Twitter Tips: TweetDeck App Gets You Organized, Automated

The handy, free TweetDeck app will help you organize personal and business Tweets, automate coordination with Facebook, and more. Here are quick and easy instructions on how and why to get started with TweetDeck.

If you finally caught up with Twitter and found out what all the fuss is about, you now might be wondering: what the heck is TweetDeck? In short, TweetDeck is a helpful, no-cost application that will help you get more from Twitter by sorting through messages more efficiently than the regular version of the service provided on Twitter's website.

Apps like TweetDeck emerged in large part because Twitter serves a wide array of purposes for its users. By building a business presence on Twitter, professionals hear what people say about their products and keep track of industry colleagues. Consumers can follow messages shared by their friends, family or favorite celebrities.

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On the regular version of Twitter (which you access by logging into Twitter.com), your stream of updates will encompass everyone whose Twitter feeds you follow, which can be overwhelming. You can't have separate windows for your friends, family, colleagues, and customers. Instead, it all streams down your Twitter home page in one unified view.

Luckily, TweetDeck has a lot of upsides for business users who want to get a better grip on Twitter. TweetDeck allows you to partition off groups of your Twitter acquaintances into their own nice, tidy window panes. It's ideal for people looking to balance and organize their professional and personal interests on Twitter. In addition, TweetDeck integrates with Facebook, so you can view status messages from your contacts on that service, or easily publish your own tweets to their Facebook News Feeds.

TweetDeck runs on Adobe AIR, a technology that allows you to use rich Internet applications (RIAs) on your desktop. As such, you must Download TweetDeck (and it will direct you to install Adobe AIR if you don't already have it). When you launch TweetDeck, you simply enter in your Twitter user name and password to get started.

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Adding Groups to TweetDeck

Within the main console of TweetDeck, you'll find three main windows the app sets up by default (All Friends, Replies and Direct Messages).

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Above the window panes, you will see a menu of buttons. Choose the middle button (when your mouse scrolls over it, it will say "Group").

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After you choose the Group button, a new window will emerge on the far right side of your TweetDeck screen. Type what you want to call the group, and check off the names of the people you would like to add to it.

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When you're done, click "Save Group."

To the right of your default windows, you should now see your new Tweet group. Here's one I have that displays tweets from my colleagues in CIO's editorial department.

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