Keep Track Of Your Twitter Followers And Have A Clean Inbox In Gmail

by FFB (follow them at @freefrombroke).

If you’re like me then you love to see who’s following you in Twitter. One – to see who is interested in following you; Two – to see your follower numbers go up (I admit a bit of ego here); and Three – to follow them back. And if you’re also like me then you can’t stand to see your inbox full without feeling compelled to check each email. Every time I’d look at my inbox I’d have a new follower and I’d feel like I had to click to check out. Unfortunately that’s not a very good way to stay productive.

Then I remembered a neat little trick in Gmail!

See, you can set up Gmail to send all of your Twitter follower emails (or any email really) to go directly to a specified folder and skip your Inbox.

Here’s how you do it:

Go into your settings in Gmail. Click on Filters. You want to now Create a New Filter.

gmail-create-filter

In the From section enter in the email address your Twitter followers come from. You can find the address from an email sent. It will be in the form of:

twitter-follow-username=gmail.com@postmaster.twitter.com

The username part will be your user name on Twitter.

Click on Next Step. You’ll see the following:

gmail-create-filter-skip-inbox

Check off Skip the Inbox (remember the idea here is to keep your Inbox clean). You also want to click Apply the label (this sets up the new folder the emails will go to). Scroll the dropbox to New Label. Call the new label Twitter Followers (or whatever you like).

Click Create Filter and you’re done! Your Twitter followers emails will all go directly to the new folder you set up and skip your Inbox. When you have free time you can batch all of your followers in one sitting.

Follow FFB on Twitter @freefrombroke

FFB writes for the personal finance site Free From Broke. At first he didn’t know what to do with Twitter (“it felt a little like talking to myself”) but now is completely addicted to it (check out his guide to Twitter).

Comments

  • January 12, 2009

    Great tip! Gmail filters can come in real handy when trying to keep a clean inbox.

    I use a filter for every social web site I’m a member of, categorizing my Twitter, Digg, SU, and other emails into separate folders :]

  • January 12, 2009

    I just set up my twitter to go to an e-mail account I rarely check. I go on twitter several times a day anyway, and follow anyone that follows me (unless they spam me), I go into my gmail account once a month and delete all Twitter related e-mails.

    …I wonder if there is anything important in the e-mails that twitter send me…?

  • January 12, 2009

    Great advise and productive tip! I do this with outlook and have many different folders set up so that I can simply click on the folder that is aligned to the work that I am doing that day, hour, moment. For sure creating folders is a great way to stay on task, that is if you can discipline yourself not to click on the other folders :-)

  • January 12, 2009

    Very nice tips! I use outlook instead of Gmail and have done the same with rules and setting up a specific folder for twitter. It’s really helped me cut down on inbox clutter and help me stay more productive by blocking my time when I follow new followers.

    But for some reason for the past week even though I have been getting new followers I have not been receiving any emails from Twitter. Not sure what is going on other than maybe they’re going to junk mail on my server. Has anyone else been having this problem recently?

  • January 12, 2009

    Interesting tip. You can also do something similar with Thunderbird (and Outlook, and other email apps I dare say) by creating a new mail folder and mail filter/rule. You’d probably need to be collecting a lot of new Twitter followers to want to do something like this though. :)

  • January 12, 2009

    It’s worth noting that in the example email address above the “=gmail.com” is specific to your email address domain. Since my email is a dotMac mine is from “=mac..com” instead.

    Thanks for the tip!

  • January 12, 2009

    excellent tip, thanks

  • January 12, 2009

    …OR… turn off twitter notification, use socialtoo ( http://www.socialtoo.com ) and get a daily summary of who added and removed you. I find it rather handy.

  • January 12, 2009

    Purely Productive Post. Thanks!

    http://Twitter.com/WebMedia

  • January 12, 2009
    Brian Ashenfelter
    @bashen

    Thanks for the great tip. Previously I was just applying labels but not going the extra step of automatically archiving the message so it didn’t appear in my inbox.

    Also if you are getting direct messages (DMs) e-mailed to you, you can do the same approach. Just follow the same steps as above but use “twitter-dm-username=gmail.com@postmaster.twitter.com” in the From field and create a different label for it (like “twitter DMs”).

  • January 12, 2009

    Thanks! Great idea.
    I am filtering/labeling lots of services and my label list is quite long. However, if you are a Firefox user the “Better Gmail 2″ add-on can help you with folders for grouping the labels.

  • January 12, 2009

    This is one of those, “why didn’t I think of that? duh” posts. Handy tip! And I like the idea of doing the same with DM emails. Maybe I’ll set up a filter for everything Twitter.

  • January 12, 2009

    awesome tip Darren!

    I LOOOVE your blog so much. Gotten so much good tips from it. Improved my twitter experience heaps.

  • January 12, 2009

    Great tip!

    Cheers!

  • January 12, 2009

    Great tip! Though I am a big fan of the “+topic” hack found in GMail. For example, for @joshfinnie, my email that I gave to Twitter was joshfinnie+joshfinnie@gmail.com. Then you can set up a filter for TO: joshua.finnie+joshfinnie@gmail.com. Then this allows you to have multiple Twitter accounts going to your gmail accoun (for example @140plus goes to joshfinnie+140plus@gmail.com).

    This is nice because you can really set it up for all websites that allow the ‘”+” character (unfortunately not all websites allow this).

  • January 12, 2009

    nice tip Darren, I am trying to do what u were write here. Thanxx

  • January 12, 2009

    Another way to go about that is to use services like SocialTool. With it, you can receive only one email a day telling you who have followed and unfollowed you on Twitter. Of course, you can filter the email notifications the same way the post explains.

    If you use SocialTool, it may be a good idea to turn off the notifications from Twitter itself. Go go Settings > Notices > uncheck the box next to the New Follower Emails.

  • January 12, 2009

    Thanks for this useful advice !
    I am a brand new guy with less ego and more productive …
    Wait, I’m French ! … Mmmm :D

  • January 12, 2009

    Otherinbox.com is a great way to manage these as well. I created a twitter email address (twitter@[username].otherinbox.com and all of my twitter mail goes right into it’s own special inbox.

    dave

  • January 12, 2009

    Yeah I had to do this a while ago actually… was definitely needed

  • January 12, 2009

    Great idea. Need to make better use of gmail’s ability to filter. Great tips, FFB.

  • January 12, 2009

    Very useful tip here. I’ve been practicing this technique for a few years now – and really enjoy the extra time it saves. I have Thunderbird setup to forward all mail from social media sites to its own big folder. Then, when I’m ready, I visit the folder, categorize by sender, and go through the emails. Thank new friends, visiting profiles, etc…all at one time.

  • January 12, 2009

    Sorry to be so shamelessly promoting my app, but Twitulater is going to notify you of all new followers and all nasty qwitters come next version in a week or so.

    Then you can turn off email notifications completely :D

  • January 12, 2009

    Forgot all about gmail filters, how handy! my gmail has become over run been hard to sort out between real emails and these notification.

    Thanks again for the tip

  • January 12, 2009

    Thanks for all of the great comments so far. After writing this I realize I should be applying this technique to so many other sites as well. I would literally have to check each Twitter email when I saw it sitting there in my inbox. Now I batch my followers and take care of them all in one shot each day. Thanks for all of the follows too!

  • January 12, 2009

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Having a full inbox stresses me out more than anything–this really helps clean it up AND it still allows me to see all my new Twitter follows so I can learn more about them and follow them on Twitter.

    Thanks so much for the GREAT tip!
    Heather
    The Mogul Mom

  • January 12, 2009

    Thanks so much – you just saved my inbox!

  • January 12, 2009

    Thank you – GREAT Tip. With this i may even refollow some of those compulsive tweeters.

  • January 12, 2009

    Although this is a great tip, I feel I should take this one step further. If you didn’t know, Gmail allows you to add a “+” filter ability on your email account to allow deeper filtration of incoming emails.

    As an example, lets say your gmail email address is “example@gmail.com”. Add a “+” to that, and then you can add anything you want to it. Great for any new account for a social network, or online retailer. For this example, lets say I signed up for Twitter. I would make my email address “example+twitter@gmail.com”

    You will still get those incoming emails at your original address, but now you can setup a filter for ANY email that comes TO “example+twitter@gmail.com” and it will be placed into the appropriate folder. Although I already do the filter method you mention above, I feel the method I mention is a little more stable. Other websites tend to occasionally change their outgoing email address/protocol. It would then make your filter useless. With the method I mention, the filter will always work because they see “example+twitter@gmail.com” as the address! The’ll NEVER change that as long as they want to get in touch with you!

    Mike J
    “TheBusyBrain”
    http://twitter.com/TheBusyBrain
    http://TheBusyBrain.com

  • January 12, 2009

    This was a great blog because I totally forgot about the filter feature from Google. THANKS!
    -KASH

  • January 12, 2009

    Great tip FFB! I’ll need to make better use of the gmail filtering features. The one caveat i’ll add is that some websites when you add the + to the email address will have a hard time recognizing it – and will choke on it. So be careful!

  • January 12, 2009

    I second Mike Troiano’s comment about socialtoo.com. I used to filter my Twitter emails, but then my Twitter folder was simply out of control – and I still wanted to click on each new follower. Socialtoo sends you (if you want) one daily email with a list (linked) of those who followed you AND those who unfollowed you that day, plus the most recent tweet to when they followed. Which, you know, might come in handy should you lose a bunch of people after saying something really stupid. : )

  • January 12, 2009

    This is exactly what I do with my GMail. I have a separate filter for Twitter, Facebook, Digg etc. It was a great decision for me!

  • January 12, 2009

    I had totally forgotten about the filter on gmail. Thank you for the easy to follow instructions. I will miss seeing a message in my inbox every few minutes but maybe I will get some of my life back! Thanks again.

  • January 13, 2009

    One reason i switched from Outlook to Gmail was the ease of creating filters and handling rules. I have a filter for just about everything.

    Right now all my new follower notifications are labels and filterer so I only have to check it a few times a week. DMs go in the main inbox but that might change soon.

    Speaking of filters, you know those annoying chain messages that go around from friends? I kept getting them and I didn’t want to block the email address since it would block my friend.
    So I just created a filter than looks for a phrase in the email and then it automatically deletes the message. Problem solved. =)

  • January 13, 2009

    Excellent post, thanks for taking the time and effort to create it, I’m one of those who is such a big twitter fan that I catch myself wanting to check those emails from twitter as the arrive and that really does kill my productivity so thanks for the reminder.

    I’ve been using gmail for about 4 years and love it, it’s one of the most powerful online email providers I’ve ever seen. Keep up the great work and let me know if I can help you with anything.

    Have a blessed day,
    Kevin

    Kevin Griffith
    http://www.kevingonline.com

  • January 14, 2009

    Good post. and bether for all doze that have gmail account.

  • January 14, 2009

    This is a great little tip. I always forget about the Gmail filters! Going to set one up for twitter follows right now…

  • January 16, 2009

    I get to much email everyday that I’m swamped and I feel I spend more time in my gmail inbox than anything else.

    I though gmail was capable of doing this but didn’t know how. This post has saved me some time in searching around for how to filter my email.

  • January 16, 2009

    Hi, I just read about http://www.tweetlater.com, which provides a automation for automatically follow new followers, as well as send automated thank you notes to new followers, set up alerts and track keywords, can schedule your tweets. The follower automation also forwards all the ‘follow’ emails to tweetlater, so you wouldn’t get them in your personal inbox anymore. I was just in the middle of setting it up… is anyone else using this, I don’t see anyone mentioning it here.

  • January 16, 2009

    @Lucia – You may want to try out SocialTool too. I moved from TweetLater a while ago.

    TweetLater and SocialTool are competitors. Correct me if I’m wrong. The latter gives more features.

  • January 17, 2009

    @Phy – Thanks, I’ll check it out. I also finished installed Tweetlater and now I see… it requires use of Gmail for the mail forwarding process into Tweetlater. Now I wish Gmail could set up multiple mail forward accounts.

  • January 17, 2009
    Phy

    @Lucia – Now I wish Gmail could set up multiple mail forward accounts.

    What you can do is to use the Get Mails from Other Accounts feature in Setting > Accounts. If I’m not wrong, you can download mails from up to five other accounts of yours as long as they support POP. Hope that helps.

  • January 17, 2009

    I think I’m more amazed to see the gmail ad at the end of the post! Is that a widget that was put there or an actual google ad for gmail? wow, if Google has to start advertising it’s free email service we’re really in tough times…

  • March 26, 2009
    Adrian
    @twitya

    Check out http://RSSfriends.com and have followers and unfollowers come through the rss reader. It is very useful at keeping the signal to noise ratio high in one’s life.

  • April 7, 2009

    nice trick. Actually I was getting bugged by tons of email every day of twitter followers. this is gonna help me a lot. thanks

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