Curate Your Attention

Reading [Ben Brooks' post about Twitter][benbrooks] got me thinking. The best thing about Twitter is that you control the flow of information. You trust those whom you've given permission with the keys to your attention. If they abuse it, you stop following them.

This is the opposite of email where anyone can access your attention, if only for a second, by forcing you to deal with a message you don't want. With Twitter you've made conscious decisions about who and what gets your attention. That's why Twitter spam is so insidious.

As Ben says:

>Twitter is not Facebook. We are not friends because we both pushed a button confirming so — we just are interested in what other people say. Think of Twitter more like RSS feed subscriptions and less like a network of friends and you won’t get so worked up over all this follower non-sense.

Don't be afraid to curate your attention. Treat it like the finest museum and only let in things that are rare and valuable.[^1]

This isn't limited to following and un-following people on Twitter. We all have the ability to control where and on what we spend the precious [little time and attention](http://www.43folders.com/2008/08/14/who-moved-my-brain) we have in life.

At work, take control of interruptions. Politely ask co-workers who tend to interrupt you to stop. If you can, cut back the number of non-essential meetings. Remind colleagues of the importance of respecting each others time. Be polite about it, but be firm. You won't eliminate all of them, but it's worth trying.

By being selective, you'll find that you have more time and can use that time to focus your attention on the important things.

*Update:* Christian Ross has a [clear explanation](http://www.christianross.net/social-media-a-vested-interest/) of how he networks and his personal policies around Twitter and Facebook.

[benbrooks]: http://brooksreview.net/2011/05/follow/

[^1]: It's a nice metaphor, but only slightly impractical.