Time and time again the first questions asked by people new to Twitter are "How do I use it?" and "Why do I need to be on Twitter?" However, these questions aren't just asked by new Twitter users, but also by people who have been on Twitter for months, even years.
With over 500 million registered users, over 200 million active users and with 340,000,000 tweets sent a day it can be easy for anyone to get lost in Twitter activity. Facebook recently launched the 'new' News Feed which aims to remove clutter and noise, but did you know that you already had the power on Twitter to do this?
So how do you make sense of all the Twitter noise?
What's Your Twitter Goal?
First thing you need to do before you use any social medium is to determine what the goal(s) are for using the network. Twitter is such an amazing tool that it can be customised to suit your needs perfectly. Are you using Twitter for business reasons and want to stay up to date on the latest industry news? Are you a mad baseball fan and want to stay up to date with your team, baseball news and interact with like-minded people? Once you have determined your goals you can then begin to make sense of the noise for personal or professional use.
Home Feed Fail
If you are using your home feed and home feed only, then stop right now: you are doing it wrong. Even if you are only following a couple hundred people, your home feed is going to show all their tweets and retweets, creating an overload of Twitter activity to search through if you want to find something relevant to engage with. So this is not the most effective way to be using Twitter when related to your overall goal for being on the network.
Are you using Twitter list? If no, then start using them. If yes, are you using them to their full potential?
Twitter list is a great way to categorise Twitter users into a specific group and allows you to monitor the activity of these list. For example, you could create a Twitter list called 'Social Media Influencers' and in this list add Social Media-based websites and Social Media expert/enthusiast Twitter accounts. Having this list would then allow you to see a clean stream of Twitter activity from these accounts only, making this an extremely effective tool for when you are wanting to keep up with the latest Social Media trends.
Having easy access to these list will allow you to reduce time spent searching for relevant content and increase time spent engaging with quality content and networking with influential Twitter users.
It is also worth noting that to achieve the most out of Twitter lists use a 3rd party Twitter dashboard like Hootsuite or Tweet Deck. These programs will allow you to easily add a List stream to your dashboard so you can always see activity from these lists.
The Twitter hashtag is the lifeblood of Twitter, however even following a hashtag conversation can be quite time consuming to find relevant content that you are looking for. When you are using Twitter to find the latest information/news about a topic you are preferably looking for tweets that contain links, as these tweets will have more information and most likely be from a reliable and influential source. For example if you are searching the hashtag #SocialMedia, which is a very active hashtag you could get lost trying to work your way through all the Twitter activity. Insert the following search term into your Twitter search field and see the results:
This search term allows you to only see tweets containing the hashtag #SocialMedia that have an attached link. Within seconds you have filtered a once cluttered feed to now show all the most reliable and influential tweets.
Similar to the Twitter list add these search terms either as a saved search in Twitter or to your preferred Twitter Dashboard so you can easily access the search activity stream without having to input the search parameters each time.
Whether it is an general hashtag, event or trending topic you might just want to easily see photos relevant to the hashtag. Twitter gives you the ability to view photos within a hashtag and Tweet Deck has just added the feature to show media when you create a search stream, however if you wanted to have complete control over seeing relevant photos of a hashtag insert the following search term (where #mlb can be replaced with any term you like).
"pic.twitter.com" OR "instagr.am" #mlb
This search term will allow you to see all photos Twitter and Instagram based photos tweeted within the specific hashtag. If you are writing an article on a specific topic using this feature is a great way to discover a photo-based tweet, which you could then embed into your article.
As with Twitter List and Link Search be sure to add the photo search term to your saved Twitter search or to your preferred Twitter Dashboard to ensure you have easy access to a constant stream of photos relevant to the specific hashtag.
By using the 3 simple techniques above you are now able to follow and join the conversation of categorised Twitter groups, source quality tweets containing links and find relevant photos about any specific hashtag all while reducing the Twitter noise.
Now enjoy the peace and quite of Twitter and see how much more powerful and productive Twitter can be.