Twitter for Professional Use – Part 3: Curating the Chaos

By Melissa A. Venable

[Note: ETCJ’s Twitter editor, Jessica Knott, has been working with Melissa to develop this series. See Part 1: Getting Started, Part 2: Channeling the Streams, and Part 4: Participating in a Live Event. -Editor]

In part one of this series we covered many of the fundamental tasks of Twitter, and in part two we addresed basic techniques and workflow management. As you gain more experience with Twitter and grow more confortable using it as a platform for sharing and conversation, you may find you need better organization techniques and more advanced tools. Dashboard applications present linear, chronological streams. If you prefer a more reader-friendly format in terms of information browsing, you should consider other options.

Reader-Friendly Formats, Zite, Twylah, Summify, and The Tweeted Times are all applications with easy to read interfaces featuring the most popular items of the day, as shared by members of your social network. These tools aggregate links in one place, display images, and categorize the information for easy scanning.

Establishing an account includes opening a link to your Twitter feed (or other social media account, as applicable) and configuring the customization options in terms of categories, keywords, screen layout, color, etc. The result is a custom user interface crafted to your specifications. You’ll find headlines, article snippets or previews, links, and navigation menus that cycle through periodic updates (e.g., every 24 hours).

Figure 1 – Screenshot

You can harness these applications for your own use as well as share the resulting pages with your network. Here are a few examples of accounts that are openly shared by their owners:

  • The Instructional-Design Daily via Greg Williams, an instructional designer and eLearning developer, regularly posts a link to his news collection via Twitter.
  • Clay Shirky via Tweeted Times: A collection of links and stories presented by author and professor Clay Shirky.
  • Daily Career Guide via This career-related collection is published by Stevie Puckett, a career counselor and web developer.
  • ASTM Student Fans via Twylah: This collection of resources from a professional association focuses on “advocating safety standards, highered, and careers in STEM.”
  • Paulo Simões via Summify: This elearning professional shares the top ten stories from his Twitter stream.


Figure 2 – Summify Screenshot


 Content Curation

 Technology and media journalist Tom Foremski defines curation as “… a person, or group of people, engaged in choosing and presenting a collection of things related to a specific topic and context” [1]. Each of the management applications listed above offers a convenient way to curate resources. and Storify are just two examples of curation applications that pull resources not only from Twitter but from other networks as well, such as Facebook, YouTube, and Google+. Additional URLs can also be contributed to these collections.

Figure 3 – Screenshot – Technology for Teaching and Learning curated by Jan Schwartz

Managers of these accounts make decisions about what will be included and the order in which the information appears on screen. So, in addition to the aggregation of related items, you also benefit from the curator’s expertise. Take a look at a few managed accounts that focus on topics in education:

  • Mobile Learning via This collection is managed by Judy Brown, a mobile learning strategic analyst currently working with the ADL Immersive Learning Technologies Team.
  • Babson College Orientation via Storify: Information about undergraduate orientation events for the Class of 2015.
  • Social Media Content Curation via Managed by Giuseppe Mauriello, a freelance social media consultant, this collection presents content that addresses the curation of online resources.

You can choose to follow or subscribe to these curated collections, suggest new items to the curators, add your own comments to the posted items, and share the items you find to be most helpful via your Twitter account. You may even want to start your own collection.

And don’t forget …

The considerations for selecting a dashboard tool also apply to reading and curation applications. Make sure the system you choose will work well with your social media accounts and devices, and offers the features and functions that make accessing the information easier for you.

Please consider contributing your tips for reading and curating in the comments area!

Next up: Part 4 – Participating in a Live Event.

6 Responses

  1. Thanks for the mention of Summify ;)
    I prefer . Feel free to check my e-Learning Page:

    Paulo Simões

  2. Reblogged this on Sara Geneva Noreau Kerr and commented:
    Wonderful summation of how to read Twitterfeeds in a meaningful way: taming the chaos.

  3. […] By Melissa A. Venable [Note: ETCJ's Twitter editor, Jessica Knott, has been working with Melissa to develop this series. See Part 1: Getting Started, Part 2: Channeling the Streams, and Part 4: Par…  […]

  4. […] By Melissa A. Venable [Note: ETCJ's Twitter editor, Jessica Knott, has been working with Melissa to develop this series. See Part 1: Getting Started, Part 2: Channeling the Streams, and Part 4: Par…  […]

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