Keeping the social media firehose under control, keeping balance in your life

There’s a lot of people teaching that the way of success in social media is to get as many followers as possible. It’s a numbers game where if 1% of followers click on your links and take a desired action (buy a product) then to me n$’s in sales it’s possible to calculate the required number of followers. However it’s likely that making positive social change using social media requires a different approach to this game. And in any case for myself I like to actually use my social media accounts for, you know, socializing. It’s a kick socializing with people who have a similar mindset and thinking, and if I mix in this “Gotta get as many followers as possible” then the socializing gets lost.

A few months ago I bought into this notion of autofollowing people on Twitter. One method is to hire a robotic website to perform searches on important keywords and autofollow anybody who mentions that keyword. Another method is to instruct the robotic website to autofollow any account which follows my account.

While that’s a method for getting a lot of followers in practice it has led to zillions of robotic twitter accounts run by robotic websites where these accounts are robotically subscribing to each other.

This picture is not one of creating positive social change. The robots are not social and they’re not about to change from being robots.

My thinking right now is to to be a part of the online communities that makes sense to participate in and to positively choose who I’ll listen to. If a zillion people decide to follow me that’s great because whatever message I have to say will reach a larger audience. But my time and mindspace is valuable to me, and wading through a firehose of robotic messages just wastes my time.

I’ve been avoiding twitter because the robotic services subscribed my account to a bunch of twitter accounts that appear to be robotically driven spam machines. Avoiding twitter meant losing out on the valuable connections I’d found through twitter but I simply wasn’t able to handle the firehose of content coming my way. Twitter lists helped but not enough.

I’ve just gone through one of my accounts and weeded out (unfollowed) a bunch of the robotic spam accounts. Now that twitter account is much more pleasant to look at.. several pages of tweets speaking primarily about the topic I’m interested in. Wonderful!

It did drop away nearly 200 accounts I was following, but they all appeared to be accounts I didn’t want to follow. With luck twitter will be a more pleasant experience, and I’ll get back to being there more often.