I recently wrote that Facebook can be a loud noise if left unorganized, but Twitter can be even worse. What puts me off using Twitter more than I do, is the speed in which new posts come in – at times, it can be insane (especially if you are following news organizations such as the BBC or CNN).
And then there’s the recent introduction of Twitter video which autoplays (unless you stop that in the settings). Therefore, it can be very easy to miss quality content, and stress yourself out trying to keep up.
If you find yourself nodding in agreement to all of this, what you need is a good dose of organization and control. Here’s the tricks and tweaks I’ve been using to tame that wild Twitter beast.
Comb Through the People You Are Following & Prune Ruthlessly
It’s easy to hit that Follow button on too many people. You see a few tweets of theirs that you like, and you start to follow them. Pretty soon, they are tweeting a pile of crap, about what they had for breakfast, and about their belly button lint. They are polluting your Twitter stream, but for some reason, you are too lazy to go to their page and nuke them.
So you can get rid of some of the noise by deleting all of the accounts you don’t care for anymore. Be ruthless and show no mercy. Trust me, it will soon start to feel good.
Mute People Who Are Either Annoying or Won’t Shut up (Or Block Them Permanently)
A lot of people on Twitter are lovely and nice to talk to. But there is also a segment who don’t know when to shut up, they post too much, or they generally love being obnoxious individuals. Thankfully, you can silence them and remove them from your Twitter stream with just a click of the mouse.
If you are on the Twitter website, click the three horizontal dots underneath the tweet. This gives you a menu with some options. Two of which are “mute” and “block“. What is the difference? Muting someone means you are removing them from your Twitter stream, without unfollowing them. They will have no idea they are muted, but they can still send you direct messages, and appear in your Notifications tab.
Blocking on the other hand is a bit more permanent. They can’t follow you or see your tweets. They cannot interact with you in any way, and they will know they are blocked if they visit your Twitter page. Also, blocking someone automatically unfollows them.
So look upon muting as just taking a break from someone with the intention of coming back to them later. On the other hand, look upon blocking as kicking them out the front door, pumping up the shotgun, and changing the locks.
Categorize the People You’re Following Into Lists
This is something which admittedly I don’t really do. Twitter lists and I have never really gelled, but I can still see the value of doing it. I’m just too lazy to sit and tediously categorize every single person I’m following.
As you can see above, all you need to do is go to the person’s Twitter page, and in the settings area is an option which says “Add or remove from lists”. Your lists will then come up, and if you don’t have any yet, you will be asked to create one.
Simply tick the box that applies to the person (or create a new list for them), and press enter to come back out of the box. Be aware that the person will see in their Notifications tab that they have been added to your list. So don’t start getting any ideas about making obscene-sounding list titles. Not unless you want a pissed-off tweet coming back at you.
Opt Out of Promoted Content
Twitter has what is called “tailored ads”, which is when they work together with an ad partner to bring you an ad which they feel is relevant to you. So if Acme Products wants to advertise their fantastic flying rockets, then they would look to see who has been expressing an interest in rockets on Twitter (here’s looking at you, Wiley Coyote). They would do this by examining Tweets with relevant hashtags.
If you would prefer not to receive these kinds of ads, you can opt out of them. Turn on “Do Not Track” to stay out of this kind of advertising. But this does not stop other kinds of advertising from appearing in your stream.
Stop Being Added to Someone’s Team
This is a feature which is not talked about so much, but is hugely useful from a productive point of view. Several people can use the same Twitter account without having to know the password, by using Tweetdeck. This means that teams and online customer service departments can share the company Twitter account. One person handles the account, while others are granted access as either an admin or a contributor.
But if you don’t want to be added to a team, you can put a stop to it right here. Just deselect the “Allow anyone to add me to their team” and you won’t wake up in the morning to any unpleasant surprises.
Disable Receiving Direct Messages From Anyone
Ever since Twitter removed the 140 character limit for direct messages, the Direct Messaging feature (and group DMs) has essentially become another email inbox. Since I can barely keep up with my normal email, having long messages coming through Twitter is something I can really do without. So unchecking “Receive Direct Messages from anyone” will stop your direct messaging inbox from being hit by an avalanche of soul-sucking dreck.
Snooze Your Texts From Twitter
This is one for people who don’t have smartphones, and who rely on text messages to hear from Twitter (and also to send tweets, depending on your location). With this setting, you can specify which notifications you want to receive and when the notifications are to be turned off, so you can get some peace and quiet. So obviously you would choose during the night so your phone doesn’t keep pinging with new messages, waking you and the significant other up.
Severely Curb Your Email Notifications
Email notifications can be great in some cases, but when it comes to high volume sites like Twitter, having lots of email notifications rushing into your inbox is not a great idea. Therefore it may be prudent for you to turn off all email notifications altogether. Your Twitter experience won’t be any less if you don’t have their email notifications. And your email inbox will be happy too.
Use TweetDeck or Hootsuite
Both enable you to have multiple accounts so checking them all is a matter of just switching between tabs. You can have different columns side-by-side, which also includes monitoring search terms and usernames. It really is easy to check for updates when you have everything arranged in this way.
How Do You Arrange Your Twitter Account?
Everybody’s Twitter account is unique, so every user will have their own way of personalizing what they see and don’t see. Let us know in the comments below what your strategies are for keeping your Twitter stream under control.