My Top 5 Shortcuts: #3 Use Twitter

Bloglines, my first feedreader, announced this week that it would shut down October 1. If one can feel nostalgic about something like that, I certainly did.

The spokesperson said that the “writing was on the wall,” that most people were getting their news from Twitter & Facebook. I’m not going to disagree that more people are indeed doing so, but I don’t think the feedreader is dead. At least not for people who work in communications. You can’t possibly get all your news from Twitter and Facebook.

However, you also can’t subscribe to every blog on your topics of interest. Using the two tools in a complementary way will help you stay in the know and also save you time.

Find the right people to follow

It’s important to find the opinion leaders and influencers for you on Twitter. There’s a lot of noise, so be smart about who you pay attention to. That doesn’t mean to be a follow-back snob (you can see my follow back tips here).

I wrote a post a while back on how to find people to follow, too.

Build lists

Before Twitter integrated its list function, folks (like me) were using Tweetdeck’s column feature to filter their Twitter stream. Lists can do that, but, because they are public, they can also help show your participation in a community and build connections across your network.

However, as a time saver, lists can serve a couple of purposes. The first is to organized the updates of people who you follow by category, industry, name, whatever you choose. Most third party applications (see the next tip) will let you sync your lists, too. The second is you can see other people’s lists, which can follow. No need to build that CNN Reporters list if one already exists, right?

Use a third party application like Tweetdeck

Twitter can be a giant time suck, I’m fully aware. Time suck? Sort of the opposite of short cut. However, Twitter is a necessary tool. I use Tweetdeck for my personal Twitter use. I leave it running most of the day and have the notifications set to only alert me when I’ve been mentioned, I have a direct message or one of my search terms has a new result. The visual and audible notification means that I don’t pay attention to Twitter unless there is something going on. Well, that’s not entirely true, but it does help a lot.

How about you? Any twitter-related shortcut tips to share?

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