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Quarantine Tweets and Feeds

Mark Mzyk | May 12, 2008

I enjoy Twitter and I think I’m addicted to Google Reader.  It’s become a game for me to make sure that I get the number showing my unread stories down to zero.

Both make it very easy to follow someone, and once you do, if you’re like me, you end up following them forever just because you’re lazy and don’t get around to removing them. Eventually you probably sit down and do a purge, but that’s likely a once-a-year or a my brains are about to explode from too much information task.  Something has to push you over the edge to get you to that point.

Why don’t Twitter and Google Reader (and all feed readers) add a bit of friction to the beginning of the process, so that the mass purge becomes a thing of the past?  Or at least something that needs to happen less frequently.

There should be a quarantine function.  Each new person I follow or feed I add automatically goes in quarantine.  It then stays there for a certain amount of days which I can set, say 10, 20, or 30.  At the end of that period, a message shows up asking me if I want to keep following that person or feed or not.  If I say yes, then the person or feed is moved out of quarantine, and if I say no, then the person or feed is automatically deleted.  With this function I now get the opportunity to evaluate each new person or feed I think I might want to follow over a period of time, so I can therefore make an informed decision, instead of the snap decisions I make now.

So many feeds and people that seem promising after one post or message don’t hold up over the long haul.  I wonder why I followed them and eventually they get cleaned out in a mass purge.  A quarantine system solves this problem.  Also, if at any time I tire of a feed or person, I can throw it or them into quarantine and the system works as if I had just added them.  During quarantine, the person or feed can redeem themselves, or they get deleted.  It would be my own little slice of purgatory that I get to control.