We each build our own communication channel on Twitter, choosing who to follow and list. However, based on a number of recent conversations I have had on Twitter and Google+, many Twitter users are overlooking a significant tool to customize their channel and reduce noise: filters.
If your Twitter stream clogs up every evening with color commentary on a TV show, filters can remove it, without unfollowing people you otherwise appreciate. If auto-post applications are filling your stream with drivel, filters can cut through it.
Filters change the list/follow/unfollow decision, giving you more control over the tweets you see from each person. The difference in the stream of a single person may be minor, but across even 50 people, filters can be the difference between a stream of noise and a source of content and conversation.
Note I use Tweetdeck and the information here is specific to Tweetdeck. TweetDeck filters are at Settings >> Global Filter. Other applications, such as Plume for Android, allow similar filtering.
Are there bots that retweet everything you post or individuals that spam hashtags you follow? Filtering users can remove consistent sources of clutter from mention and search streams.
String filters allow you to filter hashtags, and with a little more effort, remove a portion of the noise around specific topics. The filters I use, for example, remove some of the noise created by Klout’s +K.
My current word filters: #glee, #sytycd, #bakechat, ty 4 the follow, charlie sheen, charliesheen, +k about, +k my influence, #thevoice, received +k, klout.com
As Twitter is increasingly integrated into other applications, application filters will become more important. For example, if you are not interested in checkins or already see them directly in location apps, filter those applications. If you are tired of Triberr, you can easily remove all Triberr tweets with an application filter.
My current application filters: foursquare, gowalla, paper.li, twitterfeed, listnotify, mylinksmyads, tweet old post
While Twitter management begins with lists, don’t ignore the ability of filters to refine the tweets you see from people you have listed. By cutting down the clutter, you can more quickly find great content and conversations on Twitter.
What words and applications do you filter (or would like to)? What other ways beyond lists and filters do you use to reduce the noise and uncover content and conversation opportunities in Twitter? Share your tactics below or with me on Twitter.