How to Use Twitter
The past few weeks have me reflecting on my Twitter experience.
I really enjoy Twitter, because I've taken the time to customize it. The default experience sucks.
So here are various ways I've tweaked Twitter to make it wonderful instead of "that hellsite".
First and most importantly, DO NOT use the algorithmic feed.
Set your timeline to Latest Tweets to see what the people you follow say in reverse chronological order.
How do you find people to follow? Start with people you guess are interesting and follow them.
Unfollow if they turn out to be dull.
But if interesting, wait for them to retweet other interesting accounts and follow those. Build over time, not at once.
If someone annoys you, block them. Don't waste another minute of your life on them. Block liberally, block often.
Your list of follows can get bloated after a while. It's good to tidy it up from time to time.
This tool helped me remove hundreds of follows that no longer sparked joy.
Is there an topic everyone is talking about, but you just can't take it anymore?
Mute it, don't look back.
See an interesting tweet but don't have the time to engage with it?
You can come back to it later.
Ok, that's the basics. Now for some power user stuff.
Sometimes you follow a person who is interesting, but tweets so much they flood your timeline. What to do?
Unfollow and add them to a list instead. You can view their stuff separately at your leisure.
Once you've got a few lists (build your own, don't just subscribe to someone else's), the easiest way to browse them is with TweetDeck. Set up columns with your lists in whatever way you like. As always, be ready/willing to prune list members.
When using TweetDeck, I recommend the new beta version. I'm not sure it's been rolled out to everyone yet. In case you can't access it, just set a cookie in the browser to enable it.
document.cookie = "tweetdeck_version=beta"
TweetDeck isn't just for putting your lists into columns. You can also add columns for your DMs, for notifications, for bookmarks, and more.
Use these various columns to create custom dashboards for managing your Twitter!
The most advanced recommendation I have is to use uBlock Origin in your browser.
Not only is it an ad-blocker, but you can use it to strip out parts of Twitter that annoy you. I use it to remove the algorithmic crap like Trending Topics.
Mobile Twitter apps won't let you customize the experience, so I don't use them. Instead I use the Firefox browser for Android, because it lets me use uBlock Origin and get the same cruft removal I enjoy on desktop.
It's kinda nuts, really, that I put this much work into making Twitter a good website to use.
But I think just mindlessly accepting what the algorithm serves is asking for trouble.