Managing the Twitter Flood

Once you’ve been on twitter a while, you’ll be following enough people that you can no longer keep up with the incoming flood of tweets to your main timeline. The good tweets – be they interesting or from people you’re interested in – get lost in the cacophony. Managing the flood is quite a challenge as twitter provides very few tools. So what, if anything, can be done? So far I’ve only found 2 broad strategies:

  1. Use Retweets effectively
  2. Use 3rd party tools

Twitter provides just one built-in filter for general tweets from people you subscribe to – the ability to view “Retweets by others” (RtsBO). To use this effectively  use “native” API retweets, and encourage others to do the same, as it only works for these native retweets. I.e. the ones where the retweeter’s name appears beside the name of the tweeter. NOT the old-style inline retweets, like “RT: @whatever <original tweet>” – they won’t do! Some 3rd party clients unfortunately still do not support native retweets – bug the author or find another client.

If you think a link from a tweet is interesting, retweet that if it’s still easily to hand and you don’t have any interesting or pithy comment to add to it – rather than tweeting it yourself. If the tweet you’ve got is someone doing an old-style retweet of another tweet – see if you can native retweet the original instead.

Native retweets basically provide a way to ‘vote’ on a tweet. Twitter uses this to sort native retweets in the RtsBO according to age and popularity, which can be useful. Native retweets can also be filtered out from your main timeline, while still appearing in RtsBO. Annoyingly there doesn’t appear to be a general way to do this. For everyone you follow you have to visit their profile and click the little retweet symbol to disabled. (If using the new UI you can do this from your own “following” list – click on each name to get the mini-profile). This obviously gets tedious very fast.

There are also some 3rd party tools that can help. I use paper.li and the bit.ly Chrome extension.

Paper.li will go through all the tweets you’ve received each day and collate links it decides are newsworthy and present them in a newspaper style format, with summaries for each. A little button is provided under each for functionality related to the tweet the article was discovered via, such as retweeting. E.g. see the paper created for me each day.

Bit.ly is another useful tool. Browser plugins for it allow you to easily post links with a comment to your twitter, if/when you find something interesting on the web.

What useful tools & strategies have you found?

1 Comment »

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Irish LinuxUG, Paul Jakma. Paul Jakma said: Managing the Twitter Flood (blog post): http://bit.ly/geTpdT […]

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