Our previous two posts covered what Twitter was (What is Twitter?) and how to set up an account (Getting Started with Twitter). In this article, I am going to introduce TweetDeck, a powerful tool for managing your Twitter account. In fact, it is so essential that Twitter bought it for $40 million. It was built by a London based developer called Iain Dodsworth back in 2008.
TweetDeck is the most powerful application for managing Twitter. It essentially splits Twitter into multiple columns that you have full control over. Tweets can be organised by topic, group, replies and even direct messages. This organisation tool means you are not inundated with a single feed updating faster than you can manage.
TweetDeck is an Adobe Air 1.5 application that will run on any platform. Once installed, it will prompt you to enter your Twitter username and password.
To install the application, please visit:
Once the application has been installed and launched, you will be prompted to set up a Tweetdeck Account. This is an account that is independent from your Twitter account. A TweetDeck account will allow you to manage multiple social media accounts.
Arranging Your Feeds
The multi column layout of TweetDeck makes it very easy to arrange profiles into manageable groups and filter the tweets within each column. When starting out with TweetDeck, some standardized columns are displayed.
On the upper left of the screen is a set of controls you can use to organise columns and tweet directly from TweetDeck using the tweet window.
This standard column displays the tweets directed to you (@yourusername). This is particularly important to keep track of who is communicating with you directly.
This column displays all the direct messages that are sent to you and by you. Twitter tools that autofollow or reply can pose a problem with this column as they flood this column’s feed, negating this feature.
All the profiles you follow can be organised in various lists according to your personal preference. Lists can be created and edited using the Twitter site. The most recent version of TweetDeck does not currently support facilities to create or edit lists. These are my suggestions for organising the people your follow into groups;
Group A –This group should be made up of people that you are following closely such as people directly involved in your organisation, influential profiles and those whose tweets are of particular interest to your industry. Groups you are following closely should be no bigger than about 20 people to ensure you do not miss any information essential to you.
Group B – This group should also contain profiles you have an interest in, mainly key industry profiles you wish to observe. While this group does not need to be as small as the Group A, it is wise not to let this group grow too large (50 profile maximum) as it will become difficult to keep track of the feed.
Group C – If needed, this group should be concerned with specific campaigns, drives or events where profiles need to be followed for a temporary period of time.
A group can be edited at any point in time by selecting the column heading for that group. A popup will open where you can alter the name and members of the group.
The Search Column
The search column displays a feed of tweets for a specified search term. It is useful for keeping an eye on what people are saying about a particular event, product or even your own brand. It is not confined to just the people you are connected to, and therefore, is a highly valuable monitoring tool. The name of your organisation, or keywords associated with it, should be entered into the search daily to gain perspective on your public image.
Column feeds can be further filtered by attributes including time and text, giving you full control over what you see. Checked tweets can be marked and cleared, or the whole column can be cleared completely.
Tweets you wish to go back to and action can be marked as ‘favorite’, this column displays all these tweets marked as favorite. Your TweetDeck columns should be arranged so most critical information that you check most often are on the left, such as replies and direct messages.
Tweets can be re-tweeted, marked as favorite and emailed directly from TweetDeck. Users profile functions such as follow, reply or message can also be done directly in though TweetDeck. By hovering over a tweet the options for that tweet will be made available. By selecting ‘more’, a full comprehensive list of Tweet Tools will be available.
Tweets can be scheduled to be posted at a later time. This is particularly useful if you have a lot of information to tweet out and you would like to tweet it out consistently over a week. When composing a tweet a scheduling option is available at the bottom left of the text input area. This allows you to choose the time and the date of when you want the tweet to be posted out.
Using Bitly with TweetDeck
Bitly is a URL shortening and tracking service. It allows you to see how many people have responded to a link in your tweet. This service can be connected with you TweetDeck so you can compose tweets with links that you can track. In order to connect you bit.ly account, select the gear symbol on the top right of the TweetDeck window and select settings. In the settings for services you will be able to enter you bit.ly username and api key.
This will now connect your TweetDeck with your bit.ly account so you can see how many people have clicked on the links you have posted.