Advanced Twitter for Copyeditors, Part 2a: Tame the Tweets
We’ve given you the basics, we’ve talked about participating in Twitter chats, and we’ve helped you learn the lingo. If you’ve jumped in and have found the interesting, helpful, tweet-prolific community of editors and others on Twitter, you might be wondering how to better filter and organize the experience. It’s time to tame the tweets.
A great way to tame the general Twitter world (and to find interesting people and accounts to follow) is to search for keywords and hashtags that appeal to you. For the most part, however, it’s not all of Twitter that you need to tame—it’s your own tweet stream, the tweets that are coming from those you already follow.
The first step to filtering your stream of tweets is to intentionally choose the people you follow. If you automatically follow everyone who follows you, you’ll end up with noisy follower-seekers and automated accounts. If you don’t follow anyone who follows you, you’ll miss out on great conversations. Dunbar’s number notwithstanding, I’ve found that limiting the number of people and accounts I follow to only the 150 or so I can keep track of and engage with is not a useful way for me to use Twitter. It’s much more productive for me filter and organize, rather than severely limit, those I follow. (Organization will be the subject of part 2b in this series.)
You can also filter your Twitter experience by using a Twitter client that has a filter (or mute) function. A Twitter client is a program or app that downloads and displays your Twitter info. Many of them allow you to filter out specific words, phrases, or domains, which comes in handy when your Twitter friends get a little too chatty about that movie you haven’t seen yet or that team you’re not interested in, or when they use apps that tweet links or stats you don’t find useful.
Finding the best Twitter client for you depends on what device and operating system you’re using and what kind of interface you prefer. It’s largely a matter of test driving. Here are a few of the oft-recommended options: Tweetbot (Mac), MetroTwit (Windows), TweetDeck (both), and Hootsuite (both).
Many Twitter clients also provide organizational features that you might find useful. Tune in next week for the organizational side of tweet taming.