Last week, I unfollowed everyone on my Twitter list. I was stuck in a twitter rut feeling like I wasn’t making connections, like all of these people and ideas were whizzing by and I wasn’t engaging. After explaining this to a person I admire (John, don’t get a big head) he suggested to unfollow everyone and rebuild my PLN. So I did. And I am thrilled I did.
And I am not the only one. Tony Baldasaro and Joe Bower did it as well this week. Others probably have too. And not because we think we are better than others, or because we don’t want to follow people, but because we are each making Twitter work for us. And that’s the beauty of Twitter; we personalize it and use it the way we want to, not how others tell us we should use it, and we need to get more accepting and forgiving of that.
I use Twitter to get inspired yes, but also to connect with people. I have friendships now that are solely based on Twitter interactions and there are many people that I follow that are on my bucketlist to meet. I use Twitter to unslump myself, to ask for advice, to try new things, and just like in real life where I don’t have a lot of friends, I don’t follow a lot of people on Twitter. This is not because I don’t like people, I do like people very much, but I need to know a little bit about you to follow you. And I need to have time to connect with you and give you attention. So if I follow several thousand people which I did a year or two ago, I am not able to keep up. I have no idea who most people are then and Twitter makes me feel like a superflous friend, like someone that doesn’t take the time to get to know people. That is not what I want Twitter to do to me.
So in the last week or so I have been rebuilding my connections. I have added many old friends, many new people, and I am exploring people to follow. Being sleep deprived means I cannot remember all of the amazing people I follow so once in a while I realize (usually in the middle of the night) that I forgot to follow someone. If that is you, I apologize, please reach out. And if you would love to connect, please do, spark a conversation with me so that I can get to know you, I know there are many other wonderful people out there to follow.
Twitter, in the end, for me is about connections. Yes, there is inspiration to be had, yes, there is learning to be gained, and yes, almost every educator on Twitter has something to offer. However the strength of Twitter as a tool is that it is yours to use in whichever way you see fit. There is no right answer to how many people you should follow or how you should interact don’t be fooled by people who say there is. Just like Twitter is ever-changing so are our relationships with it. Make it your own, make it work for you, and don’t let others make you feel bad.