tldr: don’t treat your Twitter timeline as a zero inbox that needs to be emptied.
Whoah! As soon as you subscribe to a few people on Twitter, your Twitter stream is constant!
A way to deal with that overwhelming but potentially interesting information is to “dip in”, and not be worried that you’re missing out if you’re not “dipping in”.
In an intriguing interview Joe Rogan, Jack Dorsey at one point recommended that strategy. Dorsey is one of the original founders (or indeed is the creator) of Twitter.
His focus was on dealing with a deluge of replies he gets on Twitter, but a mere mortal with not many replies can apply this strategy to the Twitter stream alone. I get only a handful of reply tweets, so it’s usually worth my time to empty that inbox and see what Twitter is notifying me about.
A background question is whether to use Twitter at all. In an interview, Seth Godin indicated that he’s not on Twitter or Facebook, as his ‘internal compass’ asks whether that activity is really productive or not. Very interestingly, Godin focuses his energy on publishing valuable insights on his own blog, and merely auto-links to those essays from social media. I’m not sure if I’m convinced about him staying off Twitter, for example, as he’s in the business of convincing people. Twitter and Facebook can be used to convince people (hello Trump and Brexit!), so only broadcasting ideas without interaction is questionable. Having said that, he has a big audience and interacting with his own audience directly might simply be unscalable. He could still “dip in”! In fairness to him, again, he does this with valuable answers to listener questions recorded on his podcast.
While we’re on Twitter, I highly recommend the book Hatching Twitter. It tells the fascinating story of Twitter. My take-away from that book was that things change even if you don’t plan for them to change (for example, CEOs get fired and taken over), so over time nothing stays the same.