20 Jul

I resisted using a twitter management tool for a long time, since I don’t have a smart phone and only tweet from my laptop. I figured just using the twitter web site itself was all I needed. However, last week I had a couple of messages I wanted to send out, but I didn’t want to send them out all at once. I had to leave the apartment for the afternoon, so I couldn’t just wait to make my tweets. But, wait a minute! Doesn’t Tweetdeck let you schedule tweets for later? I looked it up – yes, it does. So I downloaded Tweetdeck and scheduled my tweet. Problem solved!

So, I have been using Tweetdeck on a trial basis since that day to see how I like it. Folks, it is pretty cool. Instead of just one long feed of all the updates from people you follow, you can customize several columns to keep track of several things at once. So, for example, I have:

  • one column for all tweets from my contacts,
  • another column for @ mentions so I can respond to people when they reply to me or retweet my updates,
  • another for direct messages, and
  • one for scheduled updates, so I can see the messages I have planned for later tweets.

I used to miss a lot of @ replies because I only saw them when I looked for them specifically on twitter. Now I see them right away. I hope this will lead to better communication between me and my followers. I also think the columns will be useful when I want to follow a particular hashtag – for example, when I couldn’t go to the ALA conference this year but wanted to keep an eye on what was going on there. Simple – just set up a column to stream updates from the #ala10 hashtag, and I don’t even need to navigate away from my main feed.

I can also see how this tool would be useful for managing library twitter feeds. Tweetdeck lets you manage several twitter accounts from one screen, which would be great if the library had more than one feed or if one person was in charge of the official library twitter account and wanted to access his or her personal account as well. You just need to remember to choose the correct account when sending your status updates!

I’m sure there are many features that I haven’t yet had a chance to explore, but for now, I think this application is a keeper. It’s not without drawbacks – for example, it seemed to make my computer run more slowly at first, although after I restarted it it was better – but in general, it is a really useful tool for keeping track of your social media accounts and updates.

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