[This is part of a series of posts — see the Introduction if you haven’t already.]

Oh, the noise, noise, noise, noise!  If there’s one thing I hate, oh the noise, noise, noise, noise! — The Grinch

Question TwitterThis leads to another thing I hate about Twitter — the signal to noise ratio.  When looking through the Twitter stream there are things that I want to see (signal) and things that I don’t (noise).  What is considered signal and what is noise will vary from user to user.  In fact, my definition will change depending on what I’m doing or what kind of mood I’m in at the time.

With the increasing number of tweets that are going by the noise becomes overwhelming and it is harder to pick out the signal.  There are people that I want to follow more closely and others that I just want to see from time to time.  While TweetDeck has the wonderful groups feature that could help with that, it will only pick out the tweets from the last 200.  It also leaves those tweets in the main stream, turning them into noise when I look to see if anything interesting shows up outside of my groups.  DestroyTwitter doesn’t have a group feature at all.

There are several things that show up as noise for me but, as always, YMMV.

  • Blip.fm — While I don’t have a problem with blip itself, if I wanted to know what song you’re listening to I’d be signed in to blip!  I don’t mind when you share a particularly inspiring song once in a blue moon or if a song reminds you of something special that you want to share, but not every song please!
  • mega tweets — Two or three tweets in a row is okay once in a while.  More than that and I say take it to your blog.  Don’t have a blog?  Set up a free one at WordPress.com or Blogger.com.  If you have this much desire to write then blogging is for you!  Then you can tweet about the post rather than filling up the stream.
  • bare links — Tell us what it’s about!  Make us want to see it.  Nuff said.
  • shortened urls — This one is a necessary evil and I’m not sure it really constitutes noise, but it would be nice to have some idea of where you’re sending me.  A link expander would be nice to have.  I know that this is on the feature request list for TweetDeck but I’m not sure if it will come to pass any time soon.
  • #followfriday lists — A tweet with as many names crammed in with a #followfriday tag is uninspiring.  Keep each tweet to a couple names at the most with a hint of what you like about them.  “Good for a laugh …” or “Lots of great CSS tips …”  A simple list just fills up space in the stream

There is obviously other things that make up the noise in Twitter.

They’ll blow their flu-flubas.  They’ll bang their tartinkas.  They’ll blow their who-hubas.  They’ll bang their gardinkas! — The Grinch

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