Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jan 13, 2009
Check out my Big RSS Subscriber Contest after reading this article.
As you know, my last article was on Twitter, and this one is kind of on Twitter. I pretty much had one of two ways to access Twitter. The first was using TwitterFox, which allowed me to post items to Twitter and read some messages without having to do the second, that being to pull up the webpage. The thing about TwitterFox is that it’s relatively small, and you don’t have a lot of options for making it bigger or seeing more, and it’s just not a perfect way to go. The thing about the second way is that, if you haven’t been on Twitter for awhile, it could take you a very long time to go backwards to see if there were things you really wanted to see.
And just what might be there that you wanted to see? Well, every person has something different that they want to see. Do you want to follow certain friends more than other people you’ve met? Do you want to follow a certain topic, such as internet marketing, or blogging, or carnations? You just can’t do that on Twitter as easily, though you can always use the search function.
In comes TweetDeck. TweetDeck gives you the opportunity to drill down on the content you really want and to follow the people you really want to follow more closely, while still giving you access to the whole of Twitter that you’re following just because you’re in the mood to follow a group of people every once in awhile. It’s based on a new line of software known as Adobe Air, which bases its product on using something that looks like a browser, but isn’t within your browser, giving you a different type of functionality which is kind of neat.
I decided to give it a shot, so I downloaded the program, which actually loads the Adobe program first before loading the rest of it. The original color of TweetDeck is black with white lettering, but it allowed you to change the colors as you see fit. It will ask you your Twitter name and password, and when it starts up, you’ll see three columns immediately: your direct (private) messages; general Twitter replies that are written to you; everyone you’re following in general. Each of these columns gives you the option of seeing a person’s profile, marking their post as being read and then erasing, and of course being able to respond to them, either in the open forum or as a private message, if they’re following you. Actually, one of the anomalies of Twitter in general is that some people are following you who you still can’t send private messages to; very odd.
Once I got used to what I was seeing, I decided to create a new group, that being people on Twitter who I consider as my personal friends, unlike all the other people I follow, but don’t know and have never had a real conversation with. You see this option at the top left of TweetDeck, along with other options for working within the program. The one gripe I have is that not all of the people who I’m following came up, and that was irksome. However, since I knew those people would write eventually, I waited for them to write a post, which came up in the general column, and one of the choices you’re given with each person is the right to add them to a group, which is how I’ve caught up with my friends.
What does all of this do for you? If you’re not on Twitter 24/7, you can open the program and it’ll show you everything that’s specifically for you, and all the Twitter comments that your friends have written, whether to you or not. I like that, because it means I now don’t have to filter through literally hundreds of messages if I’m not in the mood to look for them. Of course, I speed read, so I’ve been known to be able to go back 7 or 8 hours in a pretty quick fashion, but now I don’t think I’ll feel the need or have the urge all that often because I know who I really want to make sure I don’t miss messages from. At some point, I may add another column to follow messages regarding specific topics; we’ll see if I end up going that route.
TweetDeck isn’t perfect, but it’s not bad for helping you stay on top of Twitter messages you really care about.