TweetDeck is the most useful application for managing Twitter that I’ve found. While many call it “intuitive,” some of my clients are intimidated by it. Perhaps they don’t realize it has tooltip-type hints when you mouse over the various buttons, or maybe the tips don’t explain enough. For those of you who want more than tooltips, here is a basic introduction to TweetDeck.
Organize your screen with these buttons
The following nine buttons function as toggles. That is, click once to open, and click again to close. They are found at the upper left of your screen. (Where appropriate, I’ve linked to some tutorials on another site that explain certain functions in more detail.)
- Click here to type a message (status update). When you click this button, several other buttons become available which I will collectively refer to as the tweetbox. They are explained below.
- This opens or closes a column that shows all updates from everyone you follow. Usually it’s open.
- Click this button to start a new group.
- Click here to set up a search column.
- Click here to start a column that monitors all replies to you. (That is, all messages that have @yourtwittername in them.)
- If you want to have a column of all your direct messages, click here.
- This button sets up a column with all your favorited tweets.
- Twitscoop enables you to see what the hot twitter topics are.
- 12seconds is “the best place online for video status updates.” When you click this button it will ask you for your login.
Using the tweetbox to post a message. (Button 1 above.)
Your message is also called a status update. You type it into the tweetbox, the largest blank field in the form (A). As you know, you only have 140 characters at your disposal. Tweetdeck helps you get the most out of them. If you are linking to another page, Tweetdeck will shorten the url using one of several link-shortening services. Paste your link in at (B) and choose the service from (C). (In this case, tinyURL.) Then click the Shorten button (D).
Do you want to share a picture? Type the caption for your picture into the message box, and click the TwitPic button (E). Tweetdeck gets the photo uploaded to TwitPic, and inserts a shortened url to the image. You just have to press enter.
Finally, if your message is just a leetle too long, click (F) to use Tweetshrink to trim it down. It will change you to u, are to r, and the like, in an effort to get your message under the 140 character limit.
Info from an individual status update
Each group that you create is a vertical column of messages, with the newest at the top. Each message, or status update, is designed to provide a wealth of information and utility, but you need to mouse over the picture of the writer of that message to access the tools. Below is a reply I sent to @gardenofwords. You can’t see the cursor, but it is resting over my profile picture so that the four grey icons show up. These are buttons for the basic twitter functions: reply, direct message, retweet, and favorite.
If you click on the name of the sender of the message or any @twittername, Tweetdeck will open the Profile of that user in a column on the right. You can look over that user’s updates, read their bio and click on any url they’ve provided in their profile, and then, at the bottom of the column, click a button to follow them. If you’re already a follower, you can add or remove them from a group.
Next to the sender’s name is a plus sign (+). Click on that to add the sender to one or more groups (assuming you already follow her). If you click on the datestamp of the message, it will take you to the status permalink. This is the url of that message, which is useful if you want to link to it or bookmark it.
Tweetdeck also shows you the application used to send the message, and links to that application. This is useful for finding new ways to tweet.
After the application name is a link to the message that the current message is replying to. If the sender had clicked on the reply icon for the correct message, when you click on this link you will see the tweet that inspired the reply.This can sometimes be cut off if the user’s twittername is long or if the columns are narrow. When it works, it can be very helpful in putting replies in context.
Other Twitter tutorials
The advantage of a still tutorial such as this one is that you can refer to it as you’re using TweetDeck. But a video tutorial can help give you the big picture. I chose these particular tutorials because they illustrated features of TweetDeck that I haven’t covered in this tutorial. You will find a lot more videos on YouTube about TweetDeck, but most are of poor quality.
- How to Create a Group and Use the Search Function
- Rearranging Columns, Search Function, Change Settings (including colors)
- New features in the latest version 0.21b
Meet Iain Dodsworth
TweetDeck is currently the work of one person, Iain Dodsworth. In this video interview he discusses his plans for TweetDeck’s future. More about TweetDeck Pro. If you would like to help direct that future, vote for your favorite features at the TweetDeck feedback forum.