Most Twitter users follow less than a few hundred people, which means that they’re able to keep track of all the tweets that pass through their account.
However, once you follow more than a thousand Twitter users, the stream of messages flowing through your account really starts to speed up.
Eventually it reaches the stage where you can’t keep track of all the tweets posted by the people that you follow.
Your first instinct may be to unfollow certain Twitter users whose tweets are less relevant to your interests.
And in some cases, this is a good idea.
However, this won’t help you much if you follow a number of people who post a combination of amazing tweets and complete rubbish.
So here are a few of the best Twitter filtering techniques that you can use to separate the good from the bad in your Twitter stream.
According to recent stats, approximately 19% of all tweets contain a link, so this provides another way to filter your Twitter stream.
Introducing MicroPlazza, a useful service that allows you to organize the messages in your Twitter stream that contain links according to either the recency or the popularity. The system takes into account the number of times that each link has been (re)tweeted and more specifically, the number of times that these links have been tweeted by the people that you’re following.
This method of filtering is based on the idea that you’re more likely to be interested in the links tweeted by the people that you’ve chosen to follow.
MicroPlazza also allows you to sort the Twitter stream of any other Twitter user, so you can see the popularity of the links that the people they follow are posting. This is extremely useful if you follow people with a specific interest and you want to keep up to date with relevant links that are circulating within these micro communities.
Another way to filter your Twitter stream is to organize the people that you follow into specific groups.
Splitting the Twitter users that you follow into different groups means that there will be fewer people in each group which will slow down the rate at which new messages flow through each group making them easier to track.
There are several different ways to sub-divide your Twitter stream. One of the best ways is to use a Twitter client that supports grouping, such as the desktop programs Destroy Twitter, Tweetdeck and Seesmic or a Twitter web-based application such as PeopleBrowsr.
Some of these options also allow you to filter your groups even further. For example, Tweetdeck allows you to filter the tweets in each group according to specific keywords.
In general, creating Twitter sub-groups is a good way to regain an element of control over your Twitter stream. However, as it only allows you to sort users at an account level, the results aren’t perfect.
For example, if you follow 500 people in the PR industry who tweet about general items in addition to their work, filtering these users into a specific group will help to concentrate the number of PR related tweets in the stream, but it will still contain a significant amount of trivia that is of little interest to you.
Grouping will make it easier to keep up to date with each individual category, but ultimately, you’ll still have the same number of tweets flowing through the selection of categories that you create.
The third way to keep your Twitter stream under control is to filter the tweets according to specific keywords.
Philtro is an interesting Twitter filtering service with great potential. Once you sign up and link it to your Twitter account, you can give any tweet that flows through your Twitter account the thumbs up or the thumbs down. Over time Philtro learns the type of tweets that you like and the ones that you dislike. This data is then used to filter the messages that flow through your Twitter account so that you only see the posts that are likely to be of interest to you. The more tweets you rate, the better the system works.
Likewise, Filttr is a web-based application that allows you to apply keyword filtering to your Twitter account. It allows you to blacklist and whitelist keywords which are then specifically displayed or prevented from appearing in your Twitter stream. However, due to the number of filtering options available, it can take some time to work out how to get the best from this service.
Do you find it difficult to keep up with all the tweets flowing through your Twitter account? How do you keep your account under control? What method of filtering do you use? Have you discovered a better way to keep up to date with your Twitter stream? Let us know using the comments below.