Sunday, November 16, 2014

Wasted characters

Although Twitter allows 140 characters, it's not a good idea to use them all. The less characters in your tweet, the greater the likelihood that your Twitter friends can retweet your tweets, and/or otherwise converse and interact with you.

The shorter the better.

There are a lot of ways you can cut down on the number of characters without losing ANY of the content. Here are a few which come to mind.

Things that can be left out, with no loss:

-"check this out"
-"watch this"
-"here is" or "here are"
-"for more info go to"
-unnecessary periods & colons
-"to buy tickets click here"
-excess hashtags
-"I uploaded a"
-"in case you missed it" or "ICYMI"
-"How" or "Why" [i.e., instead of "How X will impact...", or "Why X will impact..." why not just say "X will impact"?]
-"Study shows..." or "Report shows.."
-"Here's how" or "here's why"
-"a" & "the"
-"breaking:" or "breaking news:"

Things that can be shortened, with no loss:

-"eight" -- 8
-"million" -- M
-"billion" -- B
-"3:00 to 4:00 p.m." -- "3-4pm"
-"and" -- "&"
-"News from the Associated Press" -- "AP:"

Undoubtedly I'll come up with new things to add to the above list, and so will you; so if you have any good ones, shoot me a comment and I'll update the list from time to time.


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Sunday, September 14, 2014

How to use twitter lists

Twitter offers an interesting and helpful tool... the ability to create lists of users.

What to use them for

My primary usage for lists is to organize my reading. I follow 11,000 people. Instead of one big, sometimes dizzying timeline -- which I do sometimes read -- I can use lists to break them down into more manageable groups.

I'm sure there are lots of other uses for them, but that's what I do with them.

The basics

The maximum number of lists you can have is 1000, and the maximum number of members you can include on a list is 5000. These numbers are so massive that you should never, ever, run up against them.

Each list can be "private", in which case only you can see it, or "public", in which case everyone can see it.

You can keep abreast of someone's tweets through a list, without actually following their account.

Twitter says you can "follow" or "subscribe to" a list, but I truly have no idea what that means. As near as I can tell, following, or "subscribing to", a list does not seem to mean that the tweets of list members will show up on your "home" page.

It's easy to start a list. On, e.g., you can go to (a) gear icon > lists > create new list, or (b) do it "on the fly" when listing someone -- i.e. person's profile page > more user actions > add or remove from lists > create list.

It's easy to add people to one or more lists. On simply:  person's profile page > more user actions > add or remove from lists, then check off which list or lists you want the person on.

And of course it's easy to add or remove someone from the above mentioned "add or remove" page.

So it's real easy to start lists and to add people to lists.

List maintenance

What's not so easy is maintaining the lists, especially if they are lengthy, as twitter supplies no effective tool for that, and application developers have been slow to create one. If you wanted to prune a list, or move or copy people from one list to another, or remove people from a list, you may find it quite time consuming.

The best list management tool of which I'm aware is It enables you to do many operations much quicker than you could do them on It also doubles as a follower management tool.

To work on your lists you select the desired list from the Lists tab,  "load all [members of the list]", and go to work.

Viewing lists

The best way to view lists is in applications which are designed to accommodate them in separate columns. On my pc I use Tweetdeck. Some people use Hootsuite. On my iphone I use Echofon or Tweetlist.

But you can view them on; just go to your own profile page > lists, click on the list you'd like to read, and go through the tweets from that list.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tweetdeck for Firefox

For years I was a devoted user of Tweetdeck for Desktop.

Once Twitter bought Tweetdeck it started eviscerating it, then dropped it altogether except in an unusable web format and then in a usable web format... Tweetdeck for Chrome.

Because I was a Firefox rather than a Chrome user, it meant for me having to run a second web browser, putting my twitter-accompanying bookmarks there, and having two browsers open all the time.

Now Tweetdeck has finally launched an add-on for Tweetdeck to be run in Firefox.

You just:

-go to the Firefox marketplace and get the add-on:
-then set up a bookmark in your Firefox browser for

And you're in business, using Firefox to access Tweetdeck.

And you don't have to use Chrome unless you want to.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Follower management on Twitter

(Updated 8/23/14 11:17 PM EDT)
(Updated 7/13/14 6:15 PM EDT)

Why you need to do it.

In order to reduce spammy "following", Twitter has a rule that applies to all accounts which follow more than 2000 people:

Your "following" number must be no more than 10% higher than your "followers" number.

Example A: following 2001; followers 1700 ==> You will NOT be allowed to follow anyone new.
Example B: following 2001; followers 1897 ==> You are ok.
Example C: following 8700; followers 8000 ==> You are ok.

Tip [if you're unable to follow more people at this time]: my suggestion is to start unfollowing some of the people who aren't following you, and unfollowing the people who don't tweet any more, until your following number is no longer more than 10% higher than your followers number.

Tip [if you want to avoid this problem in the future]: make sure to maintain your "following" number at less than, or at least not much more than, your "followers" number, so you don't wind up having to spend a lot of time some day unfollowing people.

Tip: If there are unfollowers who you would like to follow anyway, such as celebrities, news organizations, etc., unfollow them and add them to a list so you can get their stuff without technically following them. That way they won't be skewing your following/followers ratio.

Follower management tool: the ideal

The ideal follower management tool would enable you to:

-quickly see at a glance all accounts which you are following but are not following you back, and any lists of yours on which they appear;
-check off which accounts should be unfollowed and/or removed from lists; and
-whitelist and hide those which you are willing to continue to follow even if they do not follow you back.

If you know of any such tool, please let me know. I haven't found it yet.

Follower management tools which do exist

The follower management tool I used to use was, but that changed into something else.

The follower management tool I've been using for the last couple of months is

What's good about it is

-it loads quickly
-it has good, useful filters
-it gives you the ability to "whitelist" accounts you are going to follow even if they don't meet your normal criteria
-you can get a list of accounts you've muted or blocked

A word of advice: DON'T use any of's automated functions; they could turn you into a spammer.

Other follower management tools I haven't checked out lately:

-the "Cleanup" Tool offered by; (h/t @klbkultur);; (h/t @rM1L);
-Tweepi (h/t @Penny_Wyse); (h/t MariKurisato);

[If you know of others which work well, or if any of my information has become outdated, or if you have any additional information on this evolving subject, please let me know in the Comments section, and I'll check it out. Thanks.]

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Can't stand the new Google Maps? Here's how to switch back to the old view

It seems that people can't leave well enough alone.

Google Maps came up with a new format that is entirely unusable.

I despaired until I learned that it's easy to switch back to the old view.

Click on the question mark in the lower right hand corner.

You'll find a menu option of switching back to Google Maps classic view.

Click that and you'll be ok again.

That is... until they take that away from us.

Friday, April 4, 2014

How to find info thru Twitter: lesson I learned from Leslie (@1txsage1957), Libero (@ldellapiana), & Eric (@ebrooks)

Sometimes people comment about my ability to find important news and information that is not available elsewhere.

I really learned this skill from 3 of my oldest Twitter friends, people on Twitter who were here before me: Leslie (@1txsage1957), Libero (@ldellapiana), and Eric (@ebrooks)

I noticed that they were coming up with news stories that were simply not available to me in the mainstream media.

From their work I learned that Twitter was a great tool for finding the news that's hard to find.

I started (a) doing keyword searches for topics that were of interest, following the people I found who tweeted good material, (b) following people who were retweeted consistently, and (c) following the RSS feeds of some of the more interesting websites to which my tweets had led me. These made twitter a powerful tool for finding the stuff that doesn't make it into the mainstream media and the mainstream history books.

I learned the importance of this firsthand in 2004, when I was basically an eyewitness to massive election fraud taking place in Ohio during the presidential election. The Ohio media were reporting on it, but the mainstream national media had adopted a "company line", creating a fictionalized version of what had occurred. I assume they did so because they thought the American people "can't handle the truth".

In 2009 the US "mainstream media" suppressed information about the all important protests of the indigenous rainforest peoples of Peru, who were standing up against their government's illegal attempt to confiscate most of the remaining Peruvian rainforest for the benefit of oil and other mineral exploration interests. These humble people were waging a struggle not just for themselves but for all mankind. Not a single mainstream US media source covered the story. Had they been covering it, the bloodshed which ensued -- a massacre which appeared to include the hunting of unarmed people with machine guns from helicopters supplied to Peru by the US -- might have been averted. The only major media coverage of the protests was in the UK.

Only after the massacre had ensued, did the US media give any coverage, and it was slight, begrudging, and falsely reported.

So I continue to look for the real news. And Twitter helps me do it.

And I can thank Leslie, Libero, and Eric for showing me the way.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What to do if Twitter account hijacked & sending out spam DM's or tweets

This post was first published Nov. 2, 2009, and has been modified from time to time

Twitter is often plagued with people's accounts being infected, then sending out spam direct messages (DM's) or tweets, such as "is this you", or "Hey somebody is saying really bad things about you", or other things calculated to tempt you to click on a link.

Probably the way you got infected was by clicking on one of those links when you received it, and then doing something at the site to which you were connected.

If this happens to your account:

1. Go to your profile "settings".

2. Change your password to a new password having a different length.

3. Go to Settings >Apps and revoke access to everything you see.

4. Go to Settings  > Account and make sure your email address is right.

5. Exit from Twitter.

6. Clear your browser cache.

7. Exit your browser.

8. Restart the browser, and log in to Twitter with your new password.

9. Go to Settings>Apps again to make sure that there are no apps which still have access.

And in the future, don't ever click on any DM or tweet link unless you're totally sure of it.

If you receive a spam DM or tweet there are basically 2 things to do:

1. if it's an account you don't know, delete the DM or tweet

2. if it's an account you do know, notify them that their account has been hacked (and if you like you can refer them to this article)

It's not a bad idea to visit your Settings > Apps page, from time to time, and see if there are any unfamiliar apps in there. If so, revoke access to them. If you need them in the future, you'll be prompted.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

My next phase in mobile tweeting... iphone with @tweetlist

This is not a review; I am not qualified to judge mobile hardware, mobile software, or mobile anything.

I'm just relating my preliminary views on this next phase on which I'm embarking.

I became active in blogging and social media starting in 2004, although I joined LinkedIn in 2003. The whole time since then almost all of my social networking and social media activity has been on a desktop. I didn't migrate from blackberry until 5 years ago or so, and then I went to a series of Android phones.

I went in the Android direction because I don't like Apple any more than I like Microsoft, and Android seemed to provide a more open world in which to function. But each of my Android phones was a disappointment to me. They seemed to never have battery power whenever I was about to actually use them for something; they seemed to shut off all the time, and act unstably. So, since I take my Twitter seriously, I never really got much tweeting done on the smartphone, instead sticking almost entirely with my desktop, and sort of envying those who could easily travel in both worlds.

The other day I switched to iphone, and found it to be a better machine in a lot of ways than any android I possessed. It's smaller, fits in the pocket; it's faster and more powerful; you can actually shut applications off easily and save power, and set them not to restart unasked. It even feels more solid.

Since Twitter was the thing I was most interested in accessing with it, my big question was which Twitter iphone app to use. For my style of tweeting the key things I was looking for were: (a) the ability to do "classic" or "traditional" or real retweets, as opposed to Twitter's fake pseudo-retweets misnamed "native" retweets (in case you don't know what I'm talking about, it's all explained here); (b) the ability to easily access lists, because I follow a lot of people, and use lists to organize my reading into manageable groups instead of a single timeline that goes by too fast to pay proper attention to people; (c) speed, power, and simplicity, which I have found are 3 different aspects of the same thing in the computer world; (d) flexibility in picking my url shortener; and (e) a long tweet extender.

On desktop I use Twitter's tweetdeck for chrome, which isn't as perfect as the real tweetdeck was, but is ok; it falls short for me because it gives me no real choice of url shorteners, and doesn't support a long tweet extender.

So I tried a bunch of things, twitter for iphone, tweetcaster, tweetbot, hootsuite, ubersocial, and tweetlist. The one that fit my style the best was tweetlist... tweetlist 4, to be exact.

1. It enables me to do traditional retweets; I just have to click "retweet with comment". And it does it in a very elegant way, because once you've clicked that, the "RT" is inserted for you and the cursor positions itself one space to the left of the RT.... i.e., all you need to do is click "send" (and in case you want to add something to the tweet, you're ready to rumble, no need to move the cursor anywhere at all, just type).

2. It's very easy to access your lists, as there's a "TweetLists" icon at the bottom; click that and you're in business on reading your lists. If you swipe to the left or to the right, you move to the next list. [I used tweetlist to create a "sent" column, so I could check my own tweets, like I could on my profile page. I did this by making a private Twitter list called "sent", and then, on tweetlist, added myself as the list's only member]

3. The application is very simple, not fancy, and as a result is fast and powerful. When I press the top of the screen to get to the top of a list it's instantaneous.

4. I was able to pick and choose among 6 URL shorteners, including my personal favorite, (If you're particular about your photo service, Tweetlist gives you twelve to choose from; I'm such a newbie at using a mobile device for cool things like sharing pictures, I wouldn't even know which one to pick, but I'm sure I'll eventually come to appreciate the element of choice).

5. I was given the option of auto expanding oversized tweets, and even given a choice of 2 different services with which to do it... twitlonger and twtmore.

So I'm liking Twitterlist 4.

I think it cost $2.99. I'm definitely a satisfied customer.

If you have any wisdom to share on the subject of mobile tweeting, would love to hear it, and will try to soak up whatever I can learn.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Any thoughts on best twitter app for iphone?

I'm getting my very first iphone, and wondering about what twitter app I should try.

I would need something that's fast, that's good for monitoring lists, and which enables 'classic retweets'.

On desktop I mostly use Tweetdeck for Chrome.

I don't care if it's free or paid.

Some of the names I've seen: tweetbot, tweetlogix, twitteriffic, tweetcaster, twittelator, echofon, tweetlist.

Any suggestions for me?