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März 2009

Why I’ve come to love twitter

I’ve just stumbled over an article on Traffikd about why the author has come to like Twitter. I will use this to write down my own experience with Twitter so far, since I have a slightly different approach.

Although I had a Twitter account for quiet some time now, I haven’t been using it much until a few month ago. For me, it had more of a nerd toy than being a useful tool for anything. Now that I use it on a daily basis, my opinion has changed though.

There are many uses for twitter, be it self marketing, means to communicate with friends or as a source of information. I know many who just follow people they know since it’s much easier to establish a more personal relationship to friends, colleagues and followers while at the same time remain more control ofer the flood of information that is coming from those you follow.

Until a few days ago I thought the same way but they way I use twitter has changed after I watched the following youtube video on Jessy Newhart’s blog:

I’ve been using tweetdeck for a few weeks now but I never thought about the potential of it until I watched this video. Although I still agree that you shouldn’t follow everyone who follows you or everyone you find on twitter, I don’t have a problem with following a large number of people anymore, as long as the person writes about stuff that is of interest to you.

To still be able to prioritize whose tweets I want to follow I use two options tweetdeck offers.

Groups: My number one rule for twitter is to only follow people who write about stuff that is of main interest for me. In my case that is webdesign, information architecture and webdevelopment. Therefore I have set up 3 groups in tweetdeck for those three topics. I try to organize most of the people I follow based on those groups, leaving everyone who writes about other stuff in the main category.

Filters: The second technique I use are filters. Since I have already set up groups to organize everyone based on three major topics, I can now easily filter those groups for every keyword I am interested in. If I want the hottest links about webdesign I just type “RT @” in my filter to find all links that have been retweeted (and thus being of a certain quality) by the webdesign community.

So this is basically how I work with twitter since I have seen Jessy Newhart’s video. If you found this interesting, you should definetely watch his video. Using twitter this way means to use it more as a repository of information rather than a tool of communication. This is still possible though. Just create a group with people you want to communicate with to take them out of all the noise that will flood your tweetdeck when you follow many people.

I have to add that I just follow about 150 people at the moment, but I feel that this approach is very scalable.

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by Sebastian Schäffer

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