A few of us ninjas have been having a great time on Twitter. But it would be a lot more fun if there were more of you!

I’m no expert, but just in case fear of Twitter has been holding you back, I’m going to tell you how I use it and hope it prompts you to come tweet with us.

I use TweetDeck for my desktop and my smartphone. I like TweetDeck because it allows me to organize my twitter feed into groups.

I have a column for direct messages ~ these are short, private messages sent to and from me.

A column for mentions (@ali_cross) ~ for every time someone tweets to or about me.

A column for my ninjas (more on that below), for local authors (more below), my friends (more below), my Facebook news feed, and then the odd column or two for other searches I might want to follow (again, more below!).

Here’s what TweetDeck’s columns look like:
My Ninja column:
In TweetDeck, you can add columns and specify what information will go in that column. My ninja column is a twitter search for all things ninja. You can have a column locate more than one item by using the word OR (in caps). 
So my ninja column is specified like this: #ninowrimo OR #ninoremo OR #ninoqumo OR #ninjachat.
My local author column:
On the Twitter.com home page, you can create lists of the people you follow, or find lists that interest you. For me, an awesome local book blogger, Natasha Maw, has created a list of local authors, so I snagged that list and have a column for it. There on your Twitter home page, you can also find lists in which you are listed. You’ll find it under your name, I believe. Easy.
My friends column is made of my own list I created for my friends. It’s simple, on TweetDeck, to add a person to your friend list on the fly. Just click on “other actions” (more on that below!).
Other Twitter searches: 
These fluctuate for me and are totally customizable. Sometimes I put an agent or two in there that I’m paying close attention to (are they going to say they just read the most amazing query/MS and it’ll be MINE?!) or trending topics, like #POSSESSION (more below!).
How to Follow/Mention/DM/perform Other Actions:
On TweetDeck, you can hover over a person’s face and get four options: Reply, Direct Message, ReTweet (that just means, you’ll tweet the exact same thing as the person you’re looking at just tweeted), and Other Actions. 
Other actions lets you choose the tweet (you can perform various functions related to the tweet itself) or the user (you can perform various tasks related to the user, like follow, unfollow, list, etc.).
You can also click on any highlighted text within a tweet. User names mentioned in the tweet are highlighted (so it’s easy to follow someone a friend has mentioned in their tweet) and links, etc. may also be highlighted.
And finally, Hashtags or Twitter Trends:
Trending is delineated by a hashtag in front. Like #ninowrimo or #POSSESSION. You can make a column that searches any of the hashtags or trends that interest you.
I have come to really love Twitter. I feel like I can have real-time conversations with friends and that I’m able to keep up more with topics that interest me. I tend to use Twitter primarily for writing-related conversations and Facebook for more personal topics. TweetDeck helps me keep it all manageable, but I’m sure I still miss tons and tons. But you have to be okay with that. Just enjoy it when you’re there and don’t worry about what you miss. 
There’re also Twitter chats you can get in on, like #YAlitchat, #askagent and others.
Whew! I hope this didn’t confuse you too much, and please, if you have something to add, or need to correct something I have here, please feel free! This is only how I do it, and I’m sure it’s far from perfect!
Will I see you on Twitter?
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ali_cross
22 Comments

22 comments on “a totally twitter tuesday”

  1. Wow!

    Who knew you could do all that on twitter! This is awesome. When I have a spare moment I will have to do this.

    Thanks Ali….

    I have an award for you at my blog! Congrats! This one is really special.

    Michael

  2. Twitter overwhelms me when I see that there have been 250 tweets since I last checked and it was only 45 minutes ago. Tweetdeck makes a lot of sense.

  3. I tried twitter but like Shari felt completely overwhelmed. I’ll have to try the Tweetdeck thing. It seems to have brought a lot of people around to liking twitter.

  4. I just barely signed up for Twitter, but I’ve been frozen with fear trying to figure it out! I’ll take a look at Tweetdeck and come find you and you can hold my hand, okay? Okay.

  5. Thanks for the info, Ali. Tweetdeck sounds like a great tool. I’m still reluctant to jump in to Twitter, but when I do – which I’m sure will be sooner than later – this will help me figure out what I’m doing.

  6. I use tweetdeck on my iPod but not on my desktop for some reason. I think I sort of like the avalanche of tweets on my Twitter homepage. Haha. But yes, the columns are helpful!

  7. No, Ali, you’ll never see me on Twitter. *biggrin*

    Love Tweetdeck. But if I get too many columns going it becomes unwieldy for me. I have the standard column where all the people I’m following come through, the mentions column, and then I have #askagent and #UFChat there. As the mood strikes I’ll add in other columns if needed.

    Actually, I need to re-do my columns, now that I’m thinking about it…

  8. I’m a recent slave to Tweetdeck, once I figured out how I can use it. I’m loving it. Too much. 😉 But now, after reading this post, I have a few columns to add! =D Yay!

  9. How did you know that I have ‘Investigate Twitter’ at the top of my to-do list for the day??? You truly are a master ninja, Ali! Thank you 🙂

  10. Oh my word. You broke my brain. I *should* do this. I know I should. I am lame, though. I use the web version, just with everything all packed in there, every tweet from every person I follow, EVERYWHERE. It’s a mess. But oddly, it works for me.

    I did download tweetdeck on my mac once, and had it all set up, and…yeah. I should do this. I know I should do this.

  11. Awesome summary of how you can use TweetDeck to tame the monster that is Twitter.

    When I first signed on to Twitter, I didn’t see what all the fuss was about. But now that I’ve learnt more about it (along the lines of what you’ve described here), I adore Twitter. It’s such a fantastic tool for connecting with the witing community worldwide. And if it wasn’t for Twitter, I never would’ve heard about Rach’s writers’ crusade, which has just been so worthwhile.

    Great post!

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