Choosing who I follow on Twitter

Twitter bird cartoon by Hugh MacLeod

Since being listed as an “interesting Aussie Twitter user” at the other night, I’ve gained 300-ish new followers. Here’s how I’ve been deciding who to follow back.

First, though, I don’t think Twitter starts to make sense unless you have a reasonable number of people in your network. For me, the penny dropped when I had about 50 followers and followees, and you actually interact with them. At that point I started to see the live communication rippling through the hyperconnected mob. It helped that I already knew some well-connected geeks to get the ball rolling.

Once you hit hundreds of followers, though, there’s a phase shift. You simply can’t see everything that happens. It scrolls by too fast. At first that’s stressful — until you realise there’s always more in the world than you can ever experience. So another penny drops, and you detach. Zen. The Twitter-river flows on 24/7, but you don’t stop to watch every fish.

I use Tweetdeck most of the time, not Twitter’s standard web interface, because I can create groups of people. The unfiltered Twitterstream rolls by on the left of my screen, with separate groups for close friends, for media contacts I need to keep an eye on, direct messages and so on. Another panel shows everyone who replies to me or mentions me. So while I can’t see everything on the main stream, just mentioning me will grab my attention.

(I daresay it changes again when you’re like Stephen Fry with more than 88,000 followers. [Update 5 February 2009: It’s now more than 122,000.] May the gods forbid I reach that level of fame! He wouldn’t even be able to monitor all his @replies and DMs!)

So, how do I choose who to follow? Here’s what I’ve noticed today.

Continue reading “Choosing who I follow on Twitter”

Honesty is the best policy

Scan of newspaper page, text in article

“I supposed at least he was honest,” said Duncan Riley when he passed on this story (pictured).

I’ll reproduce the text here so the search engines find it — which may or may not be a Good Thing. My website ends up in enough weird searches as it is.


A 38-year-old Cole Avenue man reported that his home was invaded on Sept. 9. The man said that he was sitting home alone masturbating and watching a pornographic movie when a man came down into the basement, holding a gun, and started to videotape him. The man said that before he left, the intruder fed his dog some mushrooms and the dog died.

The story is supposedly from The Beacon Journal, Sunday 21 September 2003. If it’s a fake, someone’s gone to a lot of trouble.

Now, is this the weirdest crime story you’ve heard recently? Please, links to even weirder ones!

OK, that’s set the tone for the day…