Friday, October 8, 2010

NewTwitter v. TweetDeck and Lists

As always, let me start by reminding you that these opinions are simply my own at now official statements by Intel.
I've tried the #NewTwitter. It is better. If I were a casual user of twitter, I can't imagine wanting anything more.

However, I'm a twitaholic. I'm a retweet addict. I'm a junky for my stream. I can't get enough twitter. I follow over a thousand other tweeps, well as best I can.

Therein lies the rub. By the time I was following 50 or so other people, it got to be more than I could handle. I was drowning in too much good information. Now, the problem is at least 20 times worse.

Part of the solution is simply giving up. Don't get too attached to your stream, you can't hold onto it. Appreciate what it gives you, but let the part you've missed go by. It will anyway.

However, there are other tools that can help get your stream to you in a better fashion. In particular, I'm talking about lists and tools that bring up multiple lists as multiple columns. If you really want to immerse yourself in your stream, I highly recommend this as the way to do it.

The first thing I recommend is finding a multi-column client you like. My personal favorite is tweetdeck. However, many people I know use seesmic. For a while I used a client called peoplebrowsr.

Now, what is a multi-column client? A multi-column client is a twitter viewer that shows several different twitter streams at the same time, in columns.

Different streams you ask? That's where twitter lists come in. You take the people you follow and divide them up into lists. Some useful categories are those tweeps you follow because they relate to your work. Others you follow because you like to chat with them for personal reasons. Maybe another group are your news sources.

I have lists like that: Originally, "security-all" were all the people I followed who talked about computer security. That was until there were more than 500 of them and I had to add "security-2". I have a separate list for "online-safety" who are those tweeps who give security advice. I have yet still a fourth list "parenting" for tweeps who give parenting advice. I also have a "law" list and one for "CIO/CISO" tweeps.

I also have a list of "Intel" people. Those are folks I work with, or who often talk about Intel, where I work. Since I have spent most of my life as a computer person, I also have a "programming" list.

Then, there are personal lists "personal" and "potential".

As you see, you can slice and dice the people into as many categories as you like. You don't even need to strictly divide them. I have several people on more than one list. That helps keep their tweets from scrolling off the screen.

Now, I don't necessarily recommend that you have quite as many lists as I have. Yes, you can finely divide your world, but even with a multi-column client, you can only see so many lists at one time. I have a nice high-resolution monitor and I can only fit seven columns on the screen at once. Moreover, you can't really watch even seven columns. Well, at least I can't. So, if you make too many lists, you will find yourself following some less than you like.

But, the point is with seven columns on the screen, each representing a different aspect of what I am interested in. My twitter world is very rich for me. I can almost always find something in one of the columns that is relevant, pull up the link in the tweet, read more in depth, and then if I like fire off an RT.

And, the different columns because they represent different aspects, never get completely filled even by the most aggressive tweeter. The most such a person can do is hog a column (or two) and other tweeps still get my attention. Which is nice, I can follow people who tweet a lot and still hear those still small voices of the quiet ones too. I like that.

Thus, there is your recommendation for the day. If you find following your stream too hard, divide into smaller pieces so you can more easily digest it. A multi-column client with some lists is one way to do so.