“words—
lonely written words—are all you’ve got”

—Virginia Shea

“communication happens when I know you know what I know”

—Me

Rabble Rabble Rabble!

For everyone who’s on Twitter these days promoting fairness, equality and the betterment of mankind through selflessness—good for you! Bless your hearts! Keep up the good fight.

But if all you’re doing is retweeting, sharing or posting links to someone else keeping up the good fight, I’m going to severely filter you and eventually I’ll probably stop following you. Sadly, I may miss something from you I really wanted to hear.

Woah! What what’s with the snippy attitude, dude?

Without filtering, my Twitter timeline sounds like this South Park clip:

That noise isn’t coming from the businesses, celebrities or organizations I’m following. It’s coming from you, the people I follow! I know most of you personally, but the signal to noise ratio is getting really out-of-hand.

Here’s why I followed you on Twitter:

  • I thought what you had to say would be interesting.
  • To keep in touch with you and tune in to what’s happening in your life.
  • We have things and ideas in common (or maybe not and that’s what I find interesting).

This isn’t why I followed you:

  • To hear your political opinions over and over and Over and OVER and OVARH and OOOOOOOVER.
  • I want you to be my personal RSS feed to random stuff.
  • For you to share outrageous, incendiary or id-stimulating speech over and over and Over and OVER and OVARH and OOOOOOOVER.
  • To receive a company’s marketing spam so you could win a prize.
  • To read your blog post in my Twitter feed. (Just write it out and link to it, OK?)

Before I stop following you, I’ll filter you. Thank gawd for Tweetbot and its ability to weed out crap. This is what I call “crap”:

  • You’re retweeting someone else without adding your own comments.
  • You’re retweeting others frequently.
  • You’re linking to news articles and blog posts on major websites or tweeting through them.
  • You’re auto-tweeting from another app or service because you did an insignificant thing.

I’m tired of the noise. Here’s how I’m filtering.

First, if you retweet too often without adding your own two cents, I’ll right-click your name at the bottom of the tweet and simply Disable Retweets. Your retweets. All of them.

disable retweets

If you’re repetitively posting random stuff, you’re probably being consistent with how you do it. Good for me. I’ll use a keyword filter.

Repetitive tweets

untpd.com

Tweetbot also supports regular expressions. This filters any article where the headline is in curly quotes followed by a space and then a link (not foolproof but gets the job done).

Regex filter

Amazingly, this reduces my timeline by dozens of tweets each day. It’s manageable. I can keep up and my eyes don’t hurt from rolling so much.

So, I have two requests, dear tweeters-whom-I-follow.

Be more cognizant of the noise you’re producing and do less of it. Be meaningful with what you want to tell me or want me to see. I’m interested in you and your thoughts. Otherwise, I’d follow all those other people or sites. If you don’t talk much, then fine. I’m good with that. I’ll pay more attention when you do.

Or, just keep what you’re doing and keep doing it consistently. Keep your noise on the same sine wave and I’ll just apply my noise-canceling headphones.

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