I just finished paring down my number of Twitter follows from 55 to 25.
Compared to other bloggers who write about technology and culture, I realize it’s a miniscule number. But as of this writing, I find it burdensome to attempt to keep up to speed with Twitter. Like blogger Cheri Lucas Rowlands, whose Writing Through the Fog is one of my must-reads, I’ve felt that attempting to keep pace with a sizable Twitter feed seems like trying to be keep a giant sponge saturated, with no time to wring it out:
Sometimes I envision my Twitter feed as rushing water: my presence is a dam, and each tweet is debris making its way downstream. It’s now a challenge to let information simply flow—to let tweets swim by without me seeing or interacting with them. But because of this constant, obsessive reading and absorbing of everything on the Internet, I cannot write.
I also want to write more. I want to strike a better balance consuming and creating media. I want to cast a line and snag a Tweet now and then, but not feel the need to spread a net across the torrent.
Like many of you out there, I find self-directed learning and engagement in the digital age exhilarating, enlightening, confounding, time-consuming, and tricky to navigate. I could spent all day, everyday, reading interesting essays, interpreting infographics, and watching YouTube videos laid out in front of me on my Twitter feed.
If we can be possessed by the things we own, we can also be possessed by the information we attempt to consume. The more online accounts we create, the more follows we amass on Twitter, the greater the burden. And it is a burden, especially when your job doesn’t pay you to curate information. I teach, and I desire to stay abreast of new developments and demonstrations of effective teaching and learning. But with the demands of lesson planning, grading papers, creating sub plans, calling parents, and maintaining a non-digital life, I don’t want to drown myself in information.
How do you curate information on the internet? Are you a Twitter user? What do you see as its strengths and weaknesses as a tool? Besides Twitter, what have you found to be useful websites or tools to manage information flow?