These days, I’m filtering what I read on Twitter more than ever. It’s important to control the flood of information, and Twitter can drown you in information if you’re not careful.

There are two main ways to use Twitter, as far as I can see.

One is to keep up to date with the latest news, and by the term “news” I also refer to rumor, gossip, complete fabrications on a topic. Twitter can spread information faster than any other medium (for now, at least) but not all of it is even remotely valid.

The other is to keep up with people you are interested in. You can follow celebrities or people in a field that you want to learn more about. If you find one person who intrigues you, Twitter suggests other people that you might want to follow who are similar. Or you can see who this person is interacting with and follow them as well.

Either way, you’re going to want to find a way to sieve this information or you’ll drown in a  deluge of data. Here’s how I would suggest you handle Twitter.

  1. When you sign in to Twitter, look at the hashtags listed. Hashtags are subjects on Twitter. They have a hash symbol (#) in front of them. When you sign in to Twitter, it presents hashtags that might interest you. Click on them to see what other people are tweeting. That gives you an idea of what’s trending at the moment on Twitter.screen-shot-2016-11-06-at-10-34-29-am
  2. Search for people you are interested in and follow them. Or follow people you’ve found from hashtags that you like.
  3. Create lists of people or hashtags you like.
  4. Get the heck out of Twitter and get thee to TweetDeck or HootSuite or some other application that will handle lists for you.

Lists are important. Making lists lets you sort through and hopefully make sense of the flood of tweets that are blasting through the twittersphere every second.

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Each of these columns is a list that I created in Tweetdeck.

For example, I have a list of people who are in my local RWA chapter. I check quickly check through that list to see their latest tweets. I have another list for editors that I follow, agents that I follow, different genres of authors that I like to read. Lists let me manage the flood of information and focus on a particular area that interests me at the moment.

This is what works for me. Might not work for you, take all advice with a grain of salt, yada yada.