Since the release of my last article about why you should get your business rolling on Twitter, I’ve received many questions about how to climb out of the info-pile dump and keep on top of the feeds.
My answer: TweetDeck. If you want to make sure you can find all the topics, people, and feeds you’re looking for in real time, get TweetDeck in front of you. There are mobile versions for your phone, but it is best viewed on your PC, at least until you understand what you are looking at and have it customized for your needs. Here’s why you need it:
You’re the Captain. It may be hard to believe, but with TweetDeck you’re in charge of what you see on Twitter. The system is based on columns. Each time you open TweetDeck, you’ll be presented with column after column of tweets categorized by what you’ve chosen to see. Everything from standard Twitter info, such as replies and direct messages, to categories pre-compiled by TweetDeck to topic searches or groups of people that you have pre-determined. You’re the captain, and this is your helm!
No Flipping. If you get frustrated by the surf that is twitter.com (you know, an intriguing retweet compels you to click on the user, which compels you to click on a link, which compels you to go back to twitter for a search, and you forgot to DM someone but now you have to flip back to find them), you’ll be relieved to know that with TweetDeck’s column view you don’t lose where you are, you just get more places to go! With the magic search icon, a new search appears as yet another column now permanently set up for your viewing pleasure until you remove it.
Magic Mouse Action. Okay, so it’s not the mouse, but it’s the options you have with each avatar that feels like magic. When you hover, you’re presented with the usual options to retweet or direct message, but you also have bunches of other options for dealing with the tweet itself and/or that user, including translating, viewing a complete profile (in a temporary column), and even emailing the tweet! If you discover a new user to follow and want to add him to a particular category you’ve columned, just click!
SuperPost Power. I don’t know about you, but I have a really hard time with the 140 character limit, especially when a url is involved. TweetDeck can do wonderful things while you’re keying: alert you when referencing a username that doesn’t exist, automatically “tiny” urls, shrink your tweet, translate it, attach photos and video, and remind you of recent hashtags you’ve used.
Add Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn. That’s right, once you’ve become addicted and don’t want to be separated from your TweetDeck columns ever again, you’ll be pleased that you can add columns for your Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace management, too!
Ahh, necessity really IS the mother of invention. TweetDeck is such a blessing for the Twitter superhighway that Twitter itself has finally caught on and launched a new “lists” feature and some hover-type tools. To begin, just go to www.tweetdeck.com. Oh! And don’t worry about TweetDeck portability, because when you load the mobile version it will populate with all of your columns. Did I mention you can minimize TweetDeck but have it chime when a new post comes into one of your columns? (I only recommend you use chime if you rely on real-time tweet scanning for your business; this could be too much of a good thing).