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…

Reading Workflow

I never had a Amazon Kindle, either I read books with a physical copy or I just used my iPad with the Apple Books app. This worked great for years but lately I’ve found myself being distracted more by life and reading has become difficult on the iPad. There are so many distractions with notifications, alerts and tweets that concentration becomes difficult. I’ve noticed that I listen to books more than read them, not because I have a long commute, but that when you listen to a book, you’re not looking at anything.

I’ve wanted to get back into reading because I find it very therapeutic and I finally bit the bullet and bought an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. I looked at a Kobo but the Paperwhite 2018 was just so compelling. Since this is my first Kindle, I was taken back a bit by the E-ink technology given I was used to the high fidelity iPad displays but after reading books for a couple minutes, it was clear that my eyes preferred the E-ink to Apple’s True Tone displays. As this Kindle is my first one, I can’t compare it to the previous devices but it feels high quality and given I paid only $100 for it on sale, it feels like a steal.

So after the past 2 weeks of reading with the Kindle, what have I noticed?

  • I read much more than before and for much longer. I don’t get distracted.
  • The Kindle Store is so slick, buying a book is so easy and smooth that I dare call it enjoyable.
  • I can use the Libby app to check out books at my local bookstore. I find myself using the library much more than I did before.
  • Selection is so much better than Apple’s book store. I no longer have to compromise what I read because of Apple’s lack of focus.

I feel so late to this party but I’m OK with that. I’m always nervous about Amazon’s ecosystem knowing more about me but so far it feels good. Libby is working great for me so using the Tempe Library seems to be my biggest use so far. 2019 seems to be where reading gets back on top of my todo list.