I only have space for one timeline in my digital life

I’m a Twitter fan. I’ve a user for most of it’s 10 year existence, and I’m a daily active user.

I also design and build consumer apps for millions of people for a living. Those apps are used by millions of Twitter users, and many millions more who aren’t Twitter users.

Looking at tracking metrics in our apps there is a stark reality that stands out. Our users are moving away from Twitter in massive numbers. In the first month of 2016 we’ve seen Twitter usage drop by 2/3, while Facebook usage has remained constant.

So reluctantly I’m beginning a month long experiment where I experience the world through the eyes (or thumbs) of our users – and I’m swapping out my “timeline usage” from Twitter and to Facebook instead.

First

  • I’ve been on Facebook longer than I can remember – and not an active user of the news feed, so initially my feed was full of status updates from friends that live in different countries, or from jobs I left a decade ago. So step 1 was to start removing uninteresting posts from my feed
  • Step 2 was to find and “like” some relevant news feeds – a mix of official sources and bloggers here, many of the people I follow on Twitter are on Facebook. John Gruber (daringfireball) isn’t – but I’ll happily get his updates from podcast listening. @pmarca and Benedict Evans aren’t – but I get Ben’s excellent weekly emails so I won’t miss out
  • First browse experience is much richer content than Twitter – there seems to be more going on in Facebook even with fewer information sources
  • Facebook is SUPERB at recommending me feeds of other relevant stuff – as if by magic after I’ve read a story sometimes it comes up with other relevant information, I’ve already found more interesting things to follow as a result. In in contrast Twitter has chosen to use spare space under tweet threads to show me advertising that I’m not interested in rather than other feeds I may be interested in. Smart choice Facebook.

More impressions as I use Facebook more – I’ll be interested to find out if Twitter has anything that pulls me back in a couple of weeks, or whether an up to date curation of a Facebook feed does everything I want.

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