Twitter's 300: How To Avoid Distraction


Twitter is free from peer-pressure. Unless you're one of the privileged few whose following lists are subject to analysis, no one cares who you follow. A month ago, I deleted Twitter because I just couldn't keep up with the 300 or so people I was following. As with the battle of Thermopylae, 300 is more than it seems.

300, including respectable magazines and newspapers in the dusk of their relevance, desperately re-posting links and neon-sign images.

300, including organizations tweeting events and campaigns, press releases and damage control, statistics I can't do anything about and petitions that will come to nothing.

300, including a President of the United States who repels you and transfixes you in your seat with his repulsiveness as you watch with horrified satisfaction the tragedy porn that is the unraveling of the state of a union.

300, including titans and deplorables, newsmen and fake-news, and every single voice I want to agree with or rebut, with either unqualified approbation or knowing derision, on brand, it comes with the box, I'll have fries with that, thank you.


To escape the 300 and their depredations, you need a rule. Enforce this rule with good sense and you will curate a Twitter feed you can sift through every morning with an understanding of what you're sifting through.

Follow people, not organizations. I love Vox. But I can't follow them. I don't want to hear about how Taylor Swift's new song unveils a new persona, or how old images are colorized. Or rather, I don't want to know about it as the articles come out. I don't want to keep up, except with the stuff I want to keep up with. So, instead, I follow Ezra Klein, their editor-at-large, and the host of some of my favorite podcasts who will retweet anything particularly noteworthy, along with his own observations about Vox's publications. When possible, follow journalists, not newspapers. Follow people, not organizations.