A combination of events yesterday got me thinking about how much time I spend sifting my Twitter stream for valuable, work-related and/or professionally useful information. First, fellow WWD writer Aliza Sherman posted a tweet about starting a second account to follow only those twitterers you really want to pay special attention to. Then, Chris Morin posted a comment on my post about key web working skills in 2009 that brought up the same issue.
I’m not even following a very large number of people, and yet if I add it up, mining my tweets takes up a fair amount of my time during the day. I considered doing as Aliza suggests, but that would also mean switching accounts to post under my main identity, or else using a program that supports multiple accounts at once.
Not willing to make the trade, I started looking around for alternative solutions. That’s when I found Twalala, a third party Twitter client that boasts improved control. Twalala allows you to filter your twitstream by keyword or phrase, and you can temporarily silence twitterers who might be getting on your nerves and/or spamming.
As you can see in the screen shot, next to the reply button in the upper right corner of every tweet displayed is another button which allows you to mute that individual. If you mute a user, all of their updates will no longer appear in your twitstream (the one displayed at Twalala.com, anyway).
You can also filter by specific keyword or phrase. This could be very useful if a topic starts to seriously trend on Twitter that you’re not particularly interested in. Plus, you can combine it with an exception keyword to make sure nothing professionally relevant escapes, even it happens to meet your exclusion criteria. For example, I might not want to see any tweets talking about Britney Spears, unless they’re also related to social media, so I could set “social media” or “blog”, etc. as my exception variable.
It’s a solution that works, so long as you’re ok with using a browser-based Twitter client. Don’t get me wrong, I like Twitter’s random nature. Everyone I follow, I follow for a reason. But there’s a time and place for everything, and Twalala is one way to help establish those limits.
How do you manage your professional Twitter use? Any tools, practices, applications, etc. to suggest?