Managing the noise. What to do about Twitter overload.

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So you have already drunk the Twitter Koolaide. You’ve been tweeting awhile and now you have a few hundred followers and are following more people than you can keep track of using on your browser. And you’re beginning to feel that you’re probably not getting all that you could out of your Twitter experience because of an information nozzle that is blasting so hard you’ve lost control of what you’re reading.

Now you’re wondering, “do I need to unfollow a hundred people because I’m not too interested in everything they’re tweeting?” They all seemed so interesting at first but now – not so much. Will they unfollow me if I unfollow them? Probably. And that may be OK. But if you selfishly want to hang on to them and not hurt anyone’s feelings, there’s a solution.

Thankfully, twitter now has a built in tool to help this problem: Twitter Lists. Lists allow you to group your favorite Tweeters into a single browser window. You can even create groups for specific topics. So if you’re interested in learning about a particular news story, click the “news” list you created of pundits or journalists. Or if maketing is your bag, create one of marketing professionals you respect.

You can also look at other people’s lists and get a feel if your missing something.

If you use a tool like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, or Seesmic these lists can be integrated into your desktop tool or iPhone app. (CoTweet is also an excellent tool but focused on enterprise users. If that’s you, I highly recommend it.)

If you use Seesmic of Tweetdeck (Hootsuite is phasing out groups and wants you to use Twitter’s lists) you can use groups to create columns to easily scan and not have them part of your actual Twitter account. I find Tweetdecks function to be easy to use. And since I manage three accounts, ease of use is extremely important to me.

These tools should help you make more sense out of Twitter stream with a bit of time spent getting caught up sorting. I’m constantly tweaking my Tweetdeck groups to try and make sure I have the best information stream possible.

One problem lists doesn’t solve is the DM conundrum. I find that I’m consistently auto DM’d so I tend not to pay much attention to what’s in my DM inbox. I could just unfollow anyone that does that but I’m conscious that some people don’t know they’re being annoying by sending automated messages, so I’m giving everyone the benefit of doubt.

The things that will get people unfollowed by me is spamming me with porn or otherwise offensive stuff and auto blasting me with 10 tweets at a time in attempt to capitalize my stream. I’d rather tweeters be interesting than annoying.

Hope these tips help. If anyone has any to add please add to comments.

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Posted on: January 11, 2010, by :