Posts, tweets, and one-on-ones

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:

@dave_ferguson, public tweets and direct messages

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.