I have for some time now been subscribed to too many sources of information. As part of my transition to a new job, I have been culling various items in my feed. This is based largely on the fact that my role as an educational technologist is greatly diminished and I have less need to know about such a wide variety of tools. My focus will be much more on mathematics education, and while I think there is a role for technology to play, I think the number of tools which have potential use is much smaller.

I also recently created a list of people (on Twitter) who help teachers learn how to improve their teaching of mathematics and I enjoy being able to see the conversations that happen, usually without any hashtags. For three years I have followed hashtags and only noticing conversations between people I follow on Twitter when those conversations include a hashtag. When I created this group, I realized I missed the random conversations.

On Twitter, I unfollowed 12,000 people manually. It took 15 hours to do and most of it happened after the kids and my wife were asleep. Yes, I know that there are tools that I could have used to unfollow everyone automatically, and then I could rebuild my list. I think this would have taken more than 15 hours to do.

I glanced at each person’s bio (if they did not have a bio and I didn’t remember them, I generally unfollowed them), and asked myself these questions as I chose whether or not to continue following them:

  • Do I know this person outside of Twitter?
  • Do I remember interacting with this person in Twitter in any meaningful way?
  • Are they involved in mathematics education?

If the answer was yes to any of these questions, then I continued following them. This left me following about 2700 people. 

I’m sure I made some mistakes and unfollowed people that matched my criteria. I was tired, please forgive me and (gently) point out to me that I should continue to follow you. I also hope no one thinks that this list of 2700 people are "better" than the people I unfollowed. They aren’t. They just more closely match what I am hoping to get out of using Twitter.