One day a few years ago, a new Twitter friend sent me a direct message.

“How do you read everything in your Twitter stream?” he asked.

I laughed out loud. Then I shook my head.

He asked a serious question. I wanted to give him a respectful answer.

But I couldn’t believe that he would even try to read every update in his Twitter stream.

At the time, I followed a couple of thousand people on Twitter.

The friend asking the question followed a couple of hundred, I think.

I told him outright: “I don’t read everything in my Twitter stream. It would be impossible to keep up.”

In a longer conversation, I might have explained to my friend how I filter information on Twitter to pay attention to selected people and topics. I might have told him how I rely on serendipity to lead me to the “right” connections and updates. When I occasionally read my general Twitter stream, I do so with an attitude of discovery: what might I find, in these few moments, that matters to me. I read with the hope of making a difference for someone and finding a new connection.

But I don’t — I can’t — I couldn’t possibly — read everything. Not then, when I followed 2,000 people and not now, following nearly 11,000.

Instead, I organize my contacts on social media platforms so I can connect meaningfully and regularly with as many people as possible. I spend focused time engaging and sharing with others.

I let the rest go.

Tell me about your experience with the overwhelming stream of information on Twitter and other social media platforms. How do you manage the content flow? Did you try to read every update when you first started? Do you try to read every update now?