Tuesday, November 6, 2012

election night twitter tips

Tonight promises to be one of the biggest nights in the history of twitter.  If the presidential debates were any indication, the tweets will be flying so fast it will be hard to keep up.  If you're planning on being on twitter tonight, it will probably help to go in with a strategy....and my strategy starts with TweetDeck.(Yes, I know there are alternatives to TweetDeck, but it's still my favorite.)

TweetDeck is a organizational tool that, among other things, helps you filter and sort your tweets.  You can create different columns of tweets based on groups of users, search results, and direct interactions.  TweetDeck can be used as a stand alone desktop program, in your web browser, or on your cell phone.  I'm a huge fan of one of the older desktop versions (38.1 is the BOMB) but all of the versions have the same basic functionality, and will help you survive tonight without information overload.

If you are as excited about watching the news unfold on twitter tonight as I am, here are a few of my tips:
(Tips for anyone who want's to be on twitter tonight, but avoid the crazy talk are at the end.)
  1. Allow yourself some time to get your TweetDeck set up for tonight.  This goes for new users and TweetDeck pros.  It won't take long, but you're going to want to give yourself some time to customize your view of twitter tonight. 
  2. Set up a column for trusted sources.  If you want to know what Tom Brokaw has to say about the election, look him up.  Most of your favorite news organizations, anchors, bloggers, and pundits are on twitter.  If you haven't already followed them, look them up.  You can always un-follow them tomorrow.  If your best friend has the big scoop of what's going on in Ohio, by all means put him in this column.  Think about whose tweets you don't want to miss, and put all of those people together in one place.
  3. DO NOT use #election2012 as a search column in TweetDeck.  Tweets will be scrolling faster than the eye can see.  Seriously.   Generic hashtags are not going to work tonight. 
  4. Use specific hashtags as your search columns.  If you don't know what hashtags you want to follow, look at what your politic-savvy friends are using in their tweets and start with that.  If you're interested in state specific information use the state abbreviation + either 2012 or the district.  So #tn2012 would be any election for Tennessee, and #tn03 would be the third district of Tennessee.  If you're interested in a specific issue, use a buzzword or abbreviation for that issue. Searching for #equalrights, #equalpay, #economy #DADT (don't ask, don't tell).
  5. Use filters.  If you don't want to hear about what the other side has to say, filter it out.  My version of TweetDeck Desktop has filters (include/exclude) specific to each column.  The web version I just checked out has global exclude filters that apply to all of TweetDeck, so you have to be careful since the filter will apply even to the columns you have set up for specific users.  If you're going to be on twitter tonight, but don't want to be inundated with election mess, filters will be your best friend tonight.
A trusted sources column really is going to be your best resource tonight, and here's a look at who I will be watching closely:
Please let me know who you will be following so I can add them to my tweetdeck tonight!

It's also worth mentioning that I'll also be spending a good amount of time on digg.com & tumblr tonight.  Those guys always have something interesting to say!

EDIT 11/6/12 18:23: If you're looking for a good hashtag to use and to follow try #TIMEVote!


  1. I love that you did this!! Sorry I didn't see this sooner, I liked heading to your group and checking out what everyone was saying. I watched every second of the coverage.

    1. I'm glad you liked the group! I thought it was a good mix of people. Lots of good info and commentary, and some humor too!


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