Ever Feel Like You’re Being Followed?

I’ve been using twitter for quite a while now, around a year. And so far, its not going brilliantly.

The problem really is that I don’t “get” twitter. I am not online 24/7 so I often only look at my feeds once per day. The conversation in twitter moves faster than that so I rarely reply because usually I’ve missed the moment. Friends in various timezones also don’t help that situation. I haven’t really worked out what to do with twitter … I linked my facebook status to it so that updating one would cause the other to update, thinking I might eventually understand what it was all about.

The only thing that’s really changed since I started using it is the number of followers I have, there are more than I really expected. To put this in perspective, I follow twelve people. But seventy people follow me! Not many are complete strangers, some are colleagues, others are online friends. Some of them I would like to follow myself but they are too noisy and since I don’t keep up with updates in real time, that doesn’t really work for me. I do rather feel like I’m addressing an audience though, slightly spooky.

My twitter timeline is public – this is the point of twitter, its a mass collection of one-liners. It allows clever tools like Summize to show you all posts with given text in it, and things like that. Which is useful if people are talking about you, as I discovered when I was a conference speaker. But it does feel a bit, well, public.

The bottom line is, I’m fed up with twitter, I don’t know what to do with it and having more audience is actually making me post less (a bit like being syndicated on the php-planet feed really!) and its so unreliable that half the time when I remember to update, I can’t. There’s lots of talk of moving to a rival but nobody seems prepared to make the jump. I am completely prepared but I can’t find anything to jump to! I looked at Plurk but I have accessibility needs and it doesn’t come close to being usable for me. At the moment I think my favourite is FriendFeed – which has the added advantage of being configurable to be private other than to people I approve. It also syndicates people’s blogs, flickr accounts, and all sorts of other things, including twitter – so if we all moved to friendfeed then everyone can choose their own twitter replacement, or change it every month, and nobody needs to know because each user manages what goes into their feed that other people see.

I’m not sure if I’m moving away from twitter, stopping using it entirely, or what. Suggestions/comments/experiences are all very welcome!