So let’s say that you’re like me and have finally come to terms with the fact that you like Twitter.
You initially followed a couple of friends and some internet-famous people. Then you added some of the people you work with and some people who always seem to come up with funny things to Twitter. Then some more internet-famous people, and a few genuinely interesting people that you’ve never heard of. And a few more friends. And then a couple of people that you found through @messages sent by the people you already follow.
How many people is that you’re following, now? Do you actually have enough spare bandwidth to make effective use of an input stream that’s made up of the output from 50, or 500, or 5,000 [yes, I’m looking at you, jowyang] people?
Sure, one good answer is to modify Dave Winer’s RSS insight and view Twitter as a river of tweets. You hop in and catch what you can, and don’t worry to much about the stuff that gets carried past you by the current. But I think there’s a limit to how well that works. The different people in my Twitterstream are important and interesting to me for many different reasons; some people I always want to hear from, and and I may not want to hear from (and about) all of them all the time.
So here’s what I propose: a Twitter client that (a) allows you to flag each person that you follow as a member of one or more groups, and (b) allows you to dynamically filter which tweets are displayed, based on group.
With that functionality I can follow all the people who interest me while also ensuring that I don’t miss the output from the small group of people that I’m most interested in. I like both the [shudder] “ambient intimacy” experience of updates from people I know and the “exhibitionist meets stalker” experience of updates from people that I don’t know, and I’d like to be able to keep both of them as a part of my Twitter experience.
Maybe it’s just me, but this feels like something that could be really useful. Any takers?