The Twitter Experiment
I’ve never been much of a Twitter user. Despite being on the platform for a few years now, I don’t tweet much. In the past, I’ve played the role of the “lurker” or “curator” instead, mostly using Twitter as a means of sharing links and collecting interesting ideas from others.
Over the past 30 days, I ran an experiment that involved changing this. In this post, I’ll review the experience by breaking down what I liked and didn’t like about engaging with Twitter more actively.
In short, I challenged myself to tweet at least 3 original things a day. I gave myself a few allowances, but for the most part, I stuck to this requirement. This seems simple enough. Lots of people out there do this every day (often a little too much) without thinking twice, but I wanted to start small and see where it went.
I decided to do this experiment in the first place for a few reasons. Primarily, I wanted to share more short-form ideas. For context, I take daily notes of anything that stands out to me. This could be a book that I want to check out, a quote that I liked, an idea for a project, or just something anecdotal that made me think twice.
Instead of keeping all of these notes to myself in Evernote, I figured I would put some of them out into the world and see what happened.
There was a lot of good that came out of the experiment. I’ll outline a few of the major points below.
There are tons of smart people and ideas
More time on Twitter meant that I found myself scrolling through the feed more often. I noticed a lot more interesting and useful content than I remembered seeing in the past. This was likely due to effort on my part to reevaluate who I followed, but I definitely saw benefits there. A lot of people go to Twitter instead of Medium, YouTube, Reddit, or wherever you go seeking out interesting ideas on the internet. So, it’s worth some of your time.
It’s easy to broadcast ideas
There’s arguably no better platform for sharing short-form ideas. It’s incredibly easy to broadcast whatever comes to your mind (sometimes too easy). The implementation of threads for longer stuff and TweetDeck for scheduling tweets are pretty great as well. These were a big factor for me, and Twitter didn’t disappoint when it came to instrumentation.
Here are the things that I didn’t like as much, and ideally would like to combat moving forward.
The usual social media time sink
Like any feed-based social media, Twitter lures you in and feeds on your time and headspace. By the end of the month, it had become my leading excuse for frequent phone pick-ups. I tried to use TweetDeck to combat this, and it helped a little, but the feed won out in the end.
Filter bubbles are dangerous
Another common social media predicament: the filter bubble. Part of the way through the experiment, I realized that I followed a lot of similar people. Mostly in tech, mostly male, mostly technical thinkers. Needless to say, this is super dangerous. I did my best to handle this by weeding through my following list and trying to diversify my bubble, but it’s still far from ideal.
The experiment is over. I’ve decided to continue with the habit of engaging with Twitter for the time being, with an eye on the bad stuff that I mentioned. That means more TweetDeck and less feed-time.
All things considered, this experiment really opened my eyes to some things. That’s really the point of these 30-day challenges, experiments, or whatever you want to call them. You should learn something. You should develop a new habit. It should make you think a little bit differently. That’s what makes it worthwhile.