I’ve been using Twitter for quite a while and my use of it has been evolving along the way. It remains one of my favourite destinations on the web (if not my most favourite).
The way people use technology is always fascinating, especially with the sudden rise in popularity of social networks the previous 5-10 years. This passionate interest has led me to where I am now: doing Masters research on how information overload affects users on social networks (specifically Twitter).
So. I suspect. Most people start using Twitter without resorting to using lists. There’s little incentive to categorize, when in the beginning the effort outweighs the benefits. That’s what I did.
At a point, it became too much and I thought I’d start putting people into lists. Based on the research I’ve read, this point is close to 150 . If you want, you can extend the results of that to research done by people like Robert Dunbar (although that’s a contentious point).
So. Currently, I have 3 main lists. Stellenbosch, SA Web People and Web. I have my own criteria for each, and it is pretty vague. These lists I actively check and for the most part (90% of the time), I don’t miss tweets. It’s enough to not be an issue.
It’s tough for me to unfollow people. I have what you might call internet-fomo. I’d rather sit through noise and possibly find a great tweet, than unfollow people. That threshold is different to each person. On the other hand, I have 1500 followers. This home feed ‘scrolls’ through, occasionally checking it now and again, but not actively. If miss updates, I miss it. I don’t bother. I mainly use Hootsuite (although it has irritated me) as my web client, to allow me to do this.
I have a problem though. My lists are getting bigger themselves… and the people in the lists aren’t tweeting quality content. I have started unfollowing people in these lists, and it is working in that regard. However, I’ve had an idea in the back of my head for quite a while now (a year or 2), that will make the consumption of Twitter easier once people start using lists.
Basically: Based on your followers, you specify a keyword and it builds a list of 150 people. You can then specify whether it should automatically update and change. Sort of like a dashboard of graph/list management for your Twitter. I’ve manage to profile users quite well, although it works only for people who are quite active. Still have to work on that.
But yes. It’s on my bucket list of projects-to-do. Eventually. I think necessity will lead me to it. I really do enjoy Twitter.
How do you use Twitter?
 - Validation of Dunbar’s Number in Twitter Conversations (http://arxiv.org/abs/1105.5170)
 - Social features of online networks: The strength of intermediary ties in online social media. (http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0029358)