Revisiting Twitter Lists

Back in May I tore up my Twitter and put everything in neat lists. When all was said and done, I had 10 lists with everyone in a neat little bucket. It was beautiful, I could turn to any list and have that twitter hose just give me what I was looking for. But 6 months later I have immense regrets, but not for the reason I though there might be.

When I did this, my big fear was losing connections with people and topics. I moved all my college sports accounts into one list and then I noticed I wasn’t always up on top of the news because there wasn’t any cross-pollination. That is, I would swipe between lists but there were days sometimes where I didn’t review a list and I would miss important things. It was clear, segregation was a bad idea because I no longer had a feed that just rolled everything I was interested in. A weird thing happened during this experiment, my want to be free of the noise meant I wasn’t exposed to any noise. A quiet room is comforting until you realize you are not part of the conversation.

Now the big thing that got me thinking of a new direction was Coleman’s “bestof” list. This best of is perfect because I can bring the best people into a list and let it quickly keep be abreast of the topics I care about. Then I can of course still drop into my baseball or BIM lists if I feel like I need a deeper dive. So while I was traveling back to Spatial Networks HQ on the airplane I created my “what matters” list which basically does exactly what Coleman did. I still have my niche lists but now I have what I was missing and for all the reasons why Coleman liked it too.

But I also realized there was something else I was missing. I got my Twitter follow accounts down below 100. Initially I liked this, meant that I was only following those that I really felt mattered and the rest got put in lists based on their topics (or even in the “what matters” list). BUT, this basically broke a part of Twitter that I didn’t think I cared about. The part of twitter that forces you content was in a way something that I actually used from time to time to find new voices. By giving the beast nothing to churn on, it in turn gave me junk back. So I went head and followed 500 people and what do you know, things are back to normal. While I’m not using the main feed as my way to read Twitter, I can always go there or the “For You” section and see things that I might have missed.

In the end, the change was simple, new best of list and follow the people that matter back. I’ve enjoyed working with twitter again, and I still can limit any list I wish when I don’t want noise. I may unfollow some people, add some more but this seems to be the best compromise. I’m no longer bankrupt was I was with Twitter in May 2019, but I also am not on my own island. Time will tell if this was a good idea…

GIS for Math

There was great reflection over Thanksgiving at my house.

Well maybe that is hyperbole but I was asked how the heck did I get myself where I am today. I think I’ve told this story many times before on this blog, but one more time won’t hurt. I was working toward a degree in Economics when statistics classes his my schedule. I really took to these and started to try and take as many as I could before I graduated. One of these was given by the Geography Department at Arizona State University. The name of the course has been lost to time but I do recall they used SPSS which I despised. The kicker though was the TA for that class introduced me to Perl and that was the introduction to the freedom that open scripting tools can give you.

Maps have been something as a kid I loved, like you I read the atlas and the Thomas Brothers Guide, but math and statistics is what drew me to GIS. SPSS and Perl are no longer part of my toolset (thank god honestly) but the skills I learned back then still make calculations in GIS analysis much easier for me. Cartography is the tip of the iceberg with GIS, the math is what makes it sing. Don’t forget that.