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Turning Down the Noise on Twitter

By Sree Sreenivasan | September 13, 2010 3:04pm

By Sree Sreenivasan

DNAinfo Contributing Editor

After my roundup last week of Twitter news, a friend who is skeptical about the microblogging site wrote to me.

"My biggest problem with Twitter is that it's hard to separate the useful tweets from all the noise," he wrote.

True. This is a problem that a lot of people have when dealing with social media. Power tweeters use TweetDeck and HootSuite to manage their Twitter feeds and tweets, but there are other new services as well that are worth trying out.

Here are three that take your Twitter account and sort out incoming tweets in more useful ways.

TWITTERTIM.ES: This service lays out tweets into what resembles a personalized web newspaper. If a particular item is tweeted more times by people you follow, it shows up higher on the page.

As you can see from the screenshot above of my account, Twittertim.es/sreenet, the New Yorker profile of Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg by Jose Antonio Vargas was tweeted 12 times by people I follow and several more times by others. An AdAge column by Simon Dumenco about the death of the press release was tweeted by about 10 people.

Both are pieces that are worth reading and when laid out this way, they really grab your attention. Here's an example page, Twittertim.es/mathewi, which shows you a version created for technology expert Mathew Ingram.

PAPER.LI: This service also uses a newspaper format to organize links on Twitter. What makes it different is that "newspapers" can be created for any Twitter user, Twitter list or hashtag. Here, for example, is a page with tweets about Fashion Week using the #NYFW hashtag.

THECADMUS.COM: This service aims to answer the question, "What did I miss since the last time I checked in?"

Here is the official explanation: "The problem we are trying to solve here is that we don’t have all day to stay on top of these social media services. Most people check into these services ever so frequently. And every time they do, they have to scroll through pages of posts to find out what’s going on. From the statistics that we have collected so far, we have found that nearly 20% of all the posts in a user’s stream are similar."

What the site does is filter out similar posts so it's easy to keep track of items that might be of interest to you. Another interesting feature is "Personal Trending Topics" - a list of topics that are trending among people you follow (presumably, they have better taste than some of those irritating trending topics on Twitter, which tend to be about celebrities or silly "fill in the blank" games that people play). 

It's the early days still in in the Twitterverse, so new tools to improve Twitter are going to be coming out soon. In the meantime, I suggest you try these out and see if they make your Twitter life easier, and more quiet. 

What do you think? Post your comments below or on Twitter @sreenet.

Related Columns:

- Notes from the Twitterverse

Much Ado About Tweeting

Twitter Myths and Misconceptions

Every week, DNAinfo contributing editor Sree Sreenivasan shares his observations about the changing media landscape.