A routine criticism of Twitter I hear during social media strategy presentations is it moves by so quickly it’s impossible to follow all the tweets. That may be true, but there are ways around the apparent speed at which Twitter flies by on screen. This analogy on how to slow it down came to me while helping a friend who has gone back to school with her physics homework. Trying to dust the cobwebs off from memories of long ago physics classes, I recalled strobe light experiments we conducted in high school physics class. When you flash a strobe light at the right speed in front of a moving object, you can effectively make the object look like it has slowed down or stopped. You can see an example in the video below. (There’s another example from MIT that’s worth watching as well).
Well-defined search columns in application such as Tweetdeck of Hootsuite do the same thing as the strobe light does with the water flow. They slow down the information stream by only allowing you to see tweets which meet certain characteristics you want based on who they’re from or what the topic is. Using Twitter search capabilities, you can even look backward into the Twitter stream to find tweets of value to you.
With these searches in place, you can slow down how Twitter looks to you in order to have time to track, process, and respond to the people and subjects which are important to you. For those who feel overwhelmed, that should help get it under control. –Mike Brown
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