I’m not going to say what you use or stop using Twitter, or if you use long or short. Use it for whatever you want and what you want, but do it effectively to avoid the end of your productivity, as Twitter is an extremely powerful communication tool but can become a dangerous habit and a thief of time.
As we saw in “How to effectively organize your feeds, what matters is not how many people follow but how you process the twitts. And if you want to process your twitts effectively, the first thing to do is to categorize.
Although productivity is not the tool, in this case the tool is indeed a very important element. I’ve tried many, both web based (Tweetvisor, TwitIQ.com, Seesmic site or hootsuite) and application (mixer, Seesmic DestroyTwitter or Desktop) and in the end I am left with TweetDeck, although almost all of the above have the characteristics need to manage your Twitter effectively.
I have 6 columns on TweetDeck in addition to Facebook, which are, from left to right:
* “All Friends”, where are all my following twitts
* “Mentions” where are the references to @ jmbolivar
* “Direct Messages”, which shows the messages we send to me
* “Best Friends”: In this column are all the followings to real interaction there. What does this mean? Well, I still rule all who follow me. The reasons are many and would for a full entry but I do not now come to the event. There are people that do not follow me never a Twitter exchange with me and if what I read yours does not interest me, nor I exchange with him / her. That why they are there? Because this situation may change, and does, in cuaquier time. And once someone starts to interact with me on a regular basis become part of this column “Best Friends”
* “Closest Friends”: Here are the followings that are just. Family members and friends. If I have time to read twitts just limit myself to this column
* “Search”: The Columa that allows me to discover other tuiteros speaking of the same: gtd, productivity, coaching … I also used to detect entries that do not use @ jmbolivar but talk to me or Optima Infinito and respond
Once explained the usefulness and the sense of using multiple columns to categorize your twitts, lets see how processing.
The first thing to consider is that Twitter is not a blog, but call it microblogging. There is therefore little sense, at least in my opinion, that when you log in try catch up with all of your overdue twitts following.
Imagine walking into your neighborhood bar, or Cheers, and try to catch up on all the talk of all the people you meet. A bit stressful, right? What we usually do is join to the discussion, listen to a few minutes, maybe do a couple of questions and then engage in conversation.
Then on Twitter should be the same. When I connect, my twitts process always following the same sequence:
1. I answer all direct references
2. Leo and participate in the “Closest Friends”
3. Depending on time, I read the last 5 to 30 minutes in the column “Best Friends”, as there are many or few twitts in that range of time and then participate in the conversation during the time I have available
4. The column “All Friends” I read only when I have extra time, for example when I have to wait in a queue where there is much noise to talk over the phone
5. Once or twice a day I check the Search column to see what is said about the topics that most interest me and, if necessary, continue to find interesting new people
Usually I prefer to connect several times a day even for a few minutes, a little more the first time in the morning. Land use for coffee breaks or when I stop an activity and I will start another. I used to escape and usually gives me something, either a smile or an interesting link.
I think Twitter is important to be clear that you dedicate time and do it because they’ve decided, not because you’ve let go. This advice applies not only to Twitter, but also to social networks. If you want to know more about how to be productive in your social network, I recommend this post from Berto Pena.
There are many ways to avoid that Twitter will become a thief of time: strictly limit the hours of use, restrict the number of following … I have shared with you my own because I believe that it take almost everything that Twitter offers me spending a lot very reasonable amount of time (for me). Whether you too useful as if you know a better way or alternative, I’d love to share it with us in a comment.