How to use TweetDeck

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.)

  1. 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.
  2. This opens or closes a column that shows all updates from everyone you follow. Usually it’s open.
  3. Click this button to start a new group.
  4. Click here to set up a search column.
  5. Click here to start a column that monitors all replies to you. (That is, all messages that have @yourtwittername in them.)
  6. If you want to have a column of all your direct messages, click here.
  7. This button sets up a column with all your favorited tweets.
  8. Twitscoop enables you to see what the hot twitter topics are.
  9. 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.)

(Click image to enlarge)

(Click image to enlarge)

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.

Click on image to enlarge

Click on image to enlarge

When you click the Reply button, the tweetbox opens up, with @recipient already inserted for you. The same thing happens with the Direct Message button; d recipient is inserted in the message box for you. Likewise, if you want to Retweet a message, clicking the button will insert the necessary info in the Tweetbox for you to edit as desired. And if it’s a tweet you wish to refer to later, you can Favorite it.

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.

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.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • ChabrellIgan

    God dag! Kan jag ladda ner en bild fran din blogg. Av sak med hanvisning till din webbplats!

  • Hi,
    Thanks for the explaination but I have a problem with tweet deck.I have installed it many times and when I run it , a message in the botton right hand side says(twitter status not authorized) and I try to send an update , it says that update is not sent.Please email me what I can do to solve this problem as I reinstalled it many times but the same problem show up.

  • Kathy, that was an absolutely terrific post. TweetDeck is *the* main tool I use on a daily basis. I’ve found nothing else that compares with it. Thanks again for your stellar input to this online community!

  • paul

    How can I tweet and post to FB at the same time?

  • Julia Skinner

    I love tweetdeck but can’t access any of the links that folk post. I can open them via twitter but not tweetdeck.
    Any ideas?

  • I have been told that I can link tweetdeck to the blog on my website. Is this true and how do I do it?


  • Kathy Purdy

    Hi, Kadee–I think you are confusing Tweetdeck with Twitter itself. If you look at the very bottom of your Twitter (not Tweetdeck) page, you’ll see a link to Goodies. There are widgets there that can go in your blog. Your blogging software probably offers more options. For example, there are a lot of WordPress plugins available to display your tweets.

  • I just started with TweetDeck. My version 0.32.6 doesn’t show those 9 toggles you mention. I have 3 (one for updates, one for columns & one for profile). Where are the 9 toggles in this version. I can’t find “search”, “replies”, “direct messages,” etc.
    Can you explain? I appreciate your help.

  • Kathy Purdy

    Debra, I am sorry. My tutorial was for an older version. There are now video tutorials at the Tweetdeck website. Perhaps one day I will do a new tutorial with screenshots, but I am currently helping clients learn how to use their blogging software.

  • Kathy
    Thanks for your fast reply. However, I’m on TweetDeck and don’t see any video tutorials. I even searched Google for “TweetDeck Video Tutorials” and while several show up, none are actually TweetDeck. Do you have a URL you can direct me to?

  • When I start up Tweetdeck, a welcome screen pops up. Click any of the panels in that welcome screen, and a video starts. I tried one of them, and the narrator spoke very fast with a British accent. I figured I’d have to listen to it several times to really “get” it. But those were the videos I was thinking of. Wouldn’t surprise me if they were done by Iain himself. Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out how to turn the Welcome screen back on if you unchecked the box to show it on start up. It could be the videos you found on your search were the same ones.

    The main Tweetdeck site has a Features page that has a listing of all the icons and what they stand for. Each item in the list is a link to more information. Also, if you click the question mark icon at the top right in the Tweetdeck program, it takes you to the support site. There is a series of articles intended for beginners there. I haven’t had time to look them over. Strangely enough, I could find no mention of the videos that are on the Welcome screen at the support site.

    Truthfully, the way I learned Tweetdeck was to hover my mouse cursor over various things to see what the tool tip said, and then I just tried stuff out. Is there something specific you want to do that you can’t figure out how to do?

    I made the original tutorial for a client, and even while I was making it Tweetdeck upgraded and the interface changed slightly. It took me a lot of time to make that tutorial because of all the screen shots and I’m not sure I want to make that investment of time again.

    If you still feel intimidated after checking out the videos and the help articles, you can hire me to walk you through it. There is software available that will enable me to look at your computer screen and use your mouse to point things out to you. Combine that with a phone or Skype call, and it is almost as good as my being there. (About the only thing I can’t do is pat you on the back when you get it.)

  • The “buttons” that you speak of at the top left – next the the tweetdeck icon – I don’t have! Also – I’m not able to participate in a tweetchat for some reason – can you help me?

    I click on the hashtag – I see the others in that group – then when I tweet a response and include the #hashtag – it doesn’t appear. They don’t know that I’m there trying to get involved in the conversation!!! What am I doing wrong?

  • The reason you don’t see the buttons is that this is actually a pretty old tutorial. Tweetdeck has changed a lot. I have only used tweetchat once myself and I really can’t help you with that, sorry. But tweetchat is different than Tweetdeck.

  • Thanks, Kathy! After 18 months, this still has useful information for the TweetDeck newbie like myself. Perhaps you will publish an update??

  • I am thinking about it. Thank you for the encouragement.

  • Thanks for the tips. I am confused though. Maybe you guys can help clarify.

    When you have several Twitter accounts on TweetDeck can you alternate between them for the TweetDeck columns? All I can see is my default account. I would love to alternate between Twitter accounts I have three I am trying to manage.

    Thanks guys.

  • Hi Nicawho!
    On the left hand side at the top you will see From: & two icons – one for each account. You just have to make sure you click the right icon when you post. For seeing those groups just set up a group. Again at the tiop are 3 symbols, click the + sign & follow the instructions to create a group. Alternately, you can set up a colum either @ or # & your id.
    Hope this helps a bit!

  • stevey

    Hi Ive left my details on tweetdeck and forgot to remove them when I left my job – How do I stop someone from tweeting on my account without my permission? ive changed my password on twitter and facebook and tweetdeck when I got home after realising what I had forgotten to do – will that stop someone from possibly accessing my details from the tweetdeck at work which had my old password details?

  • Is there anyway you can change your Twitter username when you’re on Tweetdeck? Or do you have to use the Twitter website to do this?

    – Holly

  • You can only change your Twitter user name through the official Twitter interface.

  • Thanks for this overview and the links to the youtube tutorials. They are all very helpful. Tweetdeck seems to have lots of functionality that you need to learn over time.

  • Pakistani

    Thanks alot!

  • Robert Weller

    I cannot figure out how to get rid of the individual box messages that the system generates. in my case in the bottom right corner. i don’t want these. anywhere. please tell me how to disable them. thanks.

  • Those are system notifications. Click the wrench. Choose notifications. Then under notification windows, click on Detail On to turn it off, and click on Summary On to turn it off.

  • Liora Taylor

    Thanks for your help Kathy!
    Those system notifications were driving me crazy!

  • You’re welcome

  • This is all good information. Any chance of you updating this piece? I’ve just installed v0.37.6.

  • Kathy, I’m so glad I found this article, I’m all set to go with Tweetdeck!
    One question though, I have been using Buffer to spread my tweets out during the day. But I see that when I use Tweetdeck, Buffer doesn’t link in. Would you suggest just scheduling tweets manually – I did see an option for this somewhere. Or would you recommend favouriting tweets so I can look at them later and retweet manually in real time. I’m hoping to find the simplest solution! (aren’t we all!)
    Thanks for your help.

  • I am not familiar with Buffer, so I can’t help you on that.

  • I would like to do an update, but it will have to wait until winter. Feel free to remind me after Christmas.

  • Nikki

    We are just learning how to use tweet deck! This information was wonderful. Does anyone know how to schedule updates for a facebook group site? It only seems to work on our personal pages. Is this not possible? …. Any help would be great.

  • Trey

    How do I see my sent direct messages and replies using tweetdeck i only see what is sent to me??

  • Trey

    any and all help would be appreciated

  • Hi,
    can anyone tell me how to best filter tweets? For example I am setting up a games marketplace and would like to re-tweet any relevant games news. My question is how do you find that relevant news efficiently?

  • Rhonda

    Can these buttons be put on the Tweetdeck for Chrome app? Thank you for sharing the information.