sad do you have to be to keep checking who is following you or has given up and gone elsewhere?), you tweeted something, retweet, repeat. It wasn’t a tool anymore it was just something you did. And every so often you’d get a film of a cat – oh the reward.

What has really got me down recently has been football followers and politics. Who knew so many people I followed were complete numptys. Firstly the football fan who thinks he (invariably a he) knows the game inside out, has insider knowledge and doesn’t care that others will have opinions. No he is right and how dare you state otherwise – even if you start the thread it is his right to call you all sorts of things and offer you out! Second we have the person you follow who turns out to be far right/left in their politics and woe betide anyone who is slightly left or right of that. Comics, work colleagues, fashion pundits, sports coach, a family member – all come out fighting with a strength of conviction that makes you wish Twitter was still all about what people had for lunch!

And just recently with the world in the state it finds itself my timeline was about stuff I would walk away from in any other setting. Pub – move away from the bore. Work – oh is that my phone, must dash. Out and about – move to a different shop/cafe/table.

A chance conversation with the wife (after all my woodworking who knew I still had one?) and she mentioned LISTS. And that’s it, I am now the worlds leading bore on lists! But it’s all a bit fluffy on the technical bit. Somewhere under your own profile you can create a list. In that list place twitter members. Create as many lists as you like (although I bet there’s a limit I will never reach). Now when I go onto Twitter I never go to timeline or profile but just work through the lists. It only shows what those people who are members of the list have tweeted. Simples! No sponsors, no bores, no people you followed ages ago but don’t want to unfollow – you know they’re the ones checking who stops following…. If someone gets a bit brutish or political or boring I just remove them from the list. So simple and effective. I like Twitter now and can read the news I want, see what my real friends are doing – nice sandwich Steve and interact with Twitter like never before.

And a second tip – never read the comments people put below that celeb who says England will win the World Cup – therein lies the path of mental anguish and a brain ache at the state and future of humanity.

Stay safe out there folks!

Follow me on Twitter:- @colinbennett14 or @westhamcoach or @1966colinblog – told you I love it!

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