Staying on Top of Twitter

Q: As I increase my Twitter presence, following more users and gaining more followers, I'm overwhelmed by all of the incoming tweets, retweets and replies. What tools can I use to help organize my account?

A: For Twitter users just beginning to amass a following and followers, logging onto Twitter.com and watching the Tweet timeline works well enough for monitoring account activity. But as users accumulate a bigger network, Tweets come in at a faster pace, things start getting lost and its difficult to keep up with the conversation -- and isn't that the point of Twitter in the first place?

If you want to ensure that you're informed and involved in the most important Twitter conversations, employing some simple organizational tools will help manage your account.

The site's new design -- which is still only available to select users -- has improved upon its old format, placing the "@Mentions" and "Retweets" tabs just above the Twitter feed. These tabs help to filter Tweets that involve your account, making keeping up with conversations much easier.

But perhaps the most useful organizational tool on the site is the list function. Lists allow for categorization of people you follow, and they work much like folders or labels. To create a list just click the "List" tab and create a category. Then add whoever you want to the group. To do this, visit their profile, click on the icon and check the proper list. Now you can monitor whichever feeds interest you.

While the site's redesign has created a better experience, many users still use the service through third party applications, such as TweetDeck and HootSuite. Much like Twitter's lists, these services allow users to organize Tweets into useful columns for easy reference. While it seems that TweetDeck is the most popular application, users have expressed a preference for HootSuite's scheduling tool.

Tools mentioned in this entry:

More questions? View the complete Toolkit archive.

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Rebecca Greenfield is a former staff writer at The Wire.

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