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Tweetdeck: Helping You See The Wood From The Trees

There are lots of free applications which enhance and facilitate your use of Twitter: Tweetdeck, Osfoora, Hootsuite, Tweetcaster, Twicca, etc. I’m sure they all have similar features. Personally, I prefer Tweetdeck as I find it organises Twitter updates in a way I can promptly reply to people and see conversations I want to follow. I’m often asked how to use it so here are a few useful features to make your Tweetdeck (and Twitter) experience better.

Columns / Tweets / View Profiles

You automatically have the following columns:

  • All Friends – which is everyone you follow.
  • Mentions – which is everyone that tweets to you or mentions you.
  • Direct Messages – shows all your private chats with people.

You can create extra columns to view who you want to see chatting easily. Simply click on the + at the top left. This is very handy the more people you follow. My “All Friends” column (which is everyone I follow) shows on average 20 tweets per update. So a lot get missed.  I created a “Friends” column where I put some Tweeters I like into it, mainly people who I chat with on a regular basis and enjoy seeing what they are up to. This makes it much simpler to keep in touch with people I want to on Twitter.  You can create columns and put certain tweeters in them and you can also have columns for particular search terms, eg, I have a column for everyone that mentions Bloggertone, and on our fun #Twineup nights I create a temporary column for Twineup to see everyone that joins in making it easy for me to chat with everyone.

The red “rocket” (it’s what it looks like to me) is a simple way to view someone’s Profile as long as you know their exact Twitter name.

The Yellow pencil box is to start a new Tweet which opens up the box to type your Tweet – sometimes this stays open so you don’t need it always.


For the majority of the following features just click on the spanner button on the top right of the page – this takes you to settings and everything is there.  Settings can be switched on and off very simply. Here you can also choose the colours of your Tweetdeck – background, text, boxes etc, where you want the Update box to be, and the font.


If you have Tweetdeck open in the background whilst doing something else you can choose which Notifications, if any, that you want. So if someone Mentions you in a Tweet or sends you a Direct Message you get a small box opening up on your screen, with or without sound. Similar to receiving an email.  You can also be Notified if there is an update in one of your columns that you have created.  So when someone sends you a Direct Message it shows up immediately on Tweetdeck and you can see it, rather than having to open up Messages to check.

Add Other Accounts

You can add your other Social Media accounts:– Facebook – personal profile and business pages, Linkedin, MySpace, Buzz and Fourquare.  Also if you have more than one Twitter account, eg you have a personal and business Twitter alias or you Tweet for a client they can be added too.  This saves time switching between your different Social Media accounts if sometimes you want to say the same thing. Plus if you do tweet on behalf of a client sometimes you don’t need to log out as you and then back in as the client as you would have to on the Web based Twitter.

Tweetdeck on Mobiles

You can sync it with Tweetdeck on your iPhone (and smart phones) so the columns are the same. So you can tweet on the go the same as you would at home. Just download Tweetdeck on your phone and log into your account.

Filtering out

This is something I am asked about a lot. “How can I stop seeing all these tweets about XYZ? I don’t want to stop following the people – just those types of tweets.” You can filter out certain words, people or sources which is very handy and can be switched on and off as you want. Go to the spanner settings button then choose Global Filters. This is great if you don’t want tweets about football, xfactor, ge11 etc to fill up your view. I really like this feature sometimes.

Auto-completes Names

Tweetdeck auto-completes Twitter names so you only have to start typing the name and it gives you suggestions from your followers. So you don’t have to remember everyone’s exact name. Unfortunately I think I miss a lot of tweets to me because of the underscore before my name @_Sians because obviously people don’t always remember that. If using Tweetdeck you don’t need to worry about your tweets not getting to the person.

Shorten Links / Translate / Tweetshrink / Hashtags

You can shorten links as they are typed so it fits into your 140 character tweet easily. On the bottom left of your screen there is what I think looks like a cracker – click on this to shorten a link in your tweets. This is very helpful when limited to 140 characters.

You can tweetshrink your tweet – so if it is slightly over the 140 characters Tweetdeck will try and shorten it for you. This is the little downward arrow.

If you need to translate a tweet into another language, from Afrikans to Yiddish, you can on Tweetdeck using the “a” button.

When you are using hashtags on your tweet you can search ones you’ve used previously using the # button. This is handy if you are having different conversations using different hashtags.

Easy Replies / Retweets / DM’s / Spam Reporting and more

To get the square buttons as on the picture just hover your cursor over the Avatar of someone’s tweet.  You can reply simply by clicking on the top left curly arrow.

Simply Retweet the tweet by clicking on the bottom left arrow.

To send a Direct Message to that person click on the top right envelope.

To report Spam, Block, Follow, Unfollow, Email, Favourite, Translate tweet, View Profile and more click on the bottom right star (that’s what it looks like to me). This button is great as you can do a lot with it very quickly.  I particularly like the Block and Report Spam feature as it’s quick and feels very cleansing. 🙂

Real time Tweeting

There is the option to choose real time Twitter streaming. This goes fast depending how many people you follow. It means that you can see all your followers tweets but it updates constantly so you can get quite dizzy when watching. The upside of the realtime streaming is that you can see who people you follow are tweeting with whether you follow them or not. Normally you can only see your followers tweets if they are tweeting someone you already follow. Seeing the rest means you can catch up with conversations you may be interested in plus see new tweeters that you weren’t aware of before with similar interests maybe. It can help extend your Twitter horizon.


Photos / Videos / Location / Scheduled Tweets

By clicking on the pin icon on the bottom right of the screen you can choose your location to tweet from. This would be useful in the Foursquare application too.

Simply add your photos to your Tweets by clicking on the Camera button and you can choose your photo from your files.  It is the same to upload videos by clicking on the Video Camera button.

If you wish to schedule a Tweet to send later then click on the alarm clock.

The first time I used Tweetdeck I found it quite intimidating as the columns were all updating. I likened it to a flight controllers deck at the time. But stick with it and you won’t look back.  I hope the above is helpful if you do decide to try Tweetdeck or are struggling with it at the moment.

What do you like about Tweetdeck or the Twitter Application that you use?


Sian Phillips is the Managing Editor of and Content Editor on Sian is also the accountant for her clients and but is moving more and more into the content editing world; proofreading and editing blog posts, eBooks, novels and anything that is written. With over 25 years’ worth of experience in business and accounting Sian provides help to her clients with accounting and credit control. The other half of Sian’s day is spent working in the Social Media space; proofreading, copyediting, sharing posts and advice or conducting interviews for She is a qualified Accountant with an Honours Diploma in Journalism too.

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  • Hi Sian, I used to use Tweetdeck but changed to Hootsuite a while back! The main reason was that it gave much betteru00a0analyticsu00a0at that stage so I could analyse the best strategy for me and for clients, however from reading your post It seems that TD has introduced a lot of new features since I used it 🙂

  • Thanks for the comment Niall. I gave Hootsuite a go a while ago but much preferred Tweetdeck. And with Twitter buying Tweetdeck this week I’m sure it will be incorporating more features soon 🙂

  • Anonymous

    A great post Sian, I removed Tweetdeck some time ago as something had gone wrong with it on my laptop and tried Hootsuite for a while as others find it good but re-installed Tweetdeck some weeks ago and love love love it. it is my far my favourite and they have added so many new features which you have covered here – I really recommend it to all twitter users. I wonder will it change much now that Twitter own it??

  • Thanks Lorna – glad you’ve come back to the Tweetdeck fold 🙂 u00a0I found a couple of features that I wasn’t aware about before doing this post too. It will be interesting to see what develops now Twitter have bought it – watch this space….

  • Thanks for a really clear, detailed explanation of how TweetDeck works Sian.u00a0 I’ve been using TD for a couple of years and believe it or not I never even noticed the ‘red rocket’ button.u00a0 I’ve picked up loads of new tips from your post and I’ve bookmarked it so that I can refer back to it again.u00a0 I wish I had come across something like that in understandable English when I first set out to use TD.u00a0 Waiting eagerly for similar about Facebook lol.u00a0 No pressure.

  • Thanks Miriam. I’m glad I could be of some help. We must have a chat about Facebook soon 🙂

  • A great Resource _Sian ;)nI used to use tweetdeck and agree it is great to follow conversations and specific people. Most APIs now are getting more intuitive, and I am sure by the end of the year there will be 2-3 main players battling it out.nnMay have to consider a return to Tweetdeck after reading this post 😉

  • Thanks for the comment Elaine. I have a feeling Tweetdeck is only going to get better now that Twitter have bought it.

  • Anonymous

    I’m the same as Niall in that I moved over to Hootsuite some time ago. I think i’ll have to give TweetDeck a go again.

  • I had both Tweetdeck and Hootsuite installed. Personally I prefer Hootsuite and I left Tweetdeck for the very reason you stated in the last paragraph, I think I’ll go back and give it another go in the near future.u00a0 I love playing around with applications like that to see how they work and you’ve given a really comprehensive guide to using it.u00a0 Thanks Sian.

  • Thanks Mairu00e9ad. I really got dizzy the first time I used it but I stuck with it and I’m glad I did now.

  • Tweeting is another form of communication. We can say anything we want too but be sensitive enough for the damage.

  • Hey Mike, I thoroughly enjoyed your article. TBH I’m still having a hard time connecting to people on social media (especially Twitter). I’m not trying to sell anything, but I think it’s difficult to find something interesting to talk about. If I talk about my ‘kids and pets’ will people actually listen? How do you engage with your followers?

  • Hi Iona, thanks for your feedback. Social media is really tricky. I’ll admit, talking about your kids and pets isn’t for everyone–you have to test your network to see what kind of content works for them. I’ve seen people who do a great job blending stories from their personal lives with their professional pursuits; I’ve also seen people who have highly-engaging online presences that are strictly professional. It’s up to you to choose.

    I like to engage my followers by thanking them when they share an article, and respond to their feedback when I can. I also try to find a piece of content one of my followers shared and comment on it or share it through my network. When I think of engagement, I like to think of it as doing what I can to show my followers I’m listening to them.

  • Great headline! Hooked me right in for a top read. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. It’s always inspiring to hear from more experienced biz owners.

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