How To Use Tweetdeck To Manage Your Twitter Followers

As we all know, Twitter is becoming one of the main modes of communication. It's free, easy and a lot of fun. You have the ability to chat with thousands of people at any time. As your follower list grows, so does the challenge of keeping up with specific people. You may not want to keep up with everyone, but you certainly have the option to.

What happens when you have thousands of followers and you want to stay on top of what the people close to you are still saying? I'm certainly not saying that you should stop paying attention to Shaq and Demi Moore, but there really are things that people want to read on Twitter. If this sounds like you, it's time to turn to third-party applications to manage your timeline. This how-to looks at using Tweetdeck to maximize your Twit-ficiency.

Step One - Go get a copy of Tweetdeck. You can find it on their website. Install it, set it up, and spend a few hours getting used to the interface. It seems like a lot to internalize at first, but all of the features are very intuitive and make perfect sense after you've spent some time with it. If you're struggling, they have a very useful help section on their website that will clear up anything that you might have questions on.

Step Two. Organize your groups. This step is the key to managing your followers. The principle is to set up groups for all of the people that you want to follow and pay attention to, and the ones you want build a relationship with. The default group "all friends" should fill up with tweets that you won't need to pay any attention to. You can just let the "all friends" column pass by since it will be full of tweets that you don't need to read.

For personal use, start by assigning a group called "actual friends." This is where the tweets from people that you have relationships land. Assign other groups for hobbies or activities that you follow twitterers from. Assign a group for celebrities. Assign a group for brands or companies that you follow. Filter all of the people that you want to talk to into a group, and let the rest pass by in the "all friends" column.

For business use, start by assigning a group for "customers" or "business contacts." More ideas for groups are influential people in your field, potential customers, and most importantly your competitors. These certainly aren't the only options, but a good start to stay on top of your industry.

This may seem like it takes a lot of time for initial set-up, but the time saved and not missing important tweets is well worth it. You don't want to be the one that misses the super-important tweet because it was buried under thousands of useless other tweets.

Use the Move Column buttons to arrange the order that the tiles are seen.

Step Three. Adjust the API to maximize Tweetdeck's speed for your needs. Since Tweetdeck is a third-party application it has to call on Twitter to get tweets for you. Twitter has a limit of 100 API calls in an hour, so adjust yours to suit your needs. If you rely on direct messages a lot, boost that slider. Just make sure that the total is 100 or less to make sure that you don't get the "Fail Whale" during peak times. See the picture for my settings, which work great for me.

Step Four. Play around with the other features. Use Tweetdeck to update your Facebook status, or 12 Seconds updates. There is a great URL shortener and Twitpic updater from the interface.

Using Twitter to manage your personal and business life can be a very useful tool. For many people it makes sense to have multiple accounts to keep both things separate. If not, you may be wasting too much time with personal stuff at work and works stuff on your own time. Managing multiple accounts may seem like a pain in the butt, but if you follow these guidelines and keep it organized, it should be much easier than trying to filter everything out when it's together. There are also many other third-party applications like Tweetdeck that are designed for managing multiple Twitter accounts.

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