Twitter is my leading content discovery tool. I typically follow a very small set of people on my main timeline, and like to keep my feed as noise-free as possible. The reasons I follow someone are varied: maybe I like what they are saying, I value their opinion, or I share the same reservations they do. I think I like the fact that Twitter has always allowed me to choose how I experience it.
People publish content through many mediums online. I like when people are succinct and make their point through as few tweets as possible. As an example, egalitarianism is a subject I care about very deeply. If you care about it, I would probably agree with you in a real conversation. I might even follow you on Twitter. As long as it does no harm to the quality of my feed. When there is a high frequency of posts with the same views about the same subject, it hurts my experience of gaining valuable information. Even if these are views I actually agree with, the fact that it causes delays in scrolling because of redundant content will cause me to unfollow that person. I also like that Twitter does not enforce that you follow someone who follows you.
At the same time, there are people who I respect for their opinions on very specific subjects. In my main timeline, there is no room for them because they appear innately noisy. These include designers, journalists, evangelists, and just about anyone whose opinion I might consider important through very specific events where I consider them subject experts. All the Twitter clients I use allow me to use lists as alternate timelines. I follow them through one of my many lists:
If there are events where I do not want spoilers, I try to filter my feed by muting tweets with certain keywords:
If someone posts something I find controversial, that I agree or disagree with, I like to see if and how their followers responded to them:
If I want to ask someone a question that might seem ridiculous, offend someone else or feel too personal, I use Direct Messages or email.
Favorites are Tweets I can get to easily in the future. I do revisit them to ask: “Is this still cool?” or “Does this still matter to me?” to see if they can still remain in that section.
In general, I like to follow people for constructive pieces of information and unfollow those who talk about subjects without sufficient knowledge about them. I might follow someone for their thoughts on a specific business, but end up unfollowing them when I read baseless and unwarranted criticism against a competitor. I care about technology enough to have a clear picture from all sides. Knowing that the people I follow might influence my opinion very easily, I try to weed out those who like to think that the path they follow is the only one that should exist. It is very easy for one to predict when a harsh generalization is actually a single person’s opinion. When evident, it is unacceptable for them to be on my feed. Having an opinion is also very different from projecting it in a hateful tone.