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Tweetdeck: the answer to “WOAH what the heck is that!?”

This is what Tweetdeck looks like on my laptop:

TweetDeck

To those that don’t regularly use it, it looks pretty nuts. I remember thinking that when I first saw it. But really, it’s a fairly straightforward system of overstimulating your brain with Twitter, and that’s basically it. I had a request from my fellow HackerYou student Megan O’Hara to go through what’s going on here, so here it is: the quick and dirty guide to my beloved Tweetdeck.

First, you can download Tweetdeck or just sign in to it in your browser. That right there was the first time I’ve ever been on Tweetdeck in the browser – it’s just too much going on for me for such a confined screen. So what I do is download the app and then on my mac I go in to Presentation Mode with it. That way you have as much room possible so really take advantage of why you have Tweetdeck in the first place – it’s awesome use of “glanceable information” – that is, the many, many columns you can set up. And it’s really quick on a mac to swipe back and forth between Tweetdeck and your working desktop.

On both the browser and .app version of the program, you have your menu on the far left, where you can add columns for basically anything you’d like to see. As you can see from the picture above, some of my columns are Mentions, every time someone mentions me,  I see it there; Spring 2014 Bootcamp, the list someone at HackerYou made and shared for our cohort; User, which is narcissistic me; and Yay People, a list of some of the people I want to see every tweet from for sure.

A lot of it is pretty straightforward, just look down the list of menu  items on the left and you’ll get a sense of what it can do. Where some extra fun functionality comes in is in the Add Column feature. If you click on Add Column’s icon its menu will pop up and you’ll see lots of options. Some of the neatest are Lists (add any lists you’ve created or subscribed to) and Collections, which is basically storify within Tweetdeck, although I’ve never really found a use for it.

Features you may have missed:

  • You can add more than one account to Tweetdeck! And then add all the columns you choose from any of those accounts, tweet from any of them, and so on. You used to be able to add things like your facebook account back in the day, but now that Twitter bought them you can’t.
  • If you click on the little two lines with circles to the right of each column name you’ll get a drop down with a ton of awesome customization options for each column. For example, in my Notifications column I have my absolute favourite option, by going in to Content > Excluding and entering in the name of a local sports team that has some….sports thing going on at the time, so I don’t have to see tweets about it. TweetDeck2
  • You can drag and drop any image on to TweetDeck, and it’ll open up the “new tweet” box and auto attach your image for you!
  • the default theme is white – if you want to look more 1337 you can go in to settings and change it to the dark theme, modify column size, etc.
  • if you’re a bit overwhelmed, try turning off realtime updates in the settings panel. I find this especially helpful when a major event is happening and your timeline is going nuts with updates.
  • If you click on someone’s username, their profile will come up, where you can do things like create a column just for them (stalkers unite!), or just view all their tweets. I use this a lot as it’s the quickest way to see more context about what they’re talking about.
  • Similarly, you can click on any tweet and the column will change to a view of that tweet and all its replies, and/or what it’s replying to, a feature you often need with the brief nature of twitter posts.TweetDeck3

I like Tweetdeck because it’s simpler than Hootsuite but still provides a lot of functionality and customization options. It doesn’t bombard you with every option all at once, instead opting to put actual content first. And that means you can do things like catch all your HackerYou twitter friends tweets 0.5s after they tweet and favourite and reply to them, scaring them a little. So give it a try!

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