Declutter Your Tweetstream

Twitter has a way of getting overwhelming, especially when you follow a lot of industry professionals and businesses. Follow enough people and your Tweetstream will be filled with live-tweeted television and sports, book promotion, political movements from a multitude of countries and endless retweets.

If you’re like me, you follow people because you want to see them, they tweet something that is of value to you. But this doesn’t mean every tweet holds value and that you want to see everything they pass along. So how can you cut back on the extra stuff without cutting back on the content you want to see?

My first suggestion would be to use lists. The list feature allows you to pull tweets without following the tweeter. I like this option for agents and editors who share useful information, but aren’t likely to interact or follow me. Their tweets are on the list and available for me to look over at my leisure, but they aren’t adding to my already-full tweetstream.

One great way to manage those lists is to use an application, such as Tweetdeck, that displays those lists in columns. You can make lists for high-priority tweeters, like crit partners, editors and friends, and have tweetdeck display those as they appear, making them easier for you to see. Tweetdeck will also allow you to make columns for specific hashtags so you can follow conversations, events and subject matter.

Another thing that can glut your tweetstreeam is serial retweeting. I think most of us have run into this, someone who retweets every promotional, inspirational or political tweet that comes through, often all at once. While they tweet great stuff on their own, having ten tweets passed along in under a minute gets old really fast. So how to handle this serial retweeter without losing the interesting stuff you want?

Luckily, Twitter has a scorched-earth option for this. You can turn off all retweets from specific users. Keep in mind, this will also prevent useful retweets from coming through, so use with care. On the Twitter website, click on the user and pull up their profile. Beside the “follow” button there will be a gear icon. click it and you will find an option for hiding retweets by that user. This isn’t the right option for every retweet, but it will put a stop to specific sources.

My most-used tweet filter is available through Tweetdeck… the mute option. While Twitter allows you to mute people, Tweetdeck lets you mute specific words, people and sources. I started with sources that cluttered my stream. I love me some Tumblr, but tweeted posts from blogs, Pinterest, Facebook and other sources can be distracting, and when you follow hundreds of people, they can add up fast. Muting those sources can remove then from the tweetstream and I can visit my favorite blogs when I have time, plus interesting blog posts can still hit my tweetstream when shared by a friend.

Muting specific words or phrases can get rid of tons of clutter as well. I don’t watch television, but many of my friends love tweeting shows, usually with hashtags. By blocking the show hashtags, I remove them from my stream. The same thing goes for political hotbuttons, event promotion, book promotion and more. If it’s showing up a lot and I don’t want to see it, I can mute it.

With these tools, I cut the Twitter clutter while holding on to the tweets I want to see.

What Twitter clutter do you want to get rid of?