Higher Volume, Different Approach

Plenty of people have written recently about the recent influx of people to Twitter and how this is changing their perception of the service. I’ve given my take on it – essentially, that Twitter is what you make it –  if you don’t like what you see, change it.

Still, the fact remains that with additional numbers of people using the service, people may find them connected to much higher numbers of others on Twitter. With that comes new challenges associated with scaling the way you use the service.

Organizing your Twitter stream

Tweetdeck is one of the best tools out there for managing large and/or diverse numbers of connections on Twitter. Not only can you create groups out of your followers; you can also set up searches to track the conversations around topics that interest you (if you can’t download Tweetdeck, try Tweetgrid – a browser-based variant).

One of Tweetdeck’s default columns is the “All Friends” column, which (no surprises here) shows all of the people you follow on Twitter. Early on, I found this to be my most frequently-used column for staying on top of things.

“All friends,” less value?

As the number of people I follow has slowly increased over time, I’ve started to find that column less and less useful. In fact, every time Tweetdeck refreshes at this point, I get about two or three screen lengths-worth of new updates – more than I can possibly keep up with. What’s more, an increasing proportion of those messages tend to be irrelevant to me. I hate to think what it’s like for people who auto-follow others, and who follow thousands more than I do.

I wondered how other people deal with this, and whether they still find the “All Friends” column at all useful. So, after musing about whether I should be cutting back on the number of people I follow, I asked:

Twitter question re. all friends column

I got a bunch of responses back, which were revealing:

Interestingly, there appears to be no correlation between the people who follow high numbers of people and those who no longer use the “All Friends” column on Tweetdeck.

User People followed Use “All Friends” column?
Hamishknox 47 No
jltoronto 75 No
_sarakate_ 267 Yes
commoncentsmom 320 Yes
Monicakozak 374 No
HumSurfer_buzz 572 Primarily groups/search
martinwaxman 595 Yes
astroboy 699 Yes
athletetraining 887 No
michellekostya 1010 Yes
andreastenberg 1131 Yes
adamcohen 2385 Yes
unmarketing 21119 No

Personally, I plan to keep the column. I also plan to continue to be fairly judicious in who I follow.

Do you find yourself having to deal with this kind of problem? Do you find yourself following more people nowadays?How do you go about organizing it?

  • Hey Dave,

    Since I missed commenting when you were asking the question, thought I’d do it now. I may be the extreme here, but in my Tweetdeck I have no groups and do not use searches. While I see the possible benefits, I feel that by segmenting everyone, you lose some of the value that comes from your community of friends. As Martin mentioned in one of his Tweets, I also like to see how a story is developing. If I segment people, then I may miss parts of it if I don’t have everyone in that group. I also wonder what the benefit of following someone is if you don’t read what they’re saying? While I haven’t yet unfollowed anyone, I have been more picky about who I follow back (as you’ve mentioned many times before). But, of course, I don’t handle the same volume of followers and Tweets that you do, so maybe that’s our difference.
    -Kerri

  • Hey Dave,

    Great post! I originally started with people in groups, but as I add more people (but forget to add them to the groups) I’ve slowly started to look at only the All Friends section. I definitely need to take the time and sort out my categories again!

    And yes, a little pruning is probably in order as well.