One of the biggest points of confusion/complaint with Twitter is this one:
“How can I possibly keep track of hundreds or thousands of people and their tweets?”
Well, you can’t. So, I would highly recommend using a tool to screen out the noise so that you can really focus on the people you care about. The top three sites that I can suggest for this purpose are Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, and Seesmic.
Each of these tools has its own features and advantages, which I’m not really intending to cover within the scope of this post, although I may visit each of these in a separate post sometime. In a nutshell, Tweetdeck must be installed on each individual computer, while Hootsuite is a web-only application, and Seesmic offers both versions. I have friends that love each one of them for different reasons.
Why are these applications so valuable?
If you remember nothing else here, keep this in mind: Using a tool like this will enable you to create columns of people and things that YOU deem important. In other words, you can sort out your REAL friends from the masses. You can also set up searches by keyword, which is exceptionally valuable. As a quick example, if you own a local restaurant or furniture business, wouldn’t you like to know every time you get mentioned?
Sadly, many people give up on using Twitter as a business tool before they get around to filtering their feed. It seems overwhelming unless you take the time to narrow it down. Believe me, I felt the same way when I started there.
As of this writing, I have just over 12,000 Twitter followers and I follow close to 9,000 accounts. However, I have about 300 people/accounts in my “Real Friends” column. Obviously, I add (and very occasionally, subtract) people over time, but it’s a focused list of folks that I’m interested in. Maybe I know them “in real life”, or maybe we’ve just had some good conversations online. Either way, these are set apart for easier digestion, as opposed to the social media firehose that Twitter could become if unmanaged.
I hope this helps – thanks for reading!