Kicking My Twitter Addiction

twitter toolMy name is Jen and I have a problem. I’m addicted to Twitter. There, I said it … that’s the first step to recovery, right? Now on to step two, finding a way to stay on top of my Twitter streams without spending all day glued to TweetDeck.

I’m an information junkie with a short attention span who likes to complete things, which makes Twitter both a blessing and a curse for me. There’s so much interesting content to consume and it’s easy to skim, but it never ends. Managing two personal accounts and a brand account gave me plenty of reason to flip over to TweetDeck throughout the day, but as the list of people I was following grew, I found myself checking more and more frequently to make sure I wasn’t missing anything.

TweetDeck is my client of choice. By default, any given column holds the 200 most recent tweets for the list, saved search, etc. that you’re following. As my “following” list grew, I felt pressured to check more frequently to make sure I didn’t lose any tweets. It also got harder to skim as my list got more diverse – context switching between technology, startups, local news, social media, fashion, bloggers, sports and friends can slow you down.

So, step 2 on my path to recovery starts with Twitter lists. I’ve organized the Tweeters that I follow into separate lists by category – one public “entrepreneur essentials” list plus a few other private lists for bloggers, Chicago news, entertainment, friends, etc. Each one gets its own column in TweetDeck. On my laptop, I can see almost 5 full columns without having to scroll. My most important lists are in one of those first 5 spots and the others that are really more entertainment/distraction are off to the right.

One day living with my new TweetDeck set up and I’ve already noticed a big improvement. I no longer feel pressured to keep checking for fear of missing something. Fewer interruptions, more focus. When I do pop over for a fix, I can skim an important column quickly, mark the posts read and delete them without being distracted by the “fun” stuff blocked from view over in columns 6-12 – I’ll catch up on those later, while I watch TV. Yes, I agree that 12 columns is still too many … baby steps.

Any other suggestions for a recovering Twitter-holic?