Alexander Zeitler

Alexander Zeitler

Push vs. Pull - regaining control over time

Published on Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Photo by Patryk Grądys on Unsplash

A few weeks ago I had my tenth Twitter anniversary. But I didn't feel happy about it - quite the opposite.

At that time I was oscillating between leaving Twitter completely one day and following even more people because of their great Tweets the other day.

I started thinking about what I was expecting from Twitter and what was holding me back to get this. To me, the problem was: many people post several Tweets you're deeply interested in and you start following them. But then they're also posting a lot of stuff you're not interested in. Some folks argue that you "buy" the whole person and not just the part you're interested in - but at some amount of people you're following, this won't scale.

So I started an experiment: besides using Lists, I created search definitions using Hashtags and keywords in the Twitter Advanced Search and bookmarked these searches. I also muted a lot of keywords I don't want to read about (this is just distracting noise, let's be honest).

After that a - at that this point in time - crazy idea popped up in my mind: What if I would unfollow everybody? Shouldn't the tweets from the search lead me back to most of the people I followed anyway? Indeed, that's what happened. But now I also read Tweets from many people I had not seen before on Twitter. It's sort of that feeling when you find some awesome stuff on GitHub from people you never heard of.

But I was still unsure.

In the end I did it, because I read this Tweet by the end of 2018:

No I was in a rush. I also decided to invest the time saved into reading more Blogs again. So I cleaned up my blog roll and added blogs from people I found using the Twitter Search.

After a while I discovered this pattern: Find people by Search via Hashtags and keywords, subscribe to their blogs and dive deep into topics again - not just bite size fragments and endless discussions on Twitter.

Now that I'm deciding what to search for and when, Twitter has become much less time consuming as there's a plan what to do - and not browsing around just for fun.

Having identified inefficient Twitter usage as a time hog I was thinking about where this was happening outside Twitter and I started questioning using my iPhone for anything else than taking Phone calls - weird.

To cut a long story short - this is my iPhone home screen as of today (as you can see it works for more than ten days already):

My second iPhone screen just contains rarely used stuff or Apps I can't delete anyway.

Besides phone calls, text messages and meeting reminders, there's nothing installed which causes distraction - not even email. If it is really important, people will call anyway - anything else can wait until I'm using a Notebook which is way more efficient for doing work than a small phone screen.

And of course, less push, more pull. You're back in control - not others.

P.S.: Norbert started unfollowing everyone on Twitter today as well, so read his post as well (in german language)

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