Pruning the PLN

When I first began using Twitter, not all that long ago but definitely pre-Oprah, I couldn’t have imagined it’s looming usefulness.  Back in early November of last year, I attended a day-long training with Will Richardson where he explained enough about the collaborative web to nearly melt my brain.  One of the things he mentioned was Twitter.  At the time I wondered why anything I would have to say would be interesting to others, especially in only broken fragments and chunks of 140 characters.

Flash forward to today, when I sit down to look at the new Follower page on the Twitter site and notice I have a whopping 406 followers.  Still a modest number by comparison to those ed tech gurus who’s followers number in the thousands.  But those 400 folks seemed a sizeable number for little old me!  As I began to look through my list, I noticed a number of corporations that had snuck in, a few obvious TwitterBots asking me if I wanted a way to get 16,000 followers in a week (no thank you, I do not want that many folks), and some folks who hadn’t posted anything since the beginning of April.

This led me down the path of pruning my Followers list.  I had often pruned my list of folks who I was following, keeping it just short of 100, now exactly at 100.  This has been a number that seems reasonable for me to keep up with, and the people I follow genuinely add value to my Twitter experience.  I’m not opposed to following more than 100, but I’m working my way there gradually.  Today, however, I turned my attention to those folks who were sitting idlely by, following me, but not adding anything to my network.

As Twitter reaches a state of mainstream acceptance, and eventual ridicule, I am attempting to keep some sense of clarity.  I pruned just over 30 followers today, dropping me back down below 400.  I’m still a bit overwhelmed that there are 400 people out there, that if 20% of them log in daily to Twitter means 80 folks listen or read my ramblings about school, technology, and middle school students.

I’d like to extend thanks to those folks who have made my PLN worthwhile in the time I’ve been on Twitter, adding a tremendous amount of value to my time spent tweeting: @cbrannon, @kellyhines, @willrich45, @gardenglen, @rmbyrne, @sanmccarron, @McTeach, @whynot88, @e_shep, @MSMatters, @bengrey, @shareski, @courosa, @SciTeach3, @romanv, @wfryer, @vtdeacon, @kjarrett, @cwebbtech, @Frideswidel, @iteachcomputers, @teach42, @dwarlick

Here’s hoping Twitter has more time before falling deeply into such a state of parody that we must move elsewhere…


2 Responses

  1. Could it be possible that some of those “pruned” were just like the students that sit in the back “unnoticed” and yet learning? What harm is there in lurking?


    • Thank you for this excellent point! Indeed that is a possibility, though I know most of them were not of that variety (lots were companies that auto-followed after specific keywords). I think this brings up another interesting piece of Twitter protocol, that of having a few good keywords in your profile information. If I was certain some of these folks were teachers looking for ideas on Twitter or how to use it, I would have been much more likely to leave them alone. Thanks again for bringing up this point!!

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