Good piece from Mathew Ingram on how easy it is to be overwhelmed by the stream of Twitter:
It’s not that unfollowing people on Twitter is difficult — it’s just a click of a button. But first I would have to decide why I was unfollowing that person, and that would require thinking about why I followed them in the first place. I would have to look at their stream and reconsider their value, and I would have to do that 3,000 times. It’s like cleaning out the garage or indexing your photos; you know that you should do it, but it just seems so daunting that you never get around to it.
That helps explain my interest in tools that help you track who has unfollowed you, and others that show people you follow who aren’t very active…
For Twitter, one problem is that the company seems focused on adding millions of news users — and oceans of new content through deals with TV networks, etc. — rather than on making things easier for existing users, in part because building up its user base helps justify its multibillion-dollar market value. But if users ultimately just find themselves overwhelmed, that could be a Faustian bargain. The stream can be a harsh mistress.
I think this is right, and a reminder that one of the best services a news organization can provide to its audience is letting it know what it can safely ignore.