This morning, I ran across this blog post: “I only follow 88 people on Twitter.” In it, the author explains why he only follows 88 people, how he came to the number, and the benefits of doing so.
Essentially: the more people you follow, the fewer of any of them you’ll see.
Limits enable value choices and the power of curation. If you could pick up everything in the grocery store, there would be a lot of junk in the midst of the good stuff. Imposing limits on yourself is an exercise in self-discipline that lets you express your values (what’s important) and keep the junk out of your life.
However, at the same time, it’s important within the scope of the limits to have some diversity. If everyone you listen to is just like you, you’ll never be challenged and grow.
I’ve been consistently trying different approaches to Twitter. I’ve followed lots of people, and I’ve followed very few. I can say that the fewer I follow, the better the return for my time. I use lists to keep track of people I don’t follow on a daily basis, around certain topics.
I’m not into social media for the sporadic dopamine hit of mining through a lot of dirt to find diamonds; I want my social media to be more valuable than that. By reducing the number of people I follow, I actually increase my chances of finding items that I’m going to star/like, and that might eventually flow into my research or into the Weekly Roundup.
Try it: cut 10 people from your follow list. Or, go for the gusto, and try reducing your follow list by 10%. Or, a big milestone: cut it to 150 (I’m not there yet, but that’s Dunbar’s Number).
How would you make those choices, and would the value you get from social media increase?