Time was when life was simpler. When all you had to do was reach office in the morning, check your emails, read some blogs, have a steaming cuppa and get on with your work. In the good old days, a message like “You’ve got mail!” brought a smile to your face. Heck, it even brought back the memory of a romantic movie.
In Twitterverse, the voices in your feeds never stop. According to the official Twitter blog (blog.twitter.com), as of June end the micro-blogging social network was generating a whopping 200 million tweets per day. That is equivalent to a 10-million-page book of tweets or 8,163 copies of Leo Tolstoy’s 1869 epic novel War and Peace. Reading this much text would take more than 31 years, the blog tells us. Here are some efficient ways to manage the information overload on the five-year-old micro-blogging site.
Tracking tips: Who you should follow, and how to increase your popularity on Twitter.
Find the right people to follow
There are oodles and oodles of tweeters online, but there are only a few hundred influencers. If you don’t hear them on time, you might just miss the next big thing your fellow tweeters are talking about. Find the right influencers of your industry on Twellow (www.twellow.com) by category. The website scrounges through Twitter.com every day to come up with a list of influencers tabulated on the basis of number of followers, industry or categories such as entertainment, news, society and sports. Here you will find the people who are heard by thousands of people and whose tweets are retweeted the most, etc. TweetLevel.com, on the other hand, lets you search the right people to follow by entering a word in its search box.
Tell a tweet story
Feeling creative and want to play with your and other people’s tweets? Check Storify (http://storify.com). Still in its beta stage, the website is an innovative way of telling a story using social networks and the endless information online. You can use tweets, Flickr photos, YouTube videos and articles from the online space to tell a story about a topic, idea or concept. The interface is simple, with a search button where you can search for tweets using hashtags or words and then drag and drop them in your story. The story is publicly available and can be embedded into a website or a blog.
Archive a hashtag
Hashtags were lying forgotten on the number “3” key of your keyboard before Twitter introduced them to create tweet groupings. Now, a hashtag before any word in a tweet makes it about a group, event, occurrence, meet-up or idea. But what happens a day, a week or a month after the hashtag has been used? If you want to save the tweets of a hashtag from being lost forever in the ocean of information that is Twitter, try the Twapper Keeper (http://twapperkeeper.com) free service. It lets you archive up to two trends by hashtags, keywords or fellow tweeters. Another such free service is The Archivist (http://archivist.visitmix.com), which focuses only on hashtags. Once you link the site to your Twitter account, it can track a hashtag for you on a daily basis, and analyse it by users, volume, sources and retweets, etc., in a fancy graph.
Mute the noise
Your stream is inundated with the tweet traffic of retweets, automatically generated tweets from Foursquare or Gowalla about where your friends are or those irritating “I am sleeping now” tweets. In between all this traffic, you could miss the tweets that may actually be relevant to you. Mixero (www.mixero.com) is a Twitter client developed with the idea of “reducing the noise” or information overload. It lets you collate the people you follow by groups and see tweets according to groups, user platforms or channels. You can also set filters by keywords or users. Destroy Twitter (http://destroytwitter.com) filters out bot tweets, tweets about a specific hashtag, users, keywords and sources that you might not be interested in on a particular day, showing you your stream without these. It’s a desktop app and works on Windows, Mac and Linux with a simple installation.
Manage multiple accounts
Do you have more than one account on Twitter and do you get tired of logging in and out constantly? Try TweetDeck (www.tweetdeck.com), recently bought by Twitter. A popular desktop client, it works on iPhone and Android phones too. The client lets you sift information in neat columns so you can see multiple feeds, accounts and search results in one go. Other than Twitter, the client supports Facebook, Foursquare, MySpace, LinkedIn and Google Buzz accounts. Another option is Seesmic (www.seesmic.com), which not only manages multiple Twitter accounts but also has a choice of integration with other social networks you might be on.
Discover your clout
Take a trip down narcissistic lane with Klout (www.klout.com), a free analysis tool which helps you figure out the level of your social influence—by far the best of its kind. The Klout score, on a scale of 1-100, is based on 35 variables. A score of more than 30 shows expertise and a score of over 50 shows expertise and leadership. The variables measure your true reach, amplification probability and network score. The score is calculated according to your clicks, comments, interactions, tweets, posts and retweets. What we love about the website is that it even teaches you how to improve your Klout score in Twitter—you’ll feel like you are in high school again!
Hire an expert
Ideal for a small business or company, Hootsuite (http://hootsuite.com) is a social media dashboard which can post to multiple social networks, including Twitter and Facebook, and monitor as well as analyse the response. It lets you monitor your mentions on these social networks, analyse your influence using Klout, schedule updates, manage followers, save drafts, and track the results of a particular tweet in real time. Though it has a free version, we suggest a basic paid version of HootSuite Pro, for $5.99 (around Rs 270) a month. In Pro, you can track brand sentiment, plus incorporate Facebook insights and Google analytics, all without leaving the dashboard. You can even send out automated social networking reports to all company members and more. At $15 a month, it lets multiple team members log on.
Get someone to tweet with you
Tired of handling and constantly tweeting from a company’s Twitter handle? Take a break and spread the burden to your colleagues. CoTweet (http://cotweet.com) is a Web-based social media engagement and management solution created for businesses. It supports multiple people in one account. Previously a free tool for beta users, now it offers two types of paid accounts (Standard and Enterprise—the Standard account starts at $1500 a month). Both allow multiple users to work on them and can distribute assignments for online activity. The Enterprise version lets you create workgroups, gives advance roles and permissions to a particular employee and analyses your online activities in depth—that’s perhaps why it’s so expensive. If you are looking for something cheaper, opt for Media Funnel (http://mediafunnel.com). It lets you connect multiple users to multiple social media accounts, including Twitter and Facebook. It offers various permutations and combinations in packages. The cost for three users and three accounts is pegged at $3 a month; and for 50 users and five social media channels, at $50 a month.
Create now, tweet later
You might not be a morning person, might be on holiday, or even in a Twitter de-addiction centre, but your followers need not know you’re not on Twitter. Take the help of bots to store tweets that can be sent automatically 24x7 from your Twitter handle, while you take a breather from your online life. Buffer (http://bufferapp.com) lets you store your tweets and sends them at the times and days specified by you. The free account can give you a 10-tweet buffer and can post three tweets a day. The paid account starts at $8.50 a month and increases the buffer size and tweets per day support dramatically while supporting multiple accounts. It works on your mobile too, so you can store your thoughts and send them out to the world when you want. Another app which does this really well is Social Oomph (www.socialoomph.com). You can register for a free account or get a paid version for $29.97 a month. Other than unlimited scheduling of your tweets, Social Oomph Pro can also send these to your Facebook and other social networking accounts.
See trends in Twitter
There are a lot of people out there who constantly talk about their work, home, what they are eating, thinking and drinking. Some of them might be friends, future clients or customers. There are many apps that can compare, dissect and sift through the information shared on Twitter.
Taking out a new product and want to know what people are talking about in “noodles”? Do a quick search on Trendistic (www.trendistic.com). It will search the word in Twitterverse and tell you how many times a particular word was mentioned in a day, a week or a month, including who used it and what they talked about. The result is a visualization of what is popular, what is not, what people are thinking through their tweets. You can also compare between two trends, browse hot topics for the entire week and check archives of what events were happening on the micro-blogging site. There’s a free 30-day trial.
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