[Air-L] Who to UnFollow

Barry Wellman wellman at chass.utoronto.ca
Wed Jul 1 09:38:18 PDT 2009


Thanks for your thoughtful post re twitter.

I have often stopped following things such as what you ate for dinner. One
famous guy who did this a lot got mad at me about my not reciprocally
following him. I explained why politely, and never heard from him again. I
assume he's still mad. My first experience with Twitter Politics.

I try to keep almost all of my tweets to my ideas or RTweeting others --
lotsa pointers to longer discussions.

However, every once in a while I am bursting that was important to me that
I just have to share it -- such as Bev/my recent Rafting down the Grand
Canyon or you (Blurky/Bernie) coming to town.

I also use such Tweets (as NancyBaym does) to promote my
friends'/students' work.

One thing hard to solve is people I usually learn from but who also point
their daily stuff ("in the garden, painting my shoes"). I've
half-seriously thought we could have Tweet1 and Tweet2 for ideas vs
self-reporting posts.

I'm also mystified why so many people (500+) follow me. I don't think I
give very good value. (One of the first things we learned in the early
days of computerized conferencing is that people have less useful things
to say to each other on a daily basis than when they save it up for annual
conferences.) Some do follow because others have suggested. Others I think
are collectors of "names", even though no one would accuse me of being
Ashton Kushner. I know in a few cases I myself am following a famous
social scientist because he is famous (and verbose).

There seem to be disciplinary clusters (when George Siemens of e-learning
suggested following me, there was a surge) and geographical clusters (in
my case: Brasil and Australia) which I assume is word of mouth. I can't
believe that people who are following 500 have time to read them, even if
they use Tweetdeck to prioritize. I have barely time to skim the 100 I do
follow. As I tweeted yesterday, "frittering my time away" has been
replaced by "twittering my time away".

There are a whole bunch of research projects here, plus the social network
stuff on who follows whom. Certainly I'm cross-linked with a bunch of
AoIRish people. I know this because when someone Follows me, I check out
who else they're following.

 Happy Canada Day!

 Barry Wellman

  S.D. Clark Professor of Sociology, FRSC               NetLab Director
  Department of Sociology                  725 Spadina Avenue, Room 388
  University of Toronto   Toronto Canada M5S 2J4   twitter:barrywellman
  http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~wellman             fax:+1-416-978-3963
  Updating history:      http://chass.utoronto.ca/oldnew/cybertimes.php

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