Using TweetDeck to Make Twitter Sane

Ian Lurie

Twitter is the web’s water cooler. Lots of people hang out and chat. I’ll talk about the business uses another time. For now, understand this: Twitter is insane. Get a few hundred friends and their tweets racing past you like ants heading for a picnic.
There are a lot of tools out there to help you manage the flood of information. My personal favorite is TweetDeck. It’s got a multi-column format that lets me organize my twitter friends, their messages and other stuff:
Here’s how you set up:

Download and Install Tweetdeck

Download Tweetdeck and install it. When prompted, enter your Twitter username and password. Phew. That was hard.

The Buttons

Once you run Tweetdeck, you may just see a single column, like this:
Click this button at the upper-right-hand corner of the window:
Voila! You’ve got more columns. Each of those columns can give you a different view of Twitter’s data.
Remove columns you don’t want by clicking the ‘x’ at the upper-right of each column:

Set Up Your Desktop

Then add the columns you need. I’d definitely start with these four:
All friends shows the tweets of everyone you currently follow.
Replies shows you all tweets replying to you.
Groups is invaluable. Use it to break up your hundreds of friends into smaller, more manageable groups, like ‘Twitterati’ and ‘Rock stars’.
Twitter search lets you constantly monitor search results for a specific keyword. For example, you might monitor search results for your brand name, or your favorite food:

Try All The Buttons

There are other cool features. You can list all direct messages, for example. The buttons at the bottom of each column let you filter that column by keywords, mark ’em as stuff you’ve already seen and other fun things.
Tweetdeck is super-versatile, and I’m no longer part of the Twitter Elite. If you find other cool tricks, be sure to leave a comment.
Got any questions? You can always follow me on Twitter: I’m @portentint.
Update. Just found a great post that lists 12 Twitter Tools you need. Diane’s list is comprehensive. So I won’t have to write one.

Why I Wrote This
I’ve made fun of Twitter. I’ve promised not to write about it. But if you know me you know that I’m (A) Easily bribed, (B) A lightweight, (C) Fickle.
I just had dinner with two great clients who shall remain nameless. They plied me with booze, asked me about Twitter and said I should write it down. Now I’m buzzed on Diet Coke, slightly tipsy from one whole beer and there you go.

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Ian Lurie
CEO & Founder

Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent and the EVP of Marketing Services at Clearlink. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). He's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Follow him on Twitter at portentint, and on LinkedIn at

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  1. TweetDeck is by far the best Twitter app out there right now.
    I also tried Twitter Fox, Using Twitter through Digsby, Destroy Twitter and twhirl (close second place for me)…
    What would psuh TweetDeck to the next level? The ability to manage multiple Twitter accounts…
    I’m following you right? Follow me too!! 😉 – @seosurvivor

  2. I love tweetdeck! Single problem is that sometimes it clogs resources and has to be restarted… Maybe it is adobe air problem on my PC.

  3. OK – I’m a TweetDeck noob, but maybe this’ll help someone. You skipped over something very important, but maybe you did because it’s so obvious. So obvious, in fact, that I missed it.
    On a particular tweet, if you mouseover the person’s image, you can reply, RT, DM or select from a list of other actions. Finally, RT-ing made easy!

  4. Download? Download, did you say? On my dial-up connection in the NC backwoods? Arrrrggggghhhh, the pain and agony!!

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