When I first started out on Twitter, I had a limited number of topics I was interested in and I wasn’t following many people. It wasn’t too difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. But as I started to follow more people and as I expanded my topics of interest, I developed an approach to maximize the value of my Twitter feed. Here’s an overview of my approach.
1. Use a good desktop Twitter client – paired with its mobile counterpart
Personally, I think there are only two choices for a good Twitter client: Tweetdeck or Hootsuite. Each are very similar and each have some unique features. I’m actually using both right now but plan to move to only one of them – someday. In the meantime, I’ve rarely had any tweet limit or throttling issues by using both at once.
2. Use an extra monitor – or multiple monitors
My desktop includes three monitors and I use one 24” monitor largely dedicated to Tweetdeck and Hootsuite. I have the resolution set at the highest level possible.
3. Use multiple columns & smallest font size possible
Since I have a large monitor set with a high resolution, I configure my Twitter clients to use multiple columns – with each column dedicated to a specific purpose. To squeeze in even more columns, I set the font size as small as possible.
4. Setup columns for specific purposes & areas of interest
I have about a dozen columns set up in my Twitter clients and I use hashtags, lists, custom search terms and the standard Twitter filters (Timeline, Interactions, Mentions, Favorites, etc.) to customize the tweets displayed in each column. Of all the techniques possible, I think my use of lists and custom search terms provides me with the most capability and flexibility to manage the signal to noise ratio.
A note on lists: I use all the lists Twitter lets me create to segregate what I consider certain high-value Tweeps. I’m constantly adding to and pruning these lists based on the topics and areas of interest of these Tweeps. This helps call out good signals. Lists are very useful for me because I follow just about everyone who follows me (except for the XXX, MLM and obvious nutcases) and the sheer volume of tweets from 1000’s of people is clearly unmanageable.
5. Tag and forward
Many times, especially when I’m browsing using my smart phone, I see things that I want to share with others or save for later when I have more time to review them. In these cases I usually add a tag or short note and forward the tweet to myself via email. I used to mark these as favorites but then decided I might be sending the wrong message since some of the items I marked would not be considered a ‘favorite.’