Posts Tagged Twitter

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?

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Microblogging / Social Networking updates

Micro-blogging, like Twitter is the latest rage. Not understanding why I, of course, have decided to try it out. My Twitter account is pauljakma, and my Identi.ca account is paulj.

Identi.ca is quite handy as it has the ability to connect to Twitter and Facebook, and update your status there as/when you update your status on it. I am also using gwibber, a Linux/GNOME micro-blogging client which can connect to several social-network and micro-blogging sites, including all the above. The resulting flow of messages is best described here. I have also installed mobidentica, a light-weight Laconica/Identica client for Symbian S60, onto my Nokia E51, for on the go micro-blogging but I haven’t really used it in anger yet.

So basically, I can update my status on Twitter, Identi.ca and Facebook all in one place. E.g. from Gwibber, if I’m using my desktop; or via Identi.ca if I have access to a browser; or mobidentica via my phone. Identi.ca can also synchronise with services that use the Jabber IM protocol, like Google Talk and Nokia’s Ovi chat client.

The one downside is that there may be a bit of an impedance mismatch in audience between different micro-blogging/social-network sites. E.g. my Twitters/’dents tend to be more techy, which could seem strange to various Facebook family and friends who are not techies.. It’d be nice if Identi.ca had a fine-grained, in-line way to control which ‘dents were sent to Facebook.

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