Time and time again, the simplicity of Twitter has been undermined. And simplicity is a beautiful thing when noise in social networks is never going to go away. Even stories in the news might be considered “noise” because, while trying to be relevant, they fail to catch on with the majority. Or maybe it’s the fact that people never see it, and a story, or blog post or forum discussion for that matter, never receives its proper due.
Enter the world of favoriting tweets on Twitter, the primary agent of how I keep up on what’s relevant, timely, and too good not to miss in terms of content. Favoriting, starring, or flagging articles is obviously nothing new, but it’s a must-do if you’re trying to stay abreast on everything important in the PR industry – especially if you have little time to get that juicy nugget of detail, and you’re following 1,000 PR and social media-savvy tweeps. Use it to your advantage!
That’s why favoriting tweets is so efficient for a PR pro with time constraints. As the Copyblogger himself, Brian Clark, shared earlier this year in how to write effective Twitter headlines , the shorthand nature of writing Twitter copy provides that meat in 1-3 seconds. If it passes the meaty test, I’ll star it and it will be stored in a real-time, chronologically powerful format. Why is this format so powerful? Once I am done reading an article, I will “unfavorite” it and then it goes away for good. That means that if I have 45 favorited tweets and I read through and delete 5 of them, I suddenly have 40 unread tweets at my disposal. The flipside of this – which is quite frankly an annoyance – is still having the total of them stored in an archive or unbolded. This, in fact, has been my biggest issue with news aggregation platforms and plug-ins. I have yet to find found one that works and they’re all a huge time-suck.
What also makes favoriting tweets so powerful is the content links are coming from multiple sources. One outlet’s RSS feed isn’t flooding your third-party service provider’s inbox, slowly slipping you into madness as you’re showing 300 things unread (and that’s just from one outlet!) While there are platforms out there that suggest or display content shared by friends, I still find Twitter is the absolute best at meeting my time-sensitive needs. Another thing that makes favoriting tweets the best of the best: you’re getting content as it comes in. It’s literally real-time. If you don’t have time to get around to reading a favorited tweet, you’ll know how old it is by the “this many days, hours, or minutes old” time indicator. You’ll then know how timely and relevant it would be to the Twitter public should you decide to retweet it. And keep in mind, when sharing tweets that you’ve favorited, they’re often secondary-share, meaning you can attribute the tweet to not only the source (evident by the link to the source in the tweet) but whoever happened to be the next person in line to share that content. In turn, you’re gaining a soft connection to the source, and albeit a direct connection to the person who tweeted that content. The biggest sigh of relief is that you have one less article waiting in the wings for your eyes and attention. I find favoriting tweets to be precisely the thing I need to stay sane amidst all the content insanity.
I’m sure that once I figure out a way to make favorited tweets coincide with Twitter lists I’ll have designed my own custom-made news aggregation platform, and it won’t require sifting through the noise, the pages, and the abundance of content links that seem to compete with one another. By favoriting tweets, you’re no longer fighting with content; instead it’s being absorbed and distributed beautifully.
Afterall, simplicity – not content – is king now.
How about you? What’s your method of keeping up with everything?
Tim Otis is Supervisor of Social Media and PR for brand marketing agency Gabriel deGrood Bendt (GdB) in downtown Minneapolis. A five-year integrated and big idea marketer, Otis enjoys pitching media and teaching clients how to use social media effectively and responsibly. Apart from his work at GdB, Otis enjoys blogging, speaking, and writing songs for he and his wife to sing. You can follow him on Twitter @timotis.
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