Twitter is perhaps one of the most powerful learning tools presently available; however, it can be a real time sink if not managed effectively.
Currently, I am managing three Twitter accounts; my personal one – @skrabut, one for work – @uwcesedtech, and one for a volunteer organization – @wywgcap. Through these accounts, I am following from 60 to 390 depending upon the account. Additionally, I am following a number of specific interests from aerospace education to informal learning.
With the number of people and ideas I wanted to follow, I quickly realized I needed a tool to bring them all together. For that reason, I chose Tweetdeck to help me manage my feeds.
Tweetdeck allows me to efficiently do some important things:
1. Update Multiple Accounts with One Post – There are times when I have information that I want to send to different Twitter accounts. Tweetdeck allows me to do this by simply selecting all the accounts I to which want to send a message. Not only can I send to the three Twitter accounts I am using, I can also send updates to my LinkedIn and Facebook accounts as well as my six Facebook Fan pages. For me, this is a powerful feature.
2. Follow Twitter Feeds – With Tweetdeck, I can easily follow, reply, retweet, and direct message the folks whom I follow. I can also follow, comment, and message my LinkedIn and Facebook feeds.
3. Follow Search Queries – This is perhaps the most powerful feature I use to help me keep an eye on things that interest me. I have set up searches to monitor what is being said on topics of interest such as “informal learning” and “aerospace education;” on places such as “Laramie,” “Tunkhannock,” and the “University of Wyoming;” and organizations such as the “Civil Air Patrol” and the “Bujinkan.” It is possible to set up a search on the fly and monitor it for a short time. I often do this to follow conference proceedings that use a hashtag. Presently, I am following #ASTD2011 as I get ready to attend the conference in May.
4. Reviewing New Followers – I recently started to display the “New Followers” column on Tweetdeck for each of my accounts. This makes it easy for me to see who I am following and not following, as well as provide an quick link to review their profiles.
5. Following Customized Lists – This is another feature that I have started to use extensively. My list of 390 people I follow can be a bit overwhelming at times. With lists, I can group and organize them based on the reason I am following them. For example, I just ran across a list of recommend people who write about education and elearning, I created a list to follow only these people. I also have a list of people from the University of Wyoming whom I follow. The benefit of the list is that it can be shared with others.
Tweetdeck lets me keep a finger on the pulse of information. How are you managing your feeds?