Why I Am Not Following You?

Recently I have reflected on who to follow on Twitter and what blogs to keep in my reader. I came up with following criteria and in no way mean to offend anyone. I was starting to feel overwhelmed with information overload and wanted to be more selective and therefore more productive. Here are some criteria that determine who I follow and what I read.

• I don’t like blog posts that are too long. This may seem negative and possibly lazy, but I prefer posts that are short on elaboration and get right to a topic or issue. For me personally, simplicity is key! I call this the American Idol theory…don’t take two hours to tell me a five second result.

• I will not follow people on Twitter if they ask me to. I find educators to follow based on conversations I have through chats or side conversations. I was actually at a conference where someone was repeatedly tweeting that they wanted to get to a certain number of tweets. For me this is not a popularity contest but a learning contest. Numbers are irrelevant to me but rather I focus on the quality of my connections.

• I don’t have time to follow any more or read any more. I love my wife and spending time with my sons. Little league will always trump reading more blog posts. What I like about Twitter and my Google Reader is that I control how much I read and take in. Everyone has different personal circumstances that dictate what they have time for. I know what works for me may not work for others and that’s ok.

• My brain is full. I constantly change who I follow and do unfollow people from time to time. I follow people and read blogs that I connect with on a professional and personal level. I also follow and read people that I disagree with to always challenge my thinking. I am looking for a wider perspective but not too wide…my brain can only handle so much.

• I will not follow you just because you follow me. This is not meant to be rude, but I choose who I follow based on who contributes to conversations I am involved in and who I learn with. While I appreciate followers, for me that is not what Twitter and blog following is about. This is not a homecoming court voting but a place for me to learn and grow as an educator. If I can do that following ten people then I will follow ten people.
I know there are great educators out there that I am not following and blogs I am not reading. With that being said, I have to draw that line somewhere. I am sure my PLN will grow, but for now I am being selective not as a way to be rude but as a way to not overwhelm myself and make the best of my connected learning.


PowersKy said...

great rationale.... thanks for the thoughtful reflections!

Ellen C. said...

And this is why I follow you.

Michael Graffin said...

I have to strongly agree with the sentiments in this post.

I've had to radically reduce my Google Reader subscriptions due to information overload. I now catch up with many blog posts via Twitter (including yours), and subscribe to a few by email.

On Twitter too, I'm selective about who I follow. I follow people who tweet & do things that I find interesting. I don't read everything, and I don't "list" everyone I follow. I'll dip into my Twitter feeds at night, and read the past few hours tweets - if I feel like it.

It is too easy to follow 1000s of people and try and read too many blogs. I know where / who to go to if I need information or resources - I don't have to try and keep up with it all myself. I used to try - and had no life. Now I try to have a life & engage with my PLN.

Thanks for writing a post which directly confronts what can be a sensitive issue.

Beth S. said...

I think you just articulated what most people have just kept inside. I'm pretty sure most people feel the same way you do - they just haven't said it out loud. :)

@boodles64 said...

Yeah, I buy all that. We all get to choose what we want to follow and what we don't. Like any other form of media (television, radio, newspapers), our interests and budgets (in this case, time!)determine what we consume. And, hey, my interests change. That's the glory of Twitter: I can easily follow and unfollow as I see fit!

Shauna Farrell said...

I also recognise the irony in telling my kids to go watch TV because I'm reading an education blog or writing a great lesson plan for someone else! Little league shoud ALWAYS win out!

Mrs Ripp aka 4thGrdTeach said...

Absolutely right on the money. In fact, you brought up this up at Edcamp Chicago as well which has caused me to "clean" up in my followers. I really want to follow people I connect with on some sort of level, whether it is through conversations, comments, or just because they challenge or inspire me. No harm meant ever, but there is no point in me following 800 people when in real life I have maybe 10 friends. Thanks for writing the post Josh.

D said...

Josh, the only problem I have is that you never know where your learning will come from. I tend to follow back everyone who is an educator because I feel that they can add to my learning.

That said, I can't keep up with a few hundred friends, so I tend to follow my favourite hashtags instead of the general Twitter timeline.

I totally agree with the long blog post...I have a hard time not jumping ahead.

Michael Graffin said...

Just a quick comment to share a blog post inspired by "Why I Am Not Following You":

A Connected Teacher’s Balancing Act