Avoiding the “Noise”


A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about things that higher education professionals like to see on Twitter.  I contacted many people in the #HigherEd community and came to some pretty neat conclusions about using Twitter as a professional development tool.

But when I actually contacted these folks, I not only asked them what they seek out in the Twitter-verse, I also asked them what they generally stay away from.  What kinds of things do they ignore, or even worse, drive them to “unfollow” the offending tweeter.

I got responses ranging from “I avoid PR companies” to “I avoid tabloid (celebrity gossip) material.”

When I consider all the responses I got, the term to describe the behaviors people avoid that I keep coming back to is “Noise.”  “Noise” can be defined differently from person to person, but it generally carries the same characteristic: “Stuff that is not useful to me.”

My own personal definition of “Noise” is best summed up by one of the responses I got:

I generally dodge people or companies who are heavy on the self-promotional tweets.  I don’t mind it if you’re providing useful information and you have an occasional tweet to tout you or your company. But when that’s all you do, I generally find the ‘unfollow’ button pretty fast.”

I have a hard time staying focused on Twitter feeds that don’t bring anything to the table.  Or better put, Twitter feeds that don’t provide quality content.  Judging by my last blog on this subject, (with the #HigherEd community using Twitter as a method of alternative professional development) my guess is that our community feels the same way.

So the question I leave you with is one that Eric Stoller (higher education consultant and blogger for Inside Higher Ed) actually tweeted.  As a member of the #HigherEd community on Twitter…

You can find Eric Stoller at his website or on Twitter (@EricStoller).