It’s day two of discovering and opening up the flow… (not to be confused with ‘Flow Theory‘)
A couple days ago, after months of thinking about how to consume more information, I was inspired by Scoble’s post to switch off of a standard HTTP Twitter API polling application (Twitterific) and move to a Jabber based client (Adium). It has been an amazing discovery.
Initially, and until yesterday, I was using Twitterific to read posts from ~100 friends. I had SMS updates coming in to the iPhone for friends beyond the normal scope of Internet friendship (wife, co-workers, family). I bumped my friend count up to ~500 before my first flow entry last night
I picked these friends by viewing the friends of some of my other intelligent friends. If I found the last 20 posts from a friend in their list to be interesting and smart, I added that person as a friend of mine. If I found that friend to be exceptionally intelligent, I would review their friends and do the same process to find more. A tree diagram for contact spread would be very interesting!
500 friends created a slow flow in Adium (Jabber client). Today I followed the same process of friend finding and upped the count to 1,100. It seems intelligent people keep intelligent company (thank goodness!) and locating other intelligent Twitterers is not terribly difficult.
The flow speed at 1,100 is roughly 100 updates per 10 minutes (1 tweet per 6 seconds). Sometimes it gets much faster, but it’s easily manageable. With an approximate average of 100 characters per tweet and an average word length of 5 characters, this translates to 200 words per minute. At this point it is at a speed where one could read every post if they weren’t focused on other things, but more is tolerable.
I’m looking to have a flow that is well beyond fully readable. It’s supposed to be a river. I’m guessing this will be in the 5,000 to 10,000 friend range, but as I adapt it should grow. I’ll be growing my group of friends by at least 500 per day for the next X days to see how this works out.
I’m way beyond the point where I can pick out closely related friend’s tweets from the flow without software assistance. This also means it’s impossible to re-route the updates to a phone when away (my wife is happy about this ;). My solution has been to create a second account used only for following family and co-workers. My updates are still sent from the main sol account.
A latent side-effect of making all these new friends and finding all these smart people has been that they (likely, you) want to follow me too. Approximately 1/4 to 1/3 of the people I’ve followed return the favor and follow me. If you’re in to marketing don’t count on this lasting – I’m sure unscrupulous groups will use this against us and we’ll get a lot more careful in who we befriend.
For now, for those I’m connecting with, it’s a pleasure to meet you and thank you for making us all smarter.