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I killed my Twitter account

The third time giving Twitter an honest go didn't seem to be the charm. So I deleted my account and discarded my bookmark this morning.

You have my permission to do so as well, guilt free.

Basically Twitter just came down to too much noise; too little value. Yes, there were nuggets of information, but sorting through the "I had Raisin Bran for breakfast" and "Boy, is it humid!" and "I just posted on my blog" tweets to find them just wasn't worth it. My requests for information went unanswered. I did find a disturbing sort of pleasure in whacking people who posted inane comments by "unfollowing' them. I'll miss that.

My time spent Twittering I will now spend on reading books. Or watching movie previews on Hulu.

Now on my list of "stuff I just don't do:

  1. Texting
  2. Tweeting
  3. Chatting
  4. Shopping Cragislist
  5. Selling on E-Bay
  6. Podcasting

But Facebook is sort of growing on me...

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Reader Comments (23)

Oh, good. I might too. Of course, I'm only following you and like three other people. (See, I don't even know). So it's not likely to cause much consternation.

Interesting point about Facebk. I don't do it myself but I think it's funny how so many edtch folks are so evangelical about Twitter but if you look at the mainstream community of teachers, there are many more of them on Facebook and that seems to be more of an "in" in terms of a gateway edtech tool.

August 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterteacherninja

Oh, you made me feel so much better! I keep trying to grasp Twitter but I just don't get it. Maybe if I were a teenager with a great crush on someone or a sports fanatic it might be different but I just don't have time to keep my cell phone on and post blow by blow comments. I must admit I like Facebook (other than those mindless virtal plans and the inane quizzes)
and I do sell on E-bay (second job). Podcasts leave me cold too.

I will quote you when our library director exhalts Twitter!

August 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGuusje

If Twitter was too much noise and not enough value, you have only yourself to blame. Since each user chooses who/which terms to follow - or more importantly, who not to follow - the content of your Twitter stream is entirely dependent on you. Likewise, responses to your tweets depend largely on your engagement with others; if you don't both to help others' with their quests for info, why should they bother to assist you.

I, for one, love all of the great resources and active community on Twitter, and it is especially useful as a search engine. Do all of my Tweeted questions get answered? No, but often I will get suggestions as to where I can get my question answered. Most importantly, I've connected with people - whom I would have never met if not for Twitter - that I can contact outside of Twitter for more in-depth inquiries.

I don't disdain your not using Twitter any longer, only your reasoning for doing so (and even then, to each his own). At least you'll be spending your new-found time reading or watching Hulu, both worthy "time-wasters".

August 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCaitlin

I think with all the tools available to writers and to those who would follow writers, that we each do have to choose a tool or two and stick with it. Trying out the new ones as they become available and prove popular is not a waste of time; however, as the times change we change along with them. Using all available tools to broadcast your message is not a time saver, it’s a time waster.

Twitter is not my favorite either, although I do end up reading lots of Tweets via Facebook (a format I loudly made fun of as a time-waster until my dad got on and connected with my large extended family across the I'm hooked too.) It works well for me to use FB for family and friends and blogging or websites or other venues for my professional work as a school librarian. When the two meet, there is often trouble-- I agree with the jist of the paper you posted on Aug 7 (Guidelines for Educators Using Social Networking Sites).

August 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMyLibraryLady

Didn't you say you wouldn't follow people who posted about the mundane? I chat as part of my online job, but other than that I've killed most things. I *hate* Facebook, mostly because of the inane "friends" who kept inviting me to participate in stupid things. I don't have a cell phone, so I forget that Twitter exists, but I do find it moderately interesting, mostly because of who I follow--a few colleagues from my online job; scientists; psychologists; a few actors; a few authors; a few government twitter feeds including USGS; and a few Colorado twitter feeds. I'm not-slavishly-following 88 interesting feeds, so when I *do* log in, I'm happy.

August 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJude not Hey Jude

It took me a couple of years to figure out why I would want Twitter but now I consider it pretty much essential. It all has to do with who you're following. When I started I followed practically anybody, to the point that I had 500+ in my stream.

When I cut that back under 100 - and stopped feeling guilty about unfollowing anyone who wasn't interesting - Twitter turned into a big part of my PLN.

As to Facebook, I'm still working on how that fits in. Maybe someday.

August 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTim

I’m sorry to hear that, Mr. Johnson. I, too, was skeptical about Twitter for a while after I began using it. It took me a while to figure out which “voices” were the ones to which I wanted to listen. Once I figured out who they were, I went to their pages to figure out who they were following, which was perhaps part of the inspiration for what they were saying. After that revelation, I can’t get enough!

At this point I’m trying to talk myself into contributing rather than lurking. It is my opinion that this is where your problem with twitter lies. Perhaps you were looking for inspiration. We’re all looking to your for ours. I’ve “followed” you for thirteen years but it was harder to find you. An article in SLJ here, a blog post there. Twitter is more about instant gratification. I know what is on Joyce Valenza’s mind, almost as soon as she’s thinking it! And because of Twitter, I’ve found so many other great school librarians that are doing fabulous, groundbreaking work with kids. The greatest thing is they want to share and they are so encouraging when I share or ask a question. I no longer feel the isolation when I began working as a the only librarian in a rural school district. Oh, I wish I would have had Twitter then!

I know that the tweets about what’s for dinner and what the dog is doing are tedious for some. For me, it gives me a picture of the person behind those voices -- Well, now I really like her because she’s a librarian and she cans jalapenos too! Yes, it’s useless information (sometimes TMI!) but there’s a downside to everything.

I will still follow you. When you find a great resource or a have a profound thought, I will hear about it once you’ve put it in a blog post or write an article. When you attend a conference, perhaps you’ll include that in a post once you get then time to write about it at length. I have a great respect all of the trailblazing work that you’ve done in the school library and ed tech fields and I will still follow you.

August 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjyokley

I hope you will reconsider Doug! You did contribute some great things! Were you following too many people? Just because one follows you, doesn't automatically mean you should automatically follow them. Every person I follow is looked at for educational value - a sporadic "cheeseburger for dinner" is ok, but should not be the main topic of their tweets. I am also not in favor of the constant "re-tweeters" as I am looking for unique information.

I can not tell you the numerous learning opportunities have been delivered to me via Twitter. Please dont leave us...Maybe third time will be the charm?

August 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJen Hegna

Criminy! Now I can't quit until a reasonable period of time passes so I don't look like your lap dog.


August 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Doyle

I shared this on Twitter for you through the share button towards the end of the post. :)

August 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermrpotter

Sad to hear. There was a time early on that I too didn't see the point but it is part of the learning curb. Perhaps, you weren't using it as an educational resource. I only follow colleagues, professors and people who generally have something to contribute. I learn an incredible amount through Twitter and it is quickly replacing my RSS feeds and it is an important part of my PLN.

August 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMark Marshall

Another thing--it was fascinating to follow the Twitter posts on Andrew Sullivan's blog, The Daily Dish, about the protests in Iran after the recent election. I didn't subscribe to any of those Twitter feeds, although I did subscribe to a Flickr photographer. As Andrew put it: "Mock not. As the regime shut down other forms of communication, Twitter survived. With some remarkable results. Those rooftop chants that were becoming deafening in Tehran? A few hours ago, this concept of resistance was spread by a twitter message."

August 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJude not Hey Jude

I mean, I subscribed to an Iranian Flickr Photographer:

August 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJude not Hey Jude

FB hss become my habit of choice...working in an isolated situation, it has afforded me a chance for "teacher lounge" encounters with friends and has brought a couple of friendships out of the depths of time and distance issues. We can be friends online and still keep up with all our responsibilities. I also am better able to keep up with my grown children as well.

I haven't been on Twitter long enough to even understand it so the jury is still out on it. I do not indulge in the same banter as I do on FB; I am attempting to follow only professional resources. We will see how it goes.

As for texting, I hardly used my phone until I started texting. So it remains an increasing valuable communication tool for me...simply because I can leave a text or read a text on my own schedule.

Thanks for sharing the good, the bad, and the useless with us...and I for one have been very glad you chose to take up the blogging habit 4 years ago! It has been a regular bright spot in my online routine.

August 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVWB

Of course, those who know how to use Twitter worked out long ago how to filter out the noise, and how to build a truly useful community around a subject of mutual interest (in my case, education & technology, naturally, although, like any strong community, it ranges far beyond those core subjects), and how to enable a 'gateway' that permits your community to grow in a controlled fashion.

I do find it odd that so many people feel the need to tell us of their disdain for, or their discarding of, Twitter.

August 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Connell

I use twitter on my library site as an instant update for my teenagers. My "personal" twitter site is not very impressive but it is nice for the kids for instant communication. The parents can also "follow" to see what's going on at our library.

August 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJune

Hi Doug,

I've just joined the Twitter bandwagon. Like you, I enjoy Facebook a great deal, but I've found that Twitter allows me an opportunity to network with other people who are interested in ed tech. I have always had it in my mind that Twitter and Facebook are either/or situations but, as it turns out, it is nice to have both of them so I can have FB for friends/family and Twitter for professional colleagues. Like previous posters said, it helps to weed out the folks you follow so you can focus your information; however, I'm certainly not trying to change your mind because what works for one doesn't work for all.

There is definitely such a thing as too much information.


August 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAngie Wassenmiller

Don't blame Twitter for "too much noise." It's all in who you're following. I screen before I click on "follow." That separates the proverbial wheat from the chaff and leaves me with gettng Tweets that are use. If someone starts relating what they have for dinner, they get dropped. On the other hand, I find my Facebook friends' postings to be too inane. I'm thinking of droping FB.

August 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Thompson

Hi Ninja,

I am amazed at the need I feel to justify dropping Twitter. Almost sacrilegious!

Facebook for me is for friends and family only - I've never tried to turn it into a professional education tool. I guess that's why I'm enjoying it more.

All the best,


Hi Guusje,

You strike me as someone with enough smarts to determine whether any resources suits you or not. Don't let anybody tell you different!


Hi Caitlin,

Oh, I certainly am not faulting Twitter for my failure to find value in it. And I agree that we all have enough time-wasters not to point fingers at others!

All the best and thanks for the comment,


Hi MyLibraryLady,

No issues with trying out new things - we should indeed be doing that. What I am suggesting is that we also need to know when to cut our losses and drop something that isn't working for us.

BTW, my kids got me into Facebook!

All the best,


HI Jude,

Since Facebook for me has only been for friends and family, not a professional networking too, I've been more tolerant of the "mundane" in that app, I guess.

All the best,


Hi Tim,

You've obviously made Twitter work well for you.

Viva la difference, I guess is all I can say!

All the best,


Hi Jen,

Thanks for the encouragement, but this WAS the third time for me. I think I'll just give Twitter a rest for awhile. The Blue Skunk will still report any real "finds" I come across.

All the best,



I think that's 3 days.


HI Jude,

I saw the use of Twitter in Iran as "communication of the last resort," since, as you said, other means of communication were blocked.

If I decide to foment a coup, I may reconsider reestablishing my Twitter account.


Thanks, VWB,

I recognize that all social networking sites provide a means of connecting with others, especially for those who may be physically isolated. I hope Twitter proves to be a great resource for you!

I suspect I would text were I not "all thumbs." Or let me rephrase that...

All the best,


Hi John,

And I find equally strange the vehemence of Twitter's defenders. How did this become an emotional issue rather than an educational one?

All the best,


Hi June,

The rise of institutions using Twitter to send out updates is very interesting. Our district will be using it to send out announcements this fall. You raised a good point.


August 11, 2009 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

A reply from John (with permission to post):

Hi Doug,

I genuinely don't think it is an emotional issue, but neither do I think it is an educational one, really (if you mean, in the sense of, important to education?). It is simply a matter of setting things up so that the tool can be practical and useful, while minimising the useless and the inane.

I got to a point maybe a year or so ago where I was about to drop Twitter. I could see the stream of inanities; I was less than enamoured of the growing number of celebrities starting to pile in; I could already see the increase in those who believe (wrongly in my opinion) that Twitter is a marketeer's dream; and even the bots were beginning to show face. Like many, I just did not get it.

Then the Tweetdeck client appeared. Almost immediately, that changed everything. I could set up a group consisting of only those whose words I was immediately interested in (now numbering around 140 people, growing slowly, with an occasional person discarded), I continued to use some discretion in deciding who to follow, who not to follow, and who to block (I block every bot, most marketeers, and anyone who uses Twitter merely to aggravate for whatever reasons).

Where I am now, and have been for most of the past year, I'd guess, is that I have a controllable group of 'friends' (and I do 'know' most of them, whether physically, virtually or both) who share one or more of my interests. It is a group that tends to comprise a fairly complex intersecting Venn diagram, it is largely an amicable group who are willing to share ideas, to help when asked for support, to ask for help when they need it too - and the interaction of this group has become a genuinely interesting and supportive 'community-with-a-small-c'. A large subset of them comprise a group of web-2-ish educators based in Scotland or in the wider Uk, but that group is supplemented effectively by a wider, global group who interact also with these same people.

As happens when you are amongst friends in the 'real' world, the useful, important stuff that passes by is mixed with some fun, a few inanities, the occasional argument (which I like) and so on. But, all in all, Twitter really doesn serve a purpose for me, and I don't have to be an 'all-day-every-day' user for it to be useful. I log in perhaps 3 or 4 times a day, when I can, sometimes more often, sometimes hardly at all for days at a time - but because I have that 'key friends' group in Tweetdeck, I can be fairly sure that, whenever I do log in, there will be something going on that is useful - a conversation, some pointers to useful 'stuff', an argument, whatever.

Maybe there's a post here, Doug - what do you think? :-)


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August 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

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