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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22 Comments on a totally twitter tuesday

  1. Catherine Denton
    March 22, 2011 at 1:58 pm (6 years ago)

    I’ve been on twitter but feel lost in the sea of it. Your ideas make sense. Thanks for the tips!
    My Blog

  2. Michael Di Gesu
    March 22, 2011 at 2:32 pm (6 years ago)


    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.


  3. Shannon O'Donnell
    March 22, 2011 at 2:41 pm (6 years ago)

    I don’t twitter. I hope you still love me. 🙂

  4. Shari
    March 22, 2011 at 2:47 pm (6 years ago)

    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.

  5. Patti
    March 22, 2011 at 2:50 pm (6 years ago)

    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.

  6. T C Mckee
    March 22, 2011 at 3:27 pm (6 years ago)

    Much to learn. You’re like the twitter scholar. I have to get the basics down first. Ill be reading this again later. Thanks.

  7. Jeigh
    March 22, 2011 at 3:36 pm (6 years ago)

    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.

  8. Stacy Henrie
    March 22, 2011 at 3:52 pm (6 years ago)

    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.

  9. Cherie Reich
    March 22, 2011 at 4:12 pm (6 years ago)

    I use Tweetdeck on my phone. I really need to set it up on my computer too. I didn’t realize it could do so much. 🙂

  10. Krispy
    March 22, 2011 at 4:15 pm (6 years ago)

    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!

  11. Stephanie McGee
    March 22, 2011 at 4:20 pm (6 years ago)

    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…

  12. Matthew MacNish
    March 22, 2011 at 4:37 pm (6 years ago)

    Whoa. I thought Tweetdeck was for phones only. I’ll have to look at it for desktops. I have a Twitter account, but I’m rarely on there.

  13. L.T. Elliot
    March 22, 2011 at 5:00 pm (6 years ago)

    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!

  14. Kari Marie
    March 22, 2011 at 5:49 pm (6 years ago)

    This is cool and I’m not even a ninja. Thank you!

  15. Carrie
    March 22, 2011 at 10:31 pm (6 years ago)

    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 🙂

  16. Meredith
    March 23, 2011 at 1:52 am (6 years ago)

    Yep, twitter still scares me. But this is super helpful! Thanks, Ali!

  17. C. K. Bryant
    March 23, 2011 at 3:13 am (6 years ago)

    Ugh! I really need to do this. I’m just twitter-disabled. I’ll try to figure it out. Thanks for the tips.

  18. Madeline Bartos
    March 23, 2011 at 3:14 am (6 years ago)

    Wow. I don’t know if I could keep up with everything on Twitter. Everyone else is taking a whack at it, I have a feeling I’ll be the next Twitter victim.

  19. Susan Oloier
    March 23, 2011 at 3:55 am (6 years ago)

    Okay, I am a March ninoremo, but have been solo with the whole thing. I am going to seek you out on Twitter.
    Thanks for the Twitter tips, too!

  20. Elana Johnson
    March 23, 2011 at 5:48 pm (6 years ago)

    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.

  21. Cally Jackson
    March 27, 2011 at 2:22 am (6 years ago)

    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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