Maximizing Tweetdeck for Twitter

Recently I’ve had questions on how I follow so many people on Twitter (at present, I follow 2,300 people) and keep tabs on all of them. The truth is, I don’t. What I’ve found out is, you learn how to filter the people who interest you, and cut out those who don’t. And while you’re at it, learn to increase your productivity too, as Twitter can be a SERIOUS time-waster, if not done right.

Please leave me a comment if this helps you, or if you have better ideas on organizing your Twitter client.

If you’re new to Twitter, get Tweetdeck. You need no other application. It works on Macs, PCs and iPhones. Believe me, it’s the most advanced Twitter client and I’ve tried several. It’s easy to use, pretty and works well.

So here is how my Tweetdeck screen looks like.

Maximizing Tweetdeck

What do the columns (also known as groups) mean? Well, “All Friends” is the standard column for everyone I follow. This column updates the most frequently, and the fastest. My philosophy is, if I miss something here, so be it. Once in awhile, I scroll down a little, then back up. But ONLY if I am absolutely free.

“50kmh” is for friends I’m more interested to keep tabs on, and I’ve got a subset of “All Friends” here.

“25kmh” is for even closer friends whom I know well in real-life and “NEED” to keep tabs on. This column moves the slowest, and has even less people in it than the 50kmh column.

A common misconception is that the faster lane is always the better one. Not true. Sit back, relax, sip your latte and enjoy the slow lane!

“Mentions” is yet another standard column that comes with Tweetdeck. Anytime someone mentions your @username or in my case, @TheBackpackr, it will appear here.

Finally, “Direct Messages” is another standard column where personal messages that no one else is privy to appear.

You may decide to structure your Tweetdeck columns differently, but this is how I do it. I know some who want to keep track of their fellow countrymen specifically, and have columns for “British”, “Australians” or “Malaysians”, but I follow diverse individuals and prefer this method. You may also decide to categorize by interest group such as “Photographers” or “Golf-mates”.

Whatever you decide on, do realize that using the columns feature is extremely useful. To start a group or column, click on this icon, name it and select the members you want to add to it.

Adding a group to Tweetdeck

Here’s a productivity tip: Turn off the “Show notification window”, “Include All Friends notifications” and “Play notification sound” in the settings menu. It will help you focus on your work, believe me.


  1. Mark - July 15, 2009

    Mine has a “photographers” column on it πŸ˜€

    Can’t fit another group though

  2. blogjunkie - July 15, 2009

    hey thanks for sharing. on mine i’ve got columns with Stars and 2 Stars which is analogous to your 25kmh and 50kmh. like your column names better though haha

  3. Ben Israel - July 15, 2009

    Great post! I didn’t realise you could turn off the notification. Thanks. I wish it had the option of notifying me of direct mentions only tho’ :)

    Here’s my 5 cents:

    I find that MENTIONS / REPLIES doesn’t pick up everything. So I have a column with search results for my Twitter handle, i.e. anything that mentions ben_israel. Great thing about this is that it picks up tweets with my name with or without the “@”. Some people miss it out.

    I also have a column for “influencers”. These are experts, gurus and thought-leaders whom I follow, e.g. Jeremiah Owyang or NYT’s Tim O’Brien. And, depending on timezone, these tweets are usually active in the night. If i mixed them with everyone else, it will get lost amongst the rest of the conversations.

  4. reubenhot - July 15, 2009

    So where do i fall under ??? πŸ˜›

  5. Cheng Leng - July 15, 2009

    Like you I have tried all sorts of ways to filter into columns. I’ve got “Tech Bloggers”, “Singapore”, “Malaysia” …

    And I scroll down more often than I should.

  6. The Backpackr - July 15, 2009

    @Mark: Sure you can add another column, just that you’ll have to scroll left and right, and that might be annoying. Or, get a 2048 x 1800 resolution monitor! :)

    @blogjunkie: Great minds, eh?

    @Ben_Israel: I used to have a search that would pick up “TheBackpackr” but realise it was eating up my APIs as a shark devouring plankton, so I dropped it. AND, it doesn’t pick up Mentions from those who have “private status” set. Good point on the foreign timezone influencers.

    @reubenhot: Reuben who? :p

    @ChengLeng: Resist the urge to scroll, you must. Evilll…

  7. rokh - August 7, 2009

    the ‘speed’ columns sound like a really neat idea. i shall need to revamp my tweetdeck then!

  8. Thomas - January 25, 2010

    Haha, the 25 and 50 km/h is a great idea. Never even thought of that b4

  9. rebekah - November 23, 2010

    Haha! I don’t follow as many as you, but a few hundred are already tiring to keep track. The 50kmh and 25kmh are good suggestions. I actually follow the lists I created in twitter though, but groups sounds like a better idea. :) thanks! But i can only revamp once i’m absolutely free!

    totally agree with the last productivity tip. now that i switched off the notifications, i don’t have the need to be paranoid about updates. Haha. Sorta. πŸ˜›

  10. Pip - November 23, 2010

    Amazing. Following your guide now! Thanks.

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