I am still trying to figure out how to best tweet. I currently tweet any interesting articles I find. I also retweet any tweets and quotes that I find interesting. I use twitter as a memory bank to store interesting links and quotes that I like. Often times I will comeback to my twitter feed to search for that link, basically acting like a crude del.iciou.us. I don’t tweet out my own thoughts or content that often because I have this fear that I will aggravate some of my followers. So when I do tweet I try to only tweet content that is general for as wide an audience as possible. I think my approach is flawed and it limits me from tweeting more often. If there was a better way for people to filter out certain kinds of tweets I would be more inclined to tweet out content. I know hashtags are often used to categorize tweets, but I don’t think there is enough support in the client to deal with hashtags. Most clients just have a simple search interface to find tweets from a certain hashtag. Twitter
talked about allowing annotations and metadata to appear in tweets, but has not released this yet. I would prefer to have the hashtags appear in the metadata so that we had more space for our tweets. This would also allow us to add more hashtags to our tweet.
If most tweets had hashtags and people were following a common naming convention for hashtags, then we could filter out on the client side tweets that matched certain hashtags. I would actually go through each of my twitter friends and figure out what hashtags I am interested in on a per user basis! For example I just browsed @scobleizer’s feed and I see that he mentions his schedule quite often. I would like to filter out his #schedule tweets and read his #startup tweets. The types of content/hashtags I am interested in is typically about #startups, #entrepreneurship, #social media, and #software development. This hashtag system is not currently in place nor do I know if it will ever be there. I think we can get fairly close though using some other methods.
I read tweets to find interesting content and learn from people who I respect. I don’t need any foursquare, other check-ins, or pictures appearing in my feed, so we can filter all of those out. Most of the time the interesting content is usually a link to longer article so I could potentially filter out most tweets without a link. I also like seeing questions that people ask. It helps me understand how the people I follow think and it also allows me to find opportunities to engage and talk with them, so we can keep all questions. Another measure of tweet relevance is how many retweets it got. I think its fine to filter out the tweets that did not get any retweets, but I would want to see tweets that have a high retweet count. For certain users I would always want to see their tweets. For other users I would want to be able to completely mute them for periods of time, maybe they are at sxsw for the week and I can’t make it out so I don’t want to see all the tweets about how awesome all the parties are. I would also want to be able to see certain tweets from users based off of how often they tweet. So if someone who hasn’t tweeted in months hasn’t posted and all of a sudden they tweet something, I would still see it even though it was filtered out from the previous filters from above. For people who are constantly tweeting, the filters would apply more heavily to them so as to know overload you with tweets.
When sending a tweet, the client could have a list of your common hashtags and allow you to click on them to apply those hashtags to your tweets. This would save you time from typing out the hashtags and would make you more inclined to add the proper hashtags to your tweets. Followers reading your tweets could filter out your tweets based on their hashtag filters.
When viewing the filtered stream I mentioned above, the default view would have strict filters applied. The interface could have some controls at the bottom of the screen to allow you to change the filter modes to see more tweets. This would allow the user to quickly understand what is happening in their “twittersphere”, but also be able to see all the tweets if needed.
With twitter’s new policies, they have made it clear that they don’t want new clients to be made for twitter, so its hard to see a filter system like this being built. I currently read most of my tweets on my iphone and so I would prefer a native and fast iphone client, but I could use a web based mobile client if it was fast enough.