How to Follow A LOT of People on Twitter and Still be Engaging using TweetDeck

One of the most common questions that I’m asked by fellow Twitter users is how I manage the large number of people that I follow and am followed by on Twitter.

I always struggle to answer that question because to be quite honest there are days that I don’t think I do particularly well with the task and where it can all seem a little overwhelming.

However…. one of the tools that has helped me incredibly to manage the task is TweetDeck. TweetDeck has a lot of great tools designed to help Twitter users with a variety of tasks – some of which are simply indispensable to those trying to connect with large numbers of people.

Yesterday I stumbled upon a great video by Jesse Newhart which shows a few of the features of TweetDeck that he uses to stay engaging with over 15,000 followers. In the video Jesse talks about his API settings and how he uses Filtering to find people to engage with and interesting information.

To be honest I’ve not previously used the filtering feature very much (I do outline one way that is different to Jesse below) – however now that I see how Jesse uses it I think it could become quite useful.

Here’s the video. Below it I share 3 more techniques that I use with TweetDeck.

There are three other ways that I use features in TweetDeck that have helped me to follow thousands of people on Twitter more effectively are:


One of the challenges with following ten thousand plus people on Twitter is that it gets quite difficult to track key people specifically. Perhaps its your wife, perhaps its your boss (or a potential boss), perhaps it is that A-list blogger that you want to connect with, perhaps its someone who just keeps producing great tweets, perhaps its a good friend….. whoever it is – we all have someone that we don’t want to miss a tweet from. Here’s where ‘Groups’ on TweetDeck come into their own.

All you have to do is to set up a ‘Group’ – add those you want to follow and TweetDeck produces a pane/window which only shows the tweets of those people.


Many people using Twitter focus their tweeting on a particular niche. I personally focus upon the topics of blogging, Twitter and Social Media. As a result I have a particular interest in engaging with people talking about these issues. TweetDeck allows users to set up a ’search’ pane/window to track all tweets that use specific words. You need to be a little careful about what words you use (some are used by many thousands of people a day) but if you choose them carefully you can be presented with many people with a similar interest to you to engage with, answer questions for and be useful to.

I also set up a ’search’ pane for my own name. While this might sound a little vane I find it quite useful as every day there are people who tweet my name without using @problogger in their tweets. Sometimes they are people talking about me and hoping I won’t see, other times they are new to Twitter and don’t know they need to use an @problogger to be seen in my replies etc – whatever the reason they are opportunities to engage.

Filtering OUT words

Jesse talks in his video about using filtering to find words that others are using (in a similar way to the way I use ’search’). However I have used filtering to filter OUT words. I find that my ‘replies’ pane gets a lot of RTs. While I love being retweeted it can at times clutter your reply window as every RT contains your user name meaning you see them all. It can be useful to see them all in order to measure what connected with people – but at times RT’s can take over and mean you miss other replies.

Next to the ‘filter’ window on TweetDeck is a little “+” character. When you see this it means that when you add a word you’ll be only seeing tweets with that word in the window above. However if you click the “+” you’ll then see a “-”. When you see this if you add a word to the filter you’ll then remove whatever word you add. So if I add “RT @problogger” to that window I see a lot of the RT’s disappear – leaving mainly other replies.


  • March 13, 2009

    I especially like the filtering out option. I would like to see who is retweeting me occasionally, but normally all the retweets could just get in the way.


  • March 13, 2009

    Yes TweetDeck has a lot of such features especially the Groups which is really useful in grouping into various categories. But one of the disadvantages of TweetDeck is that it consumes a lot of memory. I am now using DestroyTwitter- pretty good interface. It has the search feature but lacks groups

  • March 13, 2009

    I couldn’t use Twitter without TweetDeck and that’s with < 1000 followers. It has made getting engaged and finding new people to follow so much easier. Groups and Search/Filters have been a life saver.

  • March 13, 2009

    The ability to create Groups has been the greatest feature for me in terms of engaging conversation, with Search coming in a strong second. Thanks for pointing me to some new Tweetdeck features to check out.

  • March 13, 2009

    Hi,I am using Tweetdeck too, and I like it a lot. Only, I don’t seem to be able to save my groups and filters. Each time I open Tweetdeck I have to reinstate them all. Any idea what I am missing?

  • March 13, 2009

    I’m newer to Twitter and I haven’t used TweetDeck yet but what I wouldn’t mind doing is filtering profanity. There are some people I wouldn’t mind following b/c some of their tweets are interesting but have fairly vulgar mouths every once in a while.

  • March 13, 2009

    Thank you so much Darren for featuring the Tweetdeck tutorial I made. As a long time reader of yours it means a lot to me.
    The reason I didn’t mention groups is because after following 6,000 or so people the groups feature can make Tweetdeck crash. At least it does for me, but it could possibly be a hardware issue on my end. I contacted Tweetdeck’s programmer Iain Dodsworth and he tells me they’re working on it.
    The search feature is great, especially for someone like you who has many blogs and use a Twitter moniker (@ProBlogger) that differs from your name. The search feature allows you to see the chatter about your personal brand.
    I disagree with Louis Gray a little in his post Twitter is for Following Topics and Listening, Not for Following People. I think it is imperative that you try your best to listen to your Twitter followers.
    Nothing fosters community like helping each other out. Making your social media efforts a two way street acts like a glue that binds your community together. It inspires loyalty and becomes a bridge to ‘real relationships’.
    My tutorial was meant to show some ways that people could use Tweetdeck to better nurture their community. The response has been great and it makes me happy to think that maybe I helped some people to better help others.

  • March 13, 2009

    Do answer comment #5, by @polskaya, I believe that you can’t save groups on Tweetdeck, so you would need to leave an instance of Tweetdeck running at all times.
    Someone please correct me if I am wrong.

  • March 13, 2009

    Tweetdeck is a great program, great find on the video Darren. Another alternative to Tweekdeck and is quite similiar in use, is DestroyTwitter.

  • March 13, 2009

    Thanks for this, it’s really useful.
    I’ve only recently been using TweetDeck, but am loving the ability to create groups – it makes following certain topics much easier. However, no @replies have ever showed up on TweetDeck, even though I have them. Any ideas why? They are there when I log onto, but never, ever come up on TweetDeck.

  • March 13, 2009

    The thing is, if you follow too many people right away they will most likely kick you off of twitter. They think you are trying to get people to go to your web site or for some other reason. And plus, most of us can only follow 2000 people and then we are stopped. People like you are just lucky enough to be able to get the ability to follow as many people as you like. Not for us little people.

  • March 13, 2009

    TweetDeck is by far my favorite Twitter tool. I’ve only been using it for a few weeks and it has already helped me a lot. Thanks for your awesome tips! I’m going to do some adjusting to match your settings and I’ll see what happens.

  • March 13, 2009

    Great tips. There is no way I could stay active without the use of tweetdeck. Setting up groups based on interests and industry sectors has worked great for me. I also use the search function to see what people are saying about specific products and businesses.

    Dave Tate

  • March 13, 2009

    Thanks for the post Darren!

    While I don’t have anywhere even close to your followers, nor follow near as many it is becoming more challenging on interaction and I want to plan ahead. I have used grouping in TweetDeck, but not filtering yet – filter the RT is a great tip!

  • March 13, 2009

    Wow, Darren. What a great video from Jesse! I’m very glad too that I read your comments that followed it. I had no idea you could even toggle back and forth within the filter option between a “+” and “-” sign. The way you use it makes a lot of sense.

    Nor did I even realize there were choices of what you could filter in addition to “tweet text.” I gotta pay more attention to the little things. Thanks for bringing some of them to my attention. I’ve added the video to my Vodpod account too so it’s instantly posted to my blog.

  • March 13, 2009

    Jesse’s video is great and it’s a nice supporting post. I’ve written about a similar way to use the minus filter myself in regard to removing tweets that contain references and things like that. It’s a negative way to look at your followers in a sense but at times (say, Friday night) blip tweets can take over the Twittersphere!

    I think we’re only beginning to scratch the service of what we can do with TweetDeck and as Twitter grows and improvements are made to external products these little tweaks and tips will become not only important, but somewhat essential to your enjoyment of the service, especially if you wish to maximise it in the way that Jesse encourages (which I fundamentally agree with).

  • March 13, 2009

    I think a lot of the stuff Tweetdeck does should just be available as standard through twitter.

  • March 13, 2009

    I dont really use it but if will be cool if i try it and i have this manual that show me how it funtion.

  • March 13, 2009

    I saw Jesse’s video yesterday …good advice. Your post adds to it. Thank you. Now to download TweetDeck!

  • March 13, 2009

    I was lucky enough to find tweetdeck immediately after beginning to use Twitter and I don’t know if I could have stuck with Twitter without it. This post and the tutorial just made it that much more useful to me, thanks :)

  • March 13, 2009

    That’s funny, because I use the filter to filter out any tweets that say “problogger”. Ha! Not really, that’s just silly

    I do thank you for this post though, and for @jessjewhart for the video. Until last week, I never even thought to use the filter functionality, until someone tweeted about was happening on the TV show Lost. I was Tivo’ing it, and didn’t want the spoilers. Turns out the answer was to filter out all “#LOST” comments.

    And how I have even more uses for the filter. Great stuff!

  • March 13, 2009

    Thanks so much Darren for sharing the video and your tips. It is most helpful.

    I have not wanted to follow too many people for fear off missing things I really wanted.

    You have now removed that excuse. Thanks.

  • March 13, 2009

    Really good information – the video is very helpful. We did not know how someone would manage so many “followers”, but this has broken it down.

    We’re off to modify our TweetDeck right now! We’re going to filter and set up some groups.

    Thank you!

  • March 13, 2009

    Good information, but your video could not be more boring. Condense all of that into just a few minutes. The monotone narration is just terrible.

  • March 13, 2009

    Great post! My brother, @bigheadasian (known to our parents as Justin), started using Tweetdeck not too long ago and has raved about it since. I’ve been avoiding it based on the thought that I’ll have one too many tools in the tool box. Thanks to this article, prodding from my brother, and Tweetdeck’s rampant popularity I’ll be downloading it this weekend.

  • March 13, 2009

    I am still at the beginning of my journey with twitter!

    This post lightened me, Thanks for sharing useful information.

  • March 13, 2009


    Great tips on filtering – especially filtering on “http”.


  • March 14, 2009

    Excellent tutorial Jesse. I’m sure lot of people use this filtering feature sparingly or never tried it. Your video has thrown light on this excellent feature of Tweetdeck.

    Darren your search pane tip is equally helpful in tracking and filtering the twitter stream. Very useful post.

  • March 14, 2009

    I just re Tweeted this. Twitter did not really become popular till Matt Cutts blogged about it. And what Matt says is basically EF Hutton. So this post was appropriate and excellent. I will also Mixx and Digg it!

  • March 14, 2009

    oh, mashable tweeted this yesterday, and i opened up my tweet deck after being overwhelmed with it the first time i downloaded it.

    it’s helpful… i was missing out on so much earlier because i was following way too many people. but tweetdeck is overwhelming still, i get lost in twitter conversations, so it still must be used sparingly.

    oh, and my favorite feature about tweetdeck is the translate. i’m american and live in germany so many of my friends tweet in german, and some in french… so it’s nice to finally be able to hear what they are saying.

  • March 16, 2009

    Also, check out — follow all the top twitter folks on various topics without actually needing to follow them :)


  • March 24, 2009

    I tweet daily, and I am a relatively new user. I use Tweet Deck mostly, but occasionally Twirhl. Re: lots of followers. What is the point of having so many followers? Is it about numbers, or connection and communication? For me, I want to get to know the people with whom I tweet, not collect them.

  • April 1, 2009

    Thanks for sharing.

    If anyone is interested in building a massive network following copy and paste to your web browser to learn how.

  • April 10, 2009
    Stu Carter

    Its an ok tool, but Tweetdeck asks for a password to another site (Twitter). They require it to function. Its an inappropriate thing to do, and users here are smart enough to know why they should not give out passwords to 3rd party web sites.

    Tweet Grid I have found functions well to scan Tweets, and does not require a Twitter password to function.

  • April 16, 2009


    Thanks for the great insight. When I first joined Twitter, I thought it was stupid and barely logged into the site. I became more curious as I kept hearing about Twitter on every news outlet almost every day. I logged back in and was shocked to find that I had several followers. To help organize my followers, I eventually downloaded Tweetdeck. I am officially addicted to Twitter and couldn’t imagine using the web version.

  • April 16, 2009

    I’m a newbie in the Twitter thingi, but I have find that its really cool tool
    if you want to promote yourself (or any other service you may like).
    Its not the most intuitive and easy to understand.

    But thanks G.d for ppl like you who helps ppl like me at their first steps into the Twitter system.

    Thank you for the post


  • April 16, 2009

    Dear Darren,

    Thanks for sharing this information with us. Great insight! I have tried a few times to download Tweetdeck, however it didn’t let me. I don’t know why. I am sure it is great ways to organise your followers when you have a large numbers of people following you.

    Thanks once again and I am looking forward to your next article.

    Best regards,


  • October 29, 2009

    I kind of went off Tweet Deck or maybe I just never really got into it. I’ve tried a few different types of software to make life easier but ended up back just using Twitter itself. The only other thing I use is Tweetie 2 for my iPod Touch. Now that is a great little application. I wrote about it here –

  • February 26, 2010

    Great post. I have been struggling with this issue for months now and stumbled upon this post by accident; today it appears luck was on my side.

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