As a kind of echo of my household renovations earlier this year, I’m working through some personal ones — looking at my goals, my priorities, and the always-distracting details of how I manage day-to-day activity.
Or don’t manage.
One thing I try to do is track stuff. For instance, last year I was curious about my own use of Twitter, so I made a month-by-month chart of use.
Now I update the chart each month. Here’s what it looks like now:
So my tweets per month — the mini-messages to the world at large — roughly tripled from December to March, when I hit 341, or more than 10 per day. (I don’t tweet much on weekends, so the workday average was probably more like 15.)
I’ve come down quite a bit since then (257 in June, 226 in July). And those numbers include my occasional participation in #lrnchat, an informal weekly Twitter-based discussion.
This is to the good. The things I post on the Whiteboard don’t fit well into 140 characters (a few might not fit into 140 sentences). I’m making a deliberate effort not to have Twitter be my default, always-on, instant-messenger substitute. It’s just too distracting.
One other phenomenon I noticed: my tendency to use a lot of direct messages. A DM is a tweet sent privately to one other Twitter user; only the two of you can see it. I tracked all of mine (assuming Twitter hasn’t lost any). Overall, I’ve sent one DM for every two public Tweets (953 / 1953), which means the number of DMs is about 49% of the number of public tweets.
Recent months are even more pronounced: DMs have been at or above 70% of my public tweets for the past three months.
I send a lot of DMs because I’m dealing with only one other person–a private joke, a little feedback, or a discussion I feel like having just with that individual. just as soon have with the message makes sense just for one person, or because I don’t think it has much broad interest.
For someone who likes to talk a lot, I can be pretty private.