For a while last year I really got into Twitter. It offered someone like me a chance to communicate with people from around the world without having to e-mail them, facebook them, comment on blogs or anything else. I could find them on Twitter and have periodic conversations with them about great blogs we had seen or a great website and anything in-between.
It was great. I slowly built up people who I was following and who followed me around 100, then 200, then 300, then 400! I was getting some great feedback on certain questions I had. Then it got to be overload. Some people started using Twitter as a way to spam you with their 500 random thoughts that day or the 700 links they found that day. Basically, three or four people started filling up my feed that I would miss great content from people because it was being drowned out constantly by those few individuals who were posting constantly.
To fix this problem, I did two things - first I started a #purgethursday - I deleted anyone who decided they needed to fill up my tweetdeck with 10 posts all within a minute or two or those who I followed at one point, but had not been communicating with them in a while, and I didn't find anything useful on their posts. After a couple of weeks of this, it was great! My feeds were slowing down. I didn't miss great posts by people and I seemed to be able to communicate with people again.
The second step was creating lists. While I don't use the website a lot (mostly I use Tweetdeck) I do use it if I want to check on my lists. Twitter did a great job getting me to come back to their website because now I can click on one of my lists and I don't have to worry about certain people clogging up my feed because I have separated people to fit the areas I know them from.
These two steps have been great. I've gotten back onto Twitter, I no longer have people clogging up my feed and I am communicating on twitter again.
Communication is a tricky thing. Anyone can get onto Twitter and attempt to "communicate" with other people. Sadly, people waste this great opportunity. They use it to their own means and treat it as another form of advertising - i.e. interrupting our lives. Don't waste the opportunity that twitter can give you. Engage in the discussion. Be a part of the community. Don't be an obstacle that has to be purged.