The website www.tweetdeck.com provides a great service for following a topic (eg digital humanities) in a thorough way. The basic Twitter timeline is ephemeral and only has one stream of tweets being displayed. Professor Liu has given us a number of people to follow and a few hashtags to pay attention to. With Twitter’s basic interface, this involves a lot of searching and clicking. With Tweetdeck, you can make columns that gather tweets according to a parameter that you specify: a search, a list of people, a user. It was no big surprise when Twitter bought this company; thousands are using Tweetdeck as their primary way of navigating and following Twitter. I first got into Tweetdeck when I was a day trader and wanted to keep the tweets of some of the best investors up on my screen, divided into their own columns. Now, for the digital humanities, I can set up some columns like this:
Add a column by hitting the + button on the left, and then select how you want that column to be populated. With a hashtag? One of your lists, like the DH list recommended to us? Add as many columns as you want, because you can simply scroll to the right or left if you have more than four columns…so I can still follow the investors that are significantly smarter than me, along with all the digital humanities nerds. Tweetdeck used to allow you to populate columns with data from Facebook, but I think recent friction between Twitter and Facebook has ended that feature.
Tweetdeck has a desktop app for OSX, which simply replicates the web experience and offers nothing new in terms of features. The mobile app for Tweetdeck has been axed by Twitter, presumably because Twitter is most interested in having mobile users use the official Twitter app as their gateway to the platform.
As a friendly word of advice to those new to Twitter: expect a lot of “noise” in your stream, because people rarely tweet about one thing only. Hashtags are generally pretty focused, but I have found there to be tons of non-digital humanities posts when I look at my lists of people. In any case, gems always pop up but sometimes it takes longer to find them. Often the noise is pretty interesting.
You can also tweet from Tweetdeck, making it a one-stop shop.
Does anyone employ other tools that help them use Twitter more powerfully or easily?