I had a (Twitter DM) conversation with someone yesterday and it soon became aware they were using the first Twitter, and that was all they were aware of, as Twitter.
That version of Twitter is similar to Facebook or Instagram or whatever ie it is an ongoing stream or timeline of detritus from you and the people you choose to follow. While you likely subscribe or follow many people, groups & businesses on Facebook, you experience it through a single timeline or stream of content, which is manipulated by their algorithm
But, there is another Twitter which only exists due to a combination of user generated metadata (aka hashtags) and apps like Tweetdeck
So in my case when I use or view Twitter, this is what it looks like:
So I currently view 22 different Twitter streams.
Why might you want to do this? Well there are a million reasons and each reason is unique to the user.
The feed on the left is the main real time Twitter feed – amazing to compare its content with what the twitter iPhone app chooses to show you – they are very different!
Some of the feeds I have in Tweetdeck are based on search terms eg if someone uses the terms “hiss roar” then their tweet appears in a single dedicated feed. Note it doesn’t matter whether I follow the person or not, Tweetdeck searches & displays all current tweets with those terms.
Another column I view is based on the hashtag #dubtechno – again I don’t follow any of the individuals who use that hashtag but when they post links to new releases or mixes, I see them.
For the election in New Zealand there were two hashtags used, first #nzpol which is a permnanent hashtag for political discussion in NZ, and #decision17 which was created for the election. So I have a column/feed in Tweetdeck for both of those (but once the election results are finally achieved I will likely delete the #decision17 feed)
Another reason why Tweetdeck is important is simply due to scale. Once you get past a certain number of friends/followers etc it becomes impossible to see them all eg I follow over 9k people on Twitter and the real time stream of all of them moves rapidly! But some of those people I am more interested in than others, and thats where twitter LISTS come into play. Whether you follow someone or not, you can create a Twitter list and add them to it. So I have one Twitter list called ‘endearing space cadets’ for media personalities that I find amusing and in Tweetdeck one of the feeds displays their posts. Similarly I have a fed for ‘uzic tech’ and another for ‘film’ and another for ‘uzic’ and another for #believeinfilm (which is a great feed of film photos) etc etc… When you create a list in Twitter you choose whether it is public or private, so while someone will be notified when you add them to a list, if the list is private they cannot view it or see who else is on it.
For me, one of the main benefits of all this is also archival. Because I live in NZ I am in a different time zone to many, and if I simply relied on the single Twitter stream it is unlikely I would ever see any tweets from eg people in the UK, who are in the opposite time zone. But Tweetdeck accumulates feeds and when I wake up & check Twitter via Tweetdeck, I get to see what was tweeted in the subjects that interest me.
Its funny, when Twitter first started I remember the common criticism is that “its just people tweeting what they had for lunch” but I tend to believe Twitter & most social media platforms are only as interesting as you are. If you are not curious and motivated enough to seek out what interests you then there is a pretty good chance it is actually you that is the boring one, and not the platform. YMMV
For a while I had a Tweetdeck feed labelled SATAN, which only listed tweets from the exalted orange one. But I deleted it, cos really who needs to see that sh+t! I also had a feed purely based on the word “silence” – that feed was like reading random poetry every day!