Below are a few of the hundreds of apps and services that have sprung up to help users use Twitter more effectively and efficiently.
This is Tweetdeck – a free tool that you can download here. Many of us are finding that Tweetdeck offers the most value in using Twitter and much of this post will explain why this is so.
Normally when you first start with Twitter you will use the Twitter.com page that looks like this:
What you get is a stream of Twitter posts. This can be very “noisy” – with many feeds flowing by it can prove a challenge to discern what is important. Also only using Twitter.com demands that you stop what you are doing and go to your Twitter page. Many of us also use iPhones or mobile devices. These too have access to Twitter via the Twitter.com page. They also enable you both to send information into Twitter and to receive it while on the move – key issues for the full value of Twitter as we will see when we look at news.
But to make more sense it is best to use a “Twitter Client”. These are tools that can sit on your desktop while you do other things. They also enable you to make more sense of your “stream”. Here are a few examples of the most popular Clients.
I use Hahlo on my iTouch
Some use Twitterific – I used to on my desktop but it also is excellent on an iPhone or iTouch.
Some use Twhirl – I still do sometimes on my desktop.
All are good and it’s a personal call as to what suits you best. You will find that using a client will make your Twitter experience much much better.
But when it comes to getting the most value out of Twitter, I return to Tweetdeck.
Tweetdeck works like your own natural system of perception – it enables you to see patterns. You can break up all the noise into groups and hence patterns so you can make instant sense out of what is going on.
In the first column “All Friends” you have the same unaggregated list that you will find on Twitter.com. But in the next column, you can edit your list of say 500 Followers into say the 35 that are really close to you. There is no limit to this “In Group” but our knowledge of ideal group size (The Science Behind How Twitter Works) suggests that it be less than 100 and closer to 35. This group is your powerful Trust Pathway to the larger Twitterverse. (What is Twitter & Best Uses of Twitter)
You can then set up groups that specialize in an interest of yours. In my case I have one on people who have a lot to offer on Social Media itself. These can be any topic and you can access the full Twitterverse to do this, not just your followers, enabling you to monitor every single point in the system.
You can follow news events or issues or interests – by placing a # in front of a word, it will pick up any Tweet that includes that. So for instance, during the events in Mumbai #mumbai would have kept updating from the entire Twitterverse, not just your own followers, as people Tweeted. Or if there was a fire, as there was in San Diego, you could find out what was happening by searching for #fire. Very quickly a standard will be set for the best feed.
This feature combines the powerful search function that makes Market Research and Intelligenceso much easier and more effective by using Twitter. It also enables you to follow any news event. It also can help you follow what is going on inside your organization – provided many also Tweet there. (Organizational Cohesion)
There are standard panes for Replies and for Direct Messages too.
A tool that is very useful is the simple search.twitter.com tool
Simply enter search.twitter.com and you will be given a search pane. Add whatever you want – in this case I added Gaza. Immediately and in real time Tweets on Gaza appear. Note on the right hand side of the page a sidebar called Trending Topics. Here you can see what is happeing in aggregate in the Twitterverse – you can see events emerge.
This is a new and natural way for news to be captured. Now the weight of the interest ranks the event or the issue. Here is where you can find the best feed as a consensus emerges from real usage.