Help Me Get My Twitter Magic Back!

Help Me Get My Twitter Magic Back!

Twitter loveLately I am feeling like I have lost the Twitter love. Life was fine when I was only following 150 people but now past 200 I am finding it hard to ensure I don’t miss the important conversations.

Twitter is a very important source for the latest news within our networks — look at the impact on Michele’s quick post as a result of twitter. If you have not got into Twitter and are wondering what all the fuss is about I suggest you listen to this podcast or read the transcript of the podcast.

The trouble is there is a minefield of applications and ways you can use Twitter but not necessarily any quick tips on getting more out of using Twitter. Trust me — I have been looking for the solution to managing my twitter account more effectively with no luck.

SO I am hoping my readers will share their tips on getting more out of Twitter so we can all benefit. I want my Twitter magic back!

Here is where I am at so far:

Prefer Twitter Web Interface

I use Gtalk for twitter notifications but mainly read directly through my twitter web page. Have also added a Twitter gadget to my iGoogle homepage which is really cool except that is only shows the last 20 tweets.

Tried RSS into Google Reader

Overnight twittering is important to me because this is when a lot of important news is shared. Subscribing to my RSS feed using Google Reader is okay except it doesn’t feed through all tweets i.e. doesn’t include tweets from locked Twitter account.

So my solution has been to:

  • Scroll back through my twitter pages which is a slow process
  • Check my replies pages for any tweets directly specifically at me


So what are your thoughts? I don’t want to have to start limiting my followers, or removing followers.

What are your tips for using Twitter more effectively?

17 thoughts on “Help Me Get My Twitter Magic Back!

  1. If you use Firefox I find that the sidebar apps work well, Tweetbar or Twitbin. Also, I personally really like Snitter, a client that runs on the AIR – it’s easy to use, and is simple to follow.

    Overnight, if your creating a big backlog, Twitbin and Snitter might fail you. Twitbin only shows so many tweets at once and I’ve had Snitter stop saving new tweets after awhile until I ‘cleared’ the backlog.

  2. one idea is to be selective of who you follow. (please excuse this post if you have already thought about all this) Rather than follow everyone in a network, select particular peeps in a network who are well connected with people/areas with which you are interested. for example you may choose to not follow me, but pick up on some of what i am doing/posting from those beside me in the network eg hwakelam or theother66. because of the honeycomb nature of networks, information will still find it’s way to you as the network find’s it’s way around the gaps. So for example I choose not to follow everyone I think is important in education in Australia (not to mention Europe, Britain and the US), but to pick the eyes out of the network choosing individuals who look interesting. I do the same for other areas of interest, as well as geographic locations. I am interested in a particular educator in England – he twitters rarely so I find it better to leapfrog him to follow those he follows who actively tweet, who then provide an angle on what he is doing. Or I don’t follow Stephen Downes (what sacrilege!) but get enough of a glimpse of his activity from others I follow. I let other tweeters act as something of a conduit and/or filter.

    Similarly I am interested in Berlin, typed Berlin into the search, and selected a few tweets who live there that looked interesting. Somehow info moves around these disparate connections between berlin, Australia and elsewhere, seemingly without me having to tweet or post about it. And I contribute something where I can.

    And I will probably have to cull some I follow as the numbers I follow increase. This will be an interesting process – a bit like filtering the difference between mental activity and thinking. Who are those tweeters who extend me in my thinking and feeling versus those who just provide online bubble-wrap/filler? (of which I include myself as guilty at times).

    Hope you find the love again – I’ve learnt much from you via twitter. Check out Ignatia’s tweet re a loving video: – perhaps more filler but I was moved.

  3. You’ve pretty much described the same steps I tried, and pretty much page through the web interface. I dont feel a super strong compulsion to “keep up” and am hardly depressed if I “miss something”. It just flows on, and you can hop in and out without much loss.

    Also, as Joanna hints, I am pretty selective with whom I follow. I fail to reciprocate on about 95% of the following notifications I get, and only nab the ones for people I know. Maybe every few months, I go in an prune the accounts where there have not been updates in a long time.

  4. Thanks Warlach I have installed Tweetbar and downloaded snitter. Will start by playing with these two first. So far really like Snitter. As you say nice interface – much better than Gtalk which has been annoying me. Only problem I can see — pretty major really is these options would required me to leave the computer on overnight which was something I had not planned on.

    Hi Joanna – based on my responses so far I will need to do an updated post on what I have learnt with a summary of peoples comments so that you can pick and choose the best option for your situation. I did start off with good intentions and had planned to keep my number at 50.

    Hi Howard
    1) How could I possibly delete you, Harriet or theother66 🙂 Would be like having to choose between my kids. The trouble is I gain differently from each of you (and love driving Harriet crazy).
    2) Very interesting point you make about choosing a certain number of people from a range of areas. Worth considering.
    3) As a general rule I don’t add people who already have a large number of followers. Very occasionally I will however if they don’t add me back I will often remove them because I am interested in the conversation and one way communication has no appeal to me. Like writing a comment on a person’s blog who rarely responds to commenters.
    4) I am also not following Stephen Downes (although if he added me I would follow him).
    5) Actually wondering if part of the loss is because there hasn’t been really exciting activities like Ustream for awhile.

    Interesting Alan, Steve Dembo said the same thing. He says he easily manages following 500 and says he is doing the same thing. I can only assume he is listening out for the noise. But I missed out and didn’t hear about the secret Santa he organised. NOT fair. And in your situation I can totally understand why you are very selective in who you do add because you would have a large number of requests.

    Nope Gigicogo I think there is absolutely nothing unusual with that suggestion at all. Especially if we could choose the voices the tweets came through with. Hopefully a programmer will read our requests and come up a great solution that stores the tweets I miss when I am off line plus reads them for you when you are driving.

  5. I just wrote about this as well. My solution is to follow people who follow me AND tend to provide good resources instead of chatter. It’s fun to get to know people, but I didn’t have time to go back through pages of tweets each morning either. Selective listening, as one of your commenters said. And if it’s important, I’ll see it somewhere!

  6. Hi Susan – thanks for telling me about your blog post on the same topic. I enjoyed reading your post and learning how you are handling it.

    Have to admit I am one of the worst offenders for chatter – but in my defense most of it is directed at individuals and my network that follows the same individuals are all like this. It is just part of our community interaction.

    I think you are right though about selective listening – I just have to be more effective with it.

  7. Hint.

    In both Firefox and Safari I set up the “Bookmark Toolbar”. I have a folder on that toolbar called “Twitter”. Inside that folder I have Twitter bookmarked. Then I go one page “older” in Twitter and bookmark that, calling it “Twitter 2”. Continue doing that until you get to “Twitter 10”. (Twitter only lets you go that far back.)

    When I need to “catch up”, I click on the folder and say “open folder in tabs”. It opens 10 pages worth of Twitter.

  8. The last point I forgot to make was to not worry about missing stuff. As Alan said, it’s a stream. Same with RSS – if it gets out of control, just cull all the unread and start again.

    If it’s important it will make its way back to you, most of Twitter isn’t afterall, but it is fun. 🙂

  9. Thanks for these links by the way Sue. There are two types of solution to your problem as I see it: the technical one which people have suggested here, or a process one. Howard suggests some good process ones. Another is to just make the shift to accepting that you will miss some conversations, like blog posts – you know you can’t read them all, but accept that you’ll get enough of the overall conversation. Or does that make the conversations in Twitter too fragmented?
    Are hashtags any use here? I haven’t really got my head around them. But could you follow selected hashtags from certain people. e.g. ‘Most of what that mweller posts is rubbish, but if he tags something ‘VLE’ then I’ll read it.’ Of course this would rely on people using hashtags regularly.

  10. I can’t add anything truly original to the conversation here but I want to reiterate some points that were made:
    – don’t fret what you’ve missed, I believe if it is truly important it will surface again either in the blogosphere or someone will tweet it again.
    – I try to limit who I follow to around 150 people (this comes from Gladwell’s The Tipping Point) and the fact that I find it simply too hard to filter from too many folks. While I don’t like to unfollow other Twits I will do it to keep the value in my network (addition by subtraction).

  11. Hi John – thanks for your tip re-Firefox and Safari with using Bookmarks. I had never thought of doing that but it is such a great idea. However you can go back further than 10 pages if you manually type in the number (a trick Darren taught me). But for me 10 pages should be enough.

    Hi Warlach – Snitter is really helping me. Definitely feeling the love again – although my followers may be feeling spammed by now. Agree re the out of control but I am a bit of a control freak (according to the hubby). Even with my RSS very reluctant to press Mark All As Read. Definitely need to work on this.

    Hi Martin – you have put the whole twitter issue in total perspective. Definitely helps to break apart the process vs technical issue. I agree I have to accept that loss of some of the conversation which I have learnt with blog posts. I have just set up my systems in RSS to become very efficient at reading posts so it is just a matter of been better with my systems at twitter. I had not heard of hashtags until you mentioned them here and as you say it will not work if people don’t use them. However the tracking feature they have now added is definitely worth looking into.

    Actually Brian you are wrong you have definitely added more information and food for thought. I had heard of the magic number but never Gladwell’s The Tipping Point. Looks like I have another book that I will need to read. Thanks for adding your comment.

  12. You made me muse – and yes you do enjoy winding me up 🙂

    Better late than never and after much musing about this post –

    I think that when it gets too large it stops being personal – Then the conversations lose that personal edge which is what drew us in in the first place….

    Perhaps there are dual levels of the relationship – the more personal – Charlie Schick’s me and mine – AND the global – it is sure complex – and very much like a real life relationship…..

    Thanks for starting this

  13. One solution I use for keeping up with a steadily growing network is MultiTweet. It was designed to let you get multiple twitter accounts through one interface. But in addition to that, it lets you see the last 500 twits in your stream in a scrolling window. So you can move around in the stream easier.

    FYI: I found your blog because of twitter. One of my friends suggested I put my blog on and I saw your post there while browsing it. I guess you might say I am addicted to twitter 🙂

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