Managing Your Tweet Stream: Three Tips

A few friends on Twitter found some recent suggestions of mine about managing their Tweet streams helpful, so I thought Id present them in blog form.

You didnt catch my tips on Twitter? Not surprising. One paradox of Twitter is that the more people you follow, the less likely you are to see any given tweet. And if the people (or feeds) you follow are prolific, trying to make sense of the stream is akin to trying to sip from a fire hose.

Sure, you can use a third-party app like TweetDeck and segregate people into columns, but you can end up with so many columns, or so many people IN a column, that it doesnt really fix the problem.

One way to solve the problem is by following fewer people, but then you might miss out on information you want or need. Here are some other ways to approach it:

Stop Following, Start Listing

If there are groups of Twitter feeds you want to keep track of (e.g. news feeds, other students at your school, people attending a given conference, local food trucks), but you dont want or need to see everything they say in your live stream, create a list of them and then span style=text-decoration: underline;unfollow those accounts/span. For example, you can see my list of News Feeds here.

Get started by clicking Lists/Create a List at the top of your Twitter stream, and then adding the accounts you want to follow in that List.

As you can see in the dialog box shown above, your list can be Public (anyone can follow your list and see whos on it), or Private (only you can see it). So if you dont want to cop to being interested in what a celebrity or pundit has to say, your secrets safe.

You dont need to reinvent the wheel, either. Check to see what lists other people have created. The public lists theyve made are shown on their Profile page, and you dont need to be following someone to follow their list. Feel free to follow someone elses list if it works for you, or to check out accounts on their lists if they look like theyd make an interesting addition to your own.

You can check your list(s) whenever you want to see what theyve tweeted recently, but you dont have to see it all in your Tweet stream. Most (if not all) 3rd party Twitter clients support Lists, so you can follow them using Tweetie as well, for example.

Save a Search

If you’re following some accounts because of a particular interest, save that interest as a search term. Enter the search term in the box on your Twitter home page; when the results appear, click on Save this search just above the results.

That will create a saved search listing for the term, which you can click on from Twitter and most (if not all) 3rd party Twitter clients anytime you want.

Check out NutshellMail

At last month’s Twiistup conference, I learned about a new product, NutshellMail, that I’ve been using ever since. NutshellMail aggregates the activity you specify – and emonly/em the activity you specify – from your social network accounts (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace), and emails a digest to you at the schedule of your choosing. In other words: your social media activity, in a nutshell.

With specific regard to Twitter, you can use it to keep up with your Twitter lists, saved searches, and much more. For example, it will also give you a list of new follows and people who have unfollowed you. You can have it sent to you once an hour or once a day; its up to you.

NutShell Mail is currently free, and it does require you to provide your username(s) and password(s) to access the account info for you, so proceed at your own risk. (emNote/em: I have no business or other relationship with NutshellMail. Im just a fan.) But its brilliant, particularly for times when you cant get to the services directly (e.g. youre behind a firewall that blocks access), and it will even let you take actions (e.g. following someone back, responding to a Facebook post) from within the email.

Et Voilà

Using any or all of these tips should let you cull your Tweet stream a bit (or perhaps significantly). I hope you find them helpful – please leave your own Twitter management tips in the comments.

One Comment

  1. I wonder how much the way you organise (or don’t) your twitter stream says about how well organised you are in general.

    I STILL use the naked Twitter web interface. At the start of each work-day I spend quite a while scrolling and scrolling, occasionally refreshing and nipping back to the top of the list to see what I’ve missed in that past couple of minutes, before scrolling back down to approximately 12 hours ag0.

    I think that makes me a disorganised slow-adopter – surely that can’t be right?!

    I’m going to try your suggestions, thank you! 🙂

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