Do “filters” mean Twitter has failed?

This post is about flood control.  Not the kind happening up in Washington state, but information flooding.

At one time email was a nice little tool, where we could wait with anticipation for the chance we might get an email, or two or three, today (for me that was the eighties).  But at some point it went ballistic. Today I get thousands of emails a day, as a lot of people do.  I’m not bragging. The vast majority of them are of course spam. A good hunk of the others are automated emails, notifications etc. Somewhere in all that mess are the few from real humans (even fewer that I actually like receiving).

So mail filters became a necessary evil.

So along came RSS to save the day.  Don’t get me started. Who even reads RSS feeds anymore? And if they do, it’s probably a filtered feed.

Okay, so Facebook must be the answer. I was very late to the Facebook party. At first I friended about anybody because I never expected to actually use Facebook for anything.  Then a bunch of my real friends and family wanted to use it to share photos and more personal info and pretty soon, viola, I’ve got an “ambient intelligence” problem. Now I wish I could segment or classify Facebook “friends” by “degree of closeness.” It lets me group friends into different “friends lists”, but you can’t do much with those yet, beyond bulk mailing the list.  For what it’s worth, some of my Facebook “friends lists” include:

  • nerds (people I only know online, in a nerd-related context)
  • meatspace (real friends I know in the physical world)
  • family
  • enemies (keep them close)

You get the idea (hey, now you can have fun guessing which group you’re in).

So Twitter was supposed to fix this. Lower the flow. Ah. But now we need filtering of it too.  There’s a lot of talk about TweetDeck particularly because it has filtering. Search for twitter client filtering for a guage (or filtering tweetdeck on twitter itself).

But perhaps all of this is a sign that Twitter is now broken too – as broken a Email, Facebook, and RSS.  Here we go again.

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