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« Socialbots 2: Artificial Intelligence, Social Intelligence and Twitter | Main | The Multidimensional Role of Social Media in Health Care »


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So it's not just me.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora, Google+...really? And more?

I started losing faith when I noticed how many people shared a certain study without reading it closely. They liked the headline so they tweeted it and re-tweeted it, possibly without reading the full story (based on the speed of some of the RTs). This turned out to be dangerous, because the reporters who wrote the story didn't examine the study as closely as they should have, either.

I quieted down on Twitter after that. I read just as much, but I'm sharing less. And my favorite list on Twitter (it's private) is one I call "Quiet Types" - people who tweet less than 3x per week! They make it count.

Joe McCarthy

Susannah: I, too, have grown weary and wary of sensational-sounding retweeted headlines, and have forsworn retweeting anything I have not read in its entirety.

Your Twitter account exhibits one of the highest signal-to-noise ratios of anyone I follow on Twitter, and I appreciate the careful curation you practice in what you share there (via @SusannahFox), on the blog, your Pew Internet research on health information and anywhere else I encounter your signals.

In my own response to filter failure on Twitter, I have unfollowed nearly everyone who posts more than 5-6 tweets per day, and added interesting people with less discretion to a "too much signal" list. I am also trying to limit the total number of people I follow to 99; having to unfollow someone in order to follow someone new leads me to be much more careful in my following behavior.


Kia ora Joe,
Interesting thoughts as always. I still enjoy having a place like my blog, but have slowed way down on posting there, for a few personal reasons, and also making the decision to keep a few mountain experiences just for myself. I like the community that has developed there, and have now met 4 or 5 fellow bloggers met through that medium, which has only reinforced the solidity of those connections. And so I find that I don't have to post there with any sort of regularity, quality being better than quanity, and the people who enjoy reading and looking there will pop in from time to time just as I do with their places - yours included. What I do not like about Facebook is the constant push forward, to go back and find things you posted a month prior, or even a few weeks prior is a real mission, I find that very disturbing. And though I enjoy it for things like sharing music or a few photos, I am slowing down there as well. I have never 'Twitted". I have had an interesting communication going with a great friend of mine who now lives in Korea. He writes letters, and refuses, except for the odd email to even consider Facebook, twitter, and though he reads my blog he will not comment there. So he is the only remaining person in the world I write letters to. I must write that there is a certain intimacy and timelessness I enjoy greatly. Like starting a letter one week, and not finishing for a few more, and the thoughts that appear would never make it to Facebook or online. Like we are losing the notion of real contemplation in what we are communicating because of this need for instant posting and response. Just a few thoughts anyway. Hope all is well with you and your family Joe. Kia kaha e hoa.

Joe McCarthy

Robb: I'm glad to read from you again - and to see a few new posts on your Musings from Aotearoa blog, after your 3-month period of forgoing online sharing (through that medium).

I do think the expected ephemerality of Facebook and Twitter updates may encourage quantity over quality (or depth) of posts for some users. I have not been able - or willing - to embrace the unbearable lightness of tweeting that some have mastered.

I can't remember the last time I handwrote a letter, but that is certainly a medium that imposes restrictions on the number of signals one can emit. I like to think I achieve a similar level of contemplation in composing at least some of my posts here, but despite writing periodically about wholeheartedness and vulnerability, I know my blog posts fall far short of the level of intimacy that characterizes most of the letters I [used to] write.


Nice, Joe, especially that "And there isn't one" line.

I'm not thrilled with a mass of shallow tweets from anyone, valuing the infrequent more than frequent faces that stream by, and meaningful content.

By comparison my blog feels like an out of the way hut, lost in the mountains. I've never followed the rules very well that suggest we can learn about anything important via a few quick bullet points and less than 300 words -- or, worse, 140 characters. RTs point to my posts occasionally, but I miss the longer, often reciprocal messages, the dialogue of comments that said, "I'm personally engaged with these ideas and with you as a person." I like the irony of David Sanders' (@intmf) frequent tweet: "We're connected, but are we connecting?"


And, of course, I'm tweeting this post.

Joe McCarthy

Dan: any prose or poetry exploring self or Self reminds me of you, so I'm glad the passage by Wei Wu Wei resonates with you. Your blog does, indeed, seem like a virtual "out of the way mountain hut". I only visit your blog when I am willing and able to consciously make the virtual travel time required to read and reflect ... and, often, respond.

Interestingly - but not surprisingly - Robb (another friend who commented earlier) has a blog that also represents a virtual "out of the way mountain hut" ... and his individual posts often include prosaic, poetic and photographic references to - and reflections about - his physical journeys to real mountain huts in the Ruahine range of New Zealand.

I have not encountered David Sanders before, but his tweet resonates with me ... and aligns well with a sentiment expressed by Sherry Turkle in her book, Alone Together:

"We may be free to work from anywhere, but we are also prone to being lonely everywhere. In a surprising twist, relentless connection leads to a new solitude."

Oh, and thanks for the tweet. I had been thinking that this was another example of a series of posts I've written that could be implicitly subtitled "blog posts that no one will ever tweet about", but I guess I was wrong in this case.

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