To increase the amount of information you absorb on Twitter—and decrease the amount of time wasted—here are seven tips and tricks that will have even the most Twitter-averse users addicted to the site's convenience.
Make Follow Lists
Divvying up the accounts you follow by topic is a great way to make sure you don't miss the users and issues you care about most. Build lists under the "Me" page and within apps like TweetDeck so you can organize your feeds and watch several lists at once. You can also follow lists other users make, which can be especially helpful to monitor during breaking news events.
Optimize Your Search
With the thousands of tweets going out each minute, searching for something specific can be painstaking. Twitter has all kinds of interesting tricks to narrow down your search. Looking for a positive-sounding tweet about the government shutdown? Type in your search terms and add a ":)" or a ":(" for negative tweets. Want to find a good happy hour in Dallas? Type "happy hour:"Dallas"" to hear what people are saying about happy hours with that location tag.
Take a Keyboard Shortcut
You can navigate Twitter without ever clicking the mouse thanks to a handful of shortcuts. Simply typing in "GH" will bring you back to your main feed, or hitting "GR" will show mentions, "N" allows you to compose a new tweet. On a users page, "M" while pull up a direct message and the space bar lets you flip through pages without endlessly scrolling.
#Discover on your top navigation panel is handy for seeing the most popular and interesting tweets, and the "Activity" bar on the left filters the activity of users you follow so you can see interesting tweets and accounts that don't otherwise show up on your feed.
Schedule Your Tweets
With various free websites or apps like TweetDeck, you can schedule times for your tweets to go out so you don't inundate your followers with your notes and links all at once. On TweetDeck, a little clock icon in the draft form lets you pick a time and date for the tweet to be released. But keep in mind—a study released last year revealed that tweets with the highest click-through rates were posted Monday through Thursday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Download All Your Tweets
If you're into archiving all your daily links and musings, last year Twitter provided the option to download your entire tweeting history. Click on your settings under the gear icon and find "Your Twitter Archive" in the account panel. Hit request and you'll be alerted when the download is ready.
Time Your Mobile Alerts
You shouldn't lose sleep over Twitter notifications. Turn off alerts at certain times under the website's settings section under the "Mobile" tab. After adding your phone, select your desired sleep settings for when to stop that buzzing. On the other hand, if you want to be notified every time a particular account tweets, which can be strategic for promotional blasts, just go to the account on your device, hit the options icon and choose "Turn on notifications."