How to Manage Your Twitter Feed

Managing Your Twitter Feed with Third-Party Applications

TweetDeck is a third-party app (now owned by Twitter) that lets you organize lists, trends and saved searches into separate columns.
TweetDeck is a third-party app (now owned by Twitter) that lets you organize lists, trends and saved searches into separate columns.
Screenshot courtesy Shanna Freeman

In July 2011, Twitter surpassed more than one million registered third-party applications. With that many apps, how do you know which ones can best help you manage your feed? Let's start with the most popular ones available.

One common type of app for Twitter is the browser-based dashboard, or client. These programs interface with Twitter and allow you to do everything that you can from Twitter's site. The difference is that you can organize your feed to fit your needs. These programs do a lot more than just help you manage your Twitter feed, but we'll focus on those specific features here.

TweetDeck is arguably the most popular of the Twitter clients. It's available for Windows 7, Mac OS and Linux, as well as iPhones, iPads and Android phones. All you have to do is download it for your platform, log in to Twitter and get to organizing. TweetDeck is column-based; you can create columns for each of your lists, trends that you're following, saved searches, and direct mentions. If you have more than one Twitter account, you can view each in separate columns. TweetDeck also incorporates other services like Facebook and FourSquare, making it a one-stop-shop.

HootSuite is very similar to TweetDeck, but instead of downloading a separate application, it's entirely Web-based (it's available in app form for iPhones, Androids and Blackberrys). In terms of managing your feeds you also create columns for lists, searches and direct mentions. While TweetDeck is free, HootSuite has a basic free version and a paid "pro" version. It also allows you to incorporate feeds from Facebook and LinkedIn. Seesmic is another, similar competitor; it's free, available for multiple platforms and offers both web-based and desktop versions. You may want to try out all three to see which one is right for you as they all have their pros, cons and respective fanbases.

If you don't want to go full into using a different client, there are other tools you can use to manage your Twitter feed. Tracking tools like Manage Flitter or Social Oomph are especially useful if you have hundreds of followers. They quickly show you which ones aren't following you back, as well as the activity levels of the people on your feed, making it easier to choose who to delete. There are also filtering programs like Twalala or Destroy Twitter. They filter out specific words and phrases from your feed and mute people you follow who Tweet a lot, without actually unfollowing them. Most of these smaller tools are just for Twitter (unlike the clients), and they're free and Web-based.