Twitter Help, Anyone?

Picture by Appfrica

It’s taking me a little time in 2011 to get into a blogging groove.

My New Year’s Resolutions seem to be getting in the way. In fact, each year, I resolve NOT to make resolutions. But then I can’t help it, and I do.

You see, I love lists. I love making lists. I love crossing items off lists. I love reading other people’s lists. It’s really a compulsion for me, and January is sort of my favorite time of year.

Some of my goals this year are getting yoga certified, publishing more freelance writing, volunteering on a weekly basis, cooking from scratch, and being nicer to my husband.

I’ve also resolved to finally master Twitter.

Let me start of by saying, I understand Twitter on a basic level. I follow people and they follow me. I appreciate the brevity of the posts.

But what I can’t seem to grasp is how a person manages Twitter efficiently.

How does one sift through all the articles and advice and other people’s minutiae and still maintain productivity elsewhere in life?

How does it make it your life easier or better? How does it help you connect?

I only have the attention span to scroll through and read a few Twitter links before my eyes glaze over. I don’t  even make a dent in what’s been posted within the last 24 hours.

So I’m calling on you for help. What’s your approach? How do you use it? Do you have a time limit? I need a strategy, PLEASE!


10 thoughts on “Twitter Help, Anyone?

  1. Mary,
    Rule no. 1: don’t think you can keep up with all the messages. Just let them flow by. However, there are a couple of ideas in order to use Twitter efficiently:

    1. Use search. Search on keywords (incl. the hashtag # ones) if you are looking for news on a certain topic. If you use Tweetdeck can you create a special column that is only delivering tweets about that special subject!

    2. I am following almost 800 people. But I’m creating a Top 150 list in Twitter of people who I think deliver awesome and valuable content all the time. I just look at this list if time is lacking.

    3. Go to With Feedera you can set-up a daily e-mail with a digest of the most important tweets, articles and re-tweets. It helps.

    My two cents, good luck!

    • maryrichardson

      Dear Emiel,
      This is great advice. I never even considered a search function or going on there to read purposefully. I usually just open it up and jump in, so I will take this to heart. And let go of my need to read it all!

  2. There’s so much to learn about Twitter and doing it efficiently that it took me months!

    I use Tweetdeck to create and manage lists. You can download it for free. It’s too easy to get sucked into wasting time on Twitter so it’s best to give yourself a time limit.

    • maryrichardson

      Dear Andi,
      Lots of people share that same feeling. I’m not there yet in the sense I feel it’s that useful to me. Maybe when I figure out how to do it…

  3. I’m a fan of making lists too. They’re fun and comforting and exciting all at the same time!

    I’ll admit that I’m completely lost when it comes to Twitter. The only one in our little cottage who has a Twitter account is the cat, and quite how she has one (given she doesn’t have opposable thumbs and I had no idea she could type…let alone read) is a mystery to me. 😉

    • maryrichardson

      Yay for list lovers! They’re great, aren’t they? My husband just shakes his head at me, but I feel such a sense of purpose crossing things off my list at the end of the day…. I wonder if my cat has a secret twitter account too…

  4. I’m looking at no less than 6 different lists right now, and if a task is on multiple lists I even enjoy crossing it off twice. : )

    As for Twitter, it took me a while to get the hang of it. I don’t try to read all the tweets, but I’ll check in on certain people’s accounts that I normally find interesting/helpful (like @collazoprojects or @thefutureisred) and click through on whatever looks like something I’d want to read. I try to limit myself to only 15-20 minutes a day, because otherwise it gets overwhelming.

    I use it for the following:

    1) promoting my own blog posts and Matador articles
    2) sharing articles I find useful/interesting with my followers, this could be something I find while browsing or a ‘retweet’ of someone else’s stuff
    3) communicating with other writers/bloggers/holistic moms/teachers

    I’ve actually ‘met’ a lot of people via Twitter and have found some great resources via links in the twitter stream. I create lists of people whose tweets I find most interesting and check the lists once every few days (when I have time).

    I think it just takes time and actually using it to get the hang of it!

  5. I ignore a lot of what others tweet. I wouldn’t be able to handle it otherwise. Plus, make good use of lists. Organization is key to Twitter.

    But I think the main thing about getting good at Twitter is just practice. I went into Twitter knowing very little about it. I was really confused at first. But now I have the hang of it.

    It can be a fun, but addictive thing to be on.

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