How to make your Twitter feed interesting (finally)?

The trick is to do the “big big big cleaning”. (Photo: Charles Deluvio for Unsplash)

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Q. – “I use Twitter as a news feed that keeps me up to date with important information in my field. At first, it was very interesting. But now, it’s nonsense: I have to scroll for hours before finding relevant information. Ever since Elon Musk came along, it seems worse to me. I’m tempted to permanently disconnect from Twitter, like so many people are doing these days…” – Harold

A. — Dear Harold, It’s true that the latest trend is to disconnect from Twitter, and announce it loud and clear on all other social media. Those who act thus protest against Elon Musk’s libertarian approach, which promotes “total” freedom of expression, with respect for law and justice, pluralism and the free exchange of ideas. They express their categorical refusal to participate in a “souk of ideas”, where one finds that everything is messed up, having been accustomed for a long time to “supermarkets of ideas”, where everything is presented with precision and rigor, in a perfect order, not to say Cartesian. I’ve been digging through acquaintances who have left Twitter in recent days. They confirmed to me their refusal to appear in the middle of a public square where all opinions, however deep or extreme, are freely shared. And they added two interesting things: “Anyway, I didn’t find anything interesting there” and “Anyway, I’m not really going there”.

In other words, as you mentioned, Harold, there is a serious problem with the quality of content on Twitter feeds, and that problem is enough to disgust people. And then, the situation is likely to worsen with the libertarian approach of the new owner.

What to do? It turns out that all these thoughts, I had them myself a few months ago, and then I was strongly tempted to “flush” Twitter. But I remembered my beginnings with this social media and the great help it had given me back then, in finding ideas for topics to cover for the newspaper Les Affaires. I thought for a long time, wondering how I could find the Twitter of those days. And guess what, I found the solution!

The trick is to do what I call a “big big big clean up”. It’s about purging all the “junk” from your Twitter account to keep only the bare necessities, which can be done in four steps.

1. Choose a domain

You indicate, Harold, that your use of Twitter is professional, that it is used to inform you in your field. Perfect. Now definitely define this area, and keep in mind in all the following steps that the absolute priority is this one area. For my part, I have two: work life and economy.

2. Purge your subscriptions

Go to the list of your subscriptions. Consider the first on the list by asking yourself the following four questions:

– Is this person a reference in the field I am interested in?

– Does he tweet almost every day of the week?

– Do I remember a tweet from this person?

– Did this tweet teach me something in my field?

If at least one of the answers is “no”, don’t hesitate for a moment: unsubscribe this person. Then move on to the next one, always asking yourself the same four questions.

Yes, the process is tedious because, you like me, we subscribe to anyone over time. We subscribe to aunties and uncles to keep them entertained, or pop stars and sports stars to find out what’s going on in their busy lives. Big mistake! Because of all these subscriptions, our Twitter feed is now overflowing with “nonsense”, meaning tweets that have nothing to do with the field we’re interested in.

Just so you know, Harold, so I went from over 3,000 subscriptions to about… 200. And I intend to start the operation again soon to get down to a hundred.

3. Purge your subscribers

How is that, you tell me, get rid of people who follow you? Yes, for a simple reason: your follower list is full of fake accounts. However, they show areas of interest that don’t match yours, and simply, it negatively affects the content that Twitter’s algorithms favor for you.

Therefore it was a question of removing all the fake Twitter accounts that followed me. And believe me, these fake accounts, there are a lot of them!

How to spot a fake account? This is not rocket science, because their creators never broke their heads:

– The account name is ridiculous: @Pauline99410703, @ziv82243859, etc.

– No picture of anyone

– Very small number of subscriptions

– Almost no subscribers

– Almost no activity

These clues can be seen at a glance. It only takes one to catch your eye to let you know it’s a fake account. Unsubscribe without hesitation.

In 2020, I had the pleasure of watching what was happening with one of the most popular accounts in the world, that of Donald Trump. Results? Only 10% of his followers are real people who are interested in his tweets. Almost 90% of those who follow him are fake accounts. Yes, you read that right: 90%.

And think that at that time the journalists enthusiastically followed his tweets, believing that each of them had a wonderful effect. They had no idea that the real sounding board for his tweets was them, who echoed through the traditional media his brief one-word message…

For your information, Harold, this operation may delete a large number of accounts that follow you. But no regrets, this is a fake account, so you will finally know your true impact.

4. Purge your Twitter feed

Now and every time you check your Twitter feed from now on, stop scrolling. As soon as you see a tweet or retweet that doesn’t match your domain, flush the person who made that tweet or retweet.

Be ruthless at this point. Don’t make exceptions. Flush, flush and flush again. Because it’s this strict practice that will allow your Twitter feed to never be polluted with “bullshit” again.

There you go, Harold. Take these four steps and you’ll find that within a day or two your Twitter feed will be a great workhorse again. As far as I’m concerned, the result is really impressive. I’m addicted to Twitter again, because I can only find relevant and unpublished information. It’s pretty simple, every tweet I read today could be the subject of a blog post for “Damn job!”. No more and no less.

In other words, start without delay the “big big clean”. And you will see a radical change, worthy of passing from night to day.

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