How to manage the noise

I did a workshop on April 17 in Richmond called Art at Work. One of the themes that kept coming up about social media, and Twitter specifically, was how “noisy” it is.

For the beginning user, Twitter can be overwhelming. You have 100s of tweets coming at you every minute, and how do you distinguish between what’s important and what’s not? While I’m a big advocate of not tweeting every thought that passes through your brain, not everyone who’s on Twitter has that attitude, so there can be a lot of dreck to wade through until you get to the good stuff.

Here’s a great graphic from Wikipedia about what’s going on on Twitter:
The top two categories: Pointless babble and Conversations, make up fully 78% of whats going on on Twitter at any given time.

Here are some tips for managing the noise:

  1. Let go of the notion that you need to read every single tweet. If something is really important, the information will find its way to you.
  2. Learn to skim tweets and look for the things you are really interested in.
  3. Use a Twitter platform to manage your Twitter stream. Once you start following more than 200 people, you need a better way of managing your stream than the Twitter website interface (or even interfaces with add-ons, like Power Twitter). The three main platforms that most people use are TweetDeck, HootSuite and Seesmic Desktop.
    What these platforms allow you to do are to group the people you are following into categories that allow you to priortize those folks that are the most important. For example, in mine, I have a group for “Friends,” “Theatre,” “Media,” and “Business.” It allows me to, at a glance, see the latest tweets from those folks that I deem to be the movers and shakers. I can then retweet things that catch my eye, respond to tweets, etc.

I use a Twitter platform called Seesmic Desktop. What I like about this, in addition to being able to categorize my followers, is that it has built-in link shortening, photo and video attachments, and I can manage several Twitter accounts without having to sign out and sign back in again.

But I’d encourage you to ask around, see what recommendations people have for you, and then try out some of the more popular ones yourself to see which one suits you best.

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Rebecca Coleman

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Author, Teacher, Trainer. Passionate foodie, mom to Michael, fueled by Americanos. I love my bike. Soon-to-be cookbook author. Localvore with a wanderlust.

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