Saturday, 26 January 2013

Some tips for using Tweet Deck part 1

Following on from my post about using Tweet Deck to filter what you see  I've had several questions about Tweet Deck. So today's post is a question-and-answer session.

What are the advantages of using Tweet Deck?

One major one is that you can view everything at the same time. With columns across the page, you can see your @mentions, direct messages, any lists you follow and any searches you are running without having to move away from your main Twitter feed.

Another advantage for compers is the ease of retweeting by the "old" or "new" methods. Because of my findings when I ran a competition of my own recently, I am experimenting with NOT using RT button retweets. I'll report back on the results when I've had time to give it a proper trial, but in the meantime I am very grateful for the fact that when you click on a Tweet Deck retweet button, you are given a choice of "Edit and RT" or "Retweet". While Retweet does a RT button style retweet, Edit and RT gives you a copy and paste style one. Not only does this save you having to copy and paste (and forget to add in the RT @.... bit - how often have you done that?) but it also means it is possible to enter competitions where you have been asked to "Retweet with your answer" or "Retweet and tag a friend" , neither of which is possible with the Twitter web page although it may be with some phone apps.

Another feature I find useful is being able to clear the tweets in a column when you have read them - it helps me to keep track of where I am up to. To do this, hover the cursor over the icon on the top tight of a column until you see the word "Edit", click on it and select "Clear" (not "Delete" which removes the column completeley)

The ability to schedule Tweets can be useful, either to catch a competition closing time or to make sure you wish a friend happy birthday on the right day! You can read more about scheduling Tweets here.

And finally, being able to filter out the stuff you aren't interested in - see the link in the introductory paragraph for more details.

How do I use Tweet Deck?

Tweet Deck uses the same icons  as Twitter so you will soon get used to what each one means. The blue quill-and-paper icon on the top right opens up a box to write your tweet in, and the camera icon at the bottom of the box allows you to add a photo. The next icon is a clock, which allows you to schedule the tweet, and the envelope turns your tweet into a direct message - click on it and an "egg" space at the top is where you write the Twitter name (without an @) of the person you want to DM. To send a tweet or DM, write in the box just as you would on Twitter's own web page then press the Tweet button.

To reply to or retweet a message, hover the cursor over the bottom of the message. Reply, Retweet and Favourite icons will open up along with a row of three dots, which contains a drop down menu with lots of options - you can use it to create a DM to the sender, email the tweet to somebody or even report the sender as a spammer. Have a play with it - but don't go blocking your best friend just to see how it works! Clicking on the sender's avatar brings up a quick profile of them - useful if you get a tweet from someone you don't recognise.

The cog wheel on the top right will take you to the Settings  area  where you can change the appearance of the screen, add in your Facebook account and filter things out.

Moving left, the next box is the Search box and then we come to Columns. This is a drop down menu of all the columns you have open, so that if you have more than will fit across the screen you can go directly to the one you want to see.

Further left still. the  Add Column feature lest you add new columns - everything from your lists to Twitter's  trending topics. Then the Lists  button lets you create, edit and delete lists.

Finally if you are using the Tweet Deck app rather than the Tweet Deck website you have a button that will change the appearance from dark (white text on a black background) to light (black text on a white background). If you are using the web version, this option is in the Settings menu.

At the top of each column, the Edit  button in the right hand icon lets you clear the tweets from it or delete it completely, move it from left to right, search only within that column and, if it is a list, edit the list. And it also allows you to choose whether to get notifications of new tweets in the column, either as "pings" or, if you are using the app version, as pop-ups. If you get a lot of tweets, it's best to choose not to have them as they can get very annoying!

Since Tweet Deck comes as an app or a website, does either have any advantage?

To all intents and purposes they are identical.  I like to use the app as the icon appears on my taskbar at the bottom of the screen so I can go straight to it without having to move between browser windows, but it does use up a lot of memory and can slow your computer down. |It's just a matter of personal preference and what you are used to.

My "All friends" feed moves so fast it's making me seasick! What can I do to stop it?

If you are highly organised and have every single person you follow on a list you don't need to even look at it! Make it your far left hand column and move it off the edge of your screen. I don't advise deleting it completely as you might miss out on chat between friends, which doesn't always show up on lists.

But most of us are NOT that organised, so to stop the feed from moving so fast, use the scroll button at the side of a list to scroll down sharply. That will stop the list from moving and you can then  scroll slowly up or down to read the things you want to see. When you are ready to go back to the top, you can scroll up, but just clicking on the bar at the top of the column will take you straight to the top. If there have been new tweets in the column  while it has been stopped, you will see a tiny blue blob at the top left  which will vanish when you get back to the top.

I've retweeted something I shouldn't have - how do I undo it?

To delete one of your own tweets, find that tweet and use the "three dots" menu to get to the delete option. For a retweet, instead of delete you will be offered the chance to undo the retweet. But here is where it gets confusing. If you used the RT button, when look in your own timeline, what you see is the sender's original tweet that has been retweeted by you and not your own retweet.

To get to your own retweet, add, or if you've already added it, a column of your own tweets. In the "Add  column" menu this is called Tweets. Now find the same retweeted message. It looks exactly the same but this time it is your own retweet of the sender's  message and the undo retweet option is there in the drop down menu.

This post is getting so long you won't want to read all the way through it, so I'm going to publish it now and come back with part two later in the weekend!

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