I was asked the other day how I manage to consume so much information via social and find things that I think are worth sharing back out across platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn.
The flood of information now coming via the web and social is something we all manage in our own way, so here are a few tools and methods I use to manage the flow of information both ways.
It has its shortcomings for many people (layout challenges and no mobile app to name two), but for me Tweetdeck is one of the best ways to manage the Twitter content. Managing a number of accounts as I do, it’s easy to have them all in one place and the tools I need to manage them available in browser and on desktop.
A few tips:
- Get your columns in order. In general, I have two for each account I manage – stream and mentions. Then a column for related search terms, indirect mentions (those that don’t use the @) and misspellings. Then some of my lists, and then an additional one for any hashtags I want to track use of.
- Move your columns around using the settings diagloue in each one. One of the shortcomings is the layout (you’ll need to scroll left and right to see all columns, rather than tile them), so bring columns to the left that are the most important, or the ones you need to be watching closely at a point in time.
- While you can manage multiple accounts, make sure your default account is set to the one you use the most. It sounds obvious, but that way any actions you perform, particularly as you favourite and RT content, come from the right account. Nothing worse than a tweet going from the wrong account.
While not necessarily a tool, the Favourite function on Twitter seems to mean different things to different people using the platform. Personally I prefer to use them as a basic bookmark that allows me to capture someone’s 140 characters in my fast moving feed.
Once I have had a chance to come back and read them, I will often unfavourite them and move them into somewhere else if I find them worthwhile enough – maybe add the article to Pocket, Share it out via Buffer or make some notes on it in Evernote.
Everything I find interesting from a site / article perspective and think could be useful later goes into Pocket. I use the browser plugin on both Safari and Chrome to capture and categorise anything I find.
One pitfall if not used to its full potential is that it’s very easy to clip and forget content, and before you know it, you have thousands of articles with no idea of why you captured them in the first place. So:
- Make time regularly to clear out / tidy up your Pocket. I do it twice a week.
- Use the tag function, and be consistent with the tags you use.
- Set it up on your phone also. It takes some fiddling on an iPhone to get it done, but the amount of content I find while mobile browsing makes it worthwhile.
Evernote has become something of an indispensable tool for me.
I use it across both desktop, web and mobile (depending on the situation) to capture pretty much everything – meeting notes, ideas, photos of things I think will be interesting to share or write about, blog thought starters, or article snapshots that I want to mark up with my own thoughts.
There’s plenty already written about this amazing tool, so here’s three tips to make it easy:
- Make sure you use the notebooks – you can spend forever trawling your Random Notes, make it easy on your self.
- Use tags to make it easy to search and group notes
- Go Premium. I’ve been using it for years, and the additional features come in very handy when you reach a mass of content.
Once I have found and captured interesting content via any of the above, Buffer has become an output tool I use pretty regularly. I’ve always been on the fence about scheduling of content (and if I was honest probably erring on the side of “don’t”), but Buffer has made it very easy to do, and with a greater degree of flexibility than most. There’s nothing more annoying to have a Twitter feed flooded with a dozen updates from the same person, wallpapering your feed. Buffer helps avoid that occurring when you share.
There are also decent anaytics attached to it to measure the performance of what you share.
A few tips for using Buffer:
- Work on the times to share. Buffer will pick times by default, and will schedule your content accordingly. Experiment with adjusting these times to see what if any impact they can have.
- Don’t add time sensitive content to your Buffer. For example, if I wanted to share an update about Twitter’s share price, adding it to my Buffer would put it in queue and potentially make it irrelevant by the time it publishes. Try using the Share Now function within and only buffer evergreen content.
- Make sure you also move your messaging around once you’ve buffered it. I have at times found that a number of updates I have queued up one after another are similar in tone / topic. Drag and drop them to mix it up.
These aren’t the only tools I use, but form the most common ways I consume the flood of information out there.
So what about you? Any tools you use to manage the flow of information?
PHOTO – Iain Browne