Clown Control: Managing the Twitter Circus

Twitter circus antonia harler socialglitzOMFG – another GUEST POST? Yes, Preeeeeeeeeeecccccious, it’s true. Today, we have the bubbly and slightly snarky Antonia Harler. Antonia holds a degree in Management, Communications & IT and works as a social media strategist at Paratus Communications. For more information about Antonia, visit her blog, follow her on Twitter or join her on the SocialGlitz Facebook Fan Page.

I started a new job a few weeks ago, which is completely irrelevant in context of this post, except it’s not. It made me realize something. I no longer have time for BS on Twitter. But sadly, Twitter seems to be turning into a mad circus full of creepy clowns that shamelessly self promote, are not afraid to spam you with useless links or simply tweet for the sake of tweeting. And let’s not forget about those, who think it’s unnecessary to read the content they are tweeting.

I know I’m not alone with this feeling. I see a lot of Tweets every day complaining about the uselessness of some users, which begs the question whether or not it’s our fault for following them or if “they” just forget that they are dealing with actual people.

Don’t get me wrong. I *love* Twitter and the opportunities it has presented to me. But this kind of BS made me miss all the good stuff that’s floating around in the Twitterverse. And I refuse to miss it. That’s why, much unlike myself, I started to organize and plan. Scary, right? But it’s made such a difference.

And today, our amazing redhead, allowed me to share. (Holy sweet Jesus on a cracker!!) Anyway, here are some nifty tips and tricks to filter through the noise and kick the creepy Twitter clowns in the butt.

  • Twitter clients! I’ve been in love with Tweetdeck from the start but there are many others. Hootsuite & Seesmic to name just two of the most popular. Whichever you decide to choose, you’ll be in heaven. The options they present to you are almost infinite, which brings me to my second point:
  • Lists, lists, lists! I refused to use them for a long time. If you are unconvinced, take it from me, they are magic. By organizing the people you follow and putting them into lists you cut out 75 % of the noise. MAGIC. All of a sudden you don’t miss the good stuff anymore and even if you do, you can scroll down without having to read hundreds of useless Tweets. (Sidenote: Start using lists soon after joining Twitter. It will save you a ton of work in the longrun.)
  • Re-evaluate and curate your stream! Now this, my lovelies, is an ongoing process. As much as I wish it wasn’t, it is. By unfollowing people that add no value to your stream, and instead adding people that do, you avoid a lot of frustration.
  • Use #hashtags! Twitter hashtags are popular for Twitter chats, conferences and events but they are also a great way to organize yourself. If you and your followers agree to append a certain hashtag to Tweets about a particular topic, it becomes easier to find said topic in search and it’s also more likely for the topic to appear in Twitter’s trending topics.
  • Don’t Auto Follow! There’s a great big myth floating around that says that the more followers you have the more influential you are. For some that may even be true but for the most part I think differently. The number of followers you have is irrelevant as long as your audience is there to listen to *you*. Be picky about who you follow. Quality over quantity.
  • If all of the above doesn’t help, consider using a tool such as Proxlet. It’s a tool I’ve secretly been dreaming about. It let’s you block apps, filter Twitter tags and mute users (without unfollowing them) for a day, a week, or.. gasp.. forever! A puppy just got wings! And to top it all off, it doesn’t only work on the web but also with Desktop and mobile clients.  Brilliant!

By following those steps, I’ve transformed my Twitter experience and actually managed to make the most of it while working full time. Do you think I’ve missed something? Then PLEASE, share it in the comment section. And if you have a question, then post that too. If I don’t know the answer, I’m pretty sure Erika will. And in case Erika doesn’t.. gasp gasp.. I’m pretty sure someone else in this lovely community will.

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FYI, Antonia & Social Glitz are the authors of the immensely helpful Ultimate List of Free Social Media Tools. You owe it to yourself to stop by and have a read.

17 comments
davinabrewer
davinabrewer

Missed this Antonia, but at least I'm here now and will probably ping this back someday. Twitter is work and these are all good tips to make it less so and more manageable. Always used clients - TweetDeck columns, yes! - and never auto follow, so ahead of the game there. ITA on curating the list.. often. I've been on an unfollow kick lately, seeing those who really just promote links, zapping duplicate RSS or news feeds, lots of the blah or dead accounts. I don't mind and in fact prefer a mix of links and RT and replies and conversation; it's when I see nothing but FS check-ins or an overload of #hashtagvomit that's when I reach for the unfollow button. It's helped make some room for some good follows. FWIW.

Brett
Brett

Twitter's not turning into anything new. It has *always* been plagued by clowns and pointless tweets (you know, "my breakfast..."). But I do think that more people are catching on about how to apply their purposeful strategy to make it useful.

Gina SuuperG Stark
Gina SuuperG Stark

Great post and good reminders for those of us on Twitter for a while. I had recently been contemplating shutting off my auto follow...it was a time saver, yes, but I miss having the overall hands on decision about who I'm following. I automated thinking I could always unfollow people who were haters or otherwise not relevant, but I rarely view my main stream anymore. (lists, glorious lists!) Thanks again! I shut it off...now I must remember to manually follow back new people! Cheers, Gina

Dysfunction Junction
Dysfunction Junction

I'm definitely on board in regards to things like Proxlet. In TweetDeck I use my global filter like nobody's business. I never have to see another foursquare check in for the rest of my life. I think I definitely need to make better use of the lists though...weekend project perhaps.

Aaron Longnion
Aaron Longnion

@Antonia - it's in pre-Beta, so I'm completely open to feedback and ideas. Please let me know through any means necessary ;-)

Alysson
Alysson

Great advice, Antonia. All 5 of your suggestions would serve anyone looking to get the most from their Twitter experience well. "Don't Auto Follow" is perhaps the one personal best practice that I've found most beneficial. While I wrote my "Reciprocal and Auto-Following on Twitter = Bad Idea" (http://www.seoaly.com/twitter-follow-policy/) almost 2 years ago now, it's still as true for me today as it was then.

Ben Anderson
Ben Anderson

The only thing that I'd add is specific to Android smartphone users. So it's sort of tangential to your post. I recently found TweetCaster by Handmark on the Marketplace and as mentioned about Proxlet you can "zip" noisy twits and keep the useful folk in your feed. So all those #quote posts that don't really inspire but do fill up my Twitter feed get filtered out. It's very nice when dealing with a smaller screen.

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  2. […] when and how they view it.Even though Twitter is noisy and oftentimes information gets lost in the Twitter circus, people have found efficient ways to filter. Additionally, people no longer accept brand messages […]