I like Twitter. I’ve already said this once. Nonetheless, it can turn into a gargantuan stream of Tweets that you will ignore like a bad book.
That’s why I decided to create this guide on a few simple tools to organize your Twitter feed.
Yup. The hashtag. Twitter’s ubiquitous symbol.
So what the hell is a hashtag, anyway? Twitter itself defines the operator as this:
Definition: The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.
I use them to refine who and what I want to follow, read, and talk about. Some of my personal examples include #guitars, #marketing, and #music. However, my actual use of hashtags is more refined than that.
The best part about hashtags is that they work like search terms, so it is easy to refine what you want by using multiple tags. A more refined hashtag search (such as using #rock and #music instead of just using #music) will usually get more relevant results.
Once you know what you want to watch and follow, you can use saved searches to find specific new content. For example, you could save a search for #bacon or #driving or #shoes, or #drivingshoes or any combination of search terms (including those without hashtags).
Search terms can include users; however, I think that the following method is better for organizing Twitter users you follow.
Twitter lists are one of my favourite ways to find what I like and share what I like. It’s easy to set them up while browsing Twitter and following users, but I find it’s easier to use Hootsuite or TweetDeck to display my lists (the next section will cover these platforms).
By using lists, I organize the users I follow into something like a text-based television channel. For example, I created a list of the Twitter accounts associated to the CBC Radio shows that I listen to. Other users can also create lists, and those lists can be followed. I follow Alan Cross’ Music News-Biz list and Brian Thompson’s Music News list.
If you find content online like I do over the course of the day and want to share it without posting 20 linked articles in the space of half an hour (or if you are using social media for your business), then platforms other than Twitter itself may be what you need. Hootsuite and TweetDeck are well known and widely used for a reason.
Social publishing platforms like Hootsuite and TweetDeck allow for feeds of searched terms, lists, individual users, sent tweets, and every other action associated with the Twitter account. They can also schedule posts for a later point in the day, week, month, or year.
I have used Hootsuite to manage all my social media accounts. If all you need is a more organized Twitter feed, this is one place to start, though it does include functions that you may not find useful, such as link shortening and analytics.
I am still testing TweetDeck. The interface is more straightforward than Hootsuite as it only covers one social network (Twitter). It has more advanced functions like link tracking using bit.ly. I will be testing TweetDeck over the next couple weeks and will report back with my findings.
Does that cover everything you need to organize your Twitter feed? Send me a tweet or use the comment box below if you would like help organizing your twitter account. Happy Tweeting!