I came back to Twitter earlier than planned. 29 days felt long enough to be away. The people I follow are friends, peers, and mentors who I enjoy and I there was no good reason to be absent for another eleven days. However, while I was gone, I realized the platform and its features were the issue for me, not the people. I needed to make some changes before diving back into my timeline.
Twitter minimalism was the way for me to move forward.
The five steps for Twitter Minimalism
- Tweetbot & Tweetdeck – When I put Twitter back on my phone, I did so by purchasing Tweetbot. I wanted an experience outside of the Twitter default – no ads, no ICYMI, no what others like info. Just my feed, my activity, and accessibility to lists. Tweetdeck has always been my default when I am using a browser. It makes lists easily accessible and helps me control multiple accounts for work efficiently. Also, just like Tweetbot, no ads or other things Twitter thinks I need.
- Turn off all retweets – There was an excellent piece in the Atlantic that reminded us of a time before the retweet button. The author touches on how thought used to go into a retweet. You had to take additional steps. Then, Lifehacker made a script. Now, we have Blindfold to help us turn off the noise. The result of no retweets in my timeline is that it is 100% new content from people I follow. Quoted tweets still show, but at least with a quoted tweet, a person tends to explain why it is being retweeted. There is some thought behind the tweet or a prompt to trigger discussion. I am okay with this.
- Stop following brands – I unfollowed over two hundred accounts. I was ruthless. I unfollowed almost all brand/personality accounts. If someone was not following me back, I unfollowed. I am now down to around 300 accounts I follow. All people I enjoy seeing in my timeline.
- Utilize lists – The brands and people I still want to see updates from, but not in my main timeline were moved to lists. I created one for Blizzard. One for local. Another for Minimalism. I pop in every now and then when on mobile thanks to Tweetbot, while each list has their own column in Tweetdeck.
- No likes or retweets – Be the change you want to see in the world. If I don’t want to see retweets, I should not be sending them out. When it comes to something I want to share, I will create a new tweet. I try to limit my quoted retweets to a maximum of one a day. Further to this, I am not a fan of the “also liked” feature on Twitter, so I no longer like tweets. If I do enjoy a tweet enough, I will make sure to comment and tell the creator instead.
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I did not return to the same old feed. I altered almost everything I did on the platform. The results created a timeline which is calmer, quieter, and easier to follow. The limitations make me more deliberate in my usage and Twitter a much more enjoyable experience overall.