Transform your Twitter timeline with these 11 features and add-ons

This story has been updated. It was originally published on July 29, 2017.

© Claudio Schwarz / Unsplash These features can make Twitter a less horrible place.

Since 2006, Twitter has been breaking major news, connecting celebrities directly to their fans, and creating all kinds of memes from the hilarious to the downright bizarre. Whether you use the service or not, Twitter has played a huge role in internet culture for the past 15 years.

Despite its surface simplicity—a non-stop flow of updates, 280 characters long or less—this social network hides powerful tools and customizations under its unassuming exterior. Here’s how you can start getting more out of Twitter, both on your phone and your web browser.

One of Twitter’s best features—its endless scroll of updates—is also its worst. If you follow friends, celebrities, news organizations, humor accounts, and others, all the disparate content will get jumbled together in a muddle. That’s where lists come in. This frequently overlooked feature lets you put together collections of themed accounts (sci-fi authors, your coworkers, National Parks, etcetera), and then view tweets from those accounts in a single stream. Throw together your favorite comedians for a list you can read through when you want to laugh, and trusted science news outlets for a timeline that will stimulate your sense of wonder.

[Related: How to create and curate your watchlists on any streaming platform]

To make a Twitter list, simply open up the profile page of someone you want to add to a list, click on the three dots (third to the right of the Follow button), and then choose Add/remove from Lists. The pop-up window will let you add the account to an existing list or make it the first account in a brand-new list. On your phone, you can find the lists option by opening up a profile and tapping the three dots.

Once you’ve created a list, you can find a link to it on your profile page. If you’ve set your list to be private, then only you will be able to see and access it. If you’ve made it public, then anyone can view it. Other people can subscribe to your public lists, so you can also use them to curate Twitter accounts for your friends to follow.

You’ve got an amazing hot take that you know will set Twitter on fire. But how can you be sure it’s performing to its full potential? For that, you need to see what kind of updates your followers are interested in, and what will make a big impression on your audience. Which is why Twitter created its own free analytics dashboard, available for all users to take advantage of.

Navigate to the analytics page, and you can see how much you’re tweeting, how much traction those tweets are earning over time, how many new followers and profile visits you’re getting, and more. If you want to start paying to promote posts on the network, you can do this from Twitter Analytics too.

When you’re curled up in bed at night, naturally you’ll want to grab your phone and scroll through the feed of your Twitter app (available on Android and iOS). But the blue light emanating from the screen can strain your eyes and disrupt your ability to fall asleep. So turn on night mode, which gives the entire interface a darker look that’s easier on the eyes after the sun’s gone down.

To access the night mode setting on Android, go to the app menu by tapping your avatar, open Settings and privacy, and then hit Display and sound, and then Dark mode. On iOS, go to  Settings and privacy, Accessibility, display, and languages, and Display and sound—then choose Dark mode There, you can turn this feature on and off, and also choose what kind of dark mode you want—you may choose from Dim (applies a dark blue background) and Lights out (applies a black background).

If you’re using an Android phone, then Twitter gives you an extra bonus option to set the dark version of your feed to automatically kick in based on your region’s sunset and sunrise times. To turn it on, just choose Automatic at sunset under Dark mode. 

On desktop, things are even easier. On the sidebar menu, click on More and then on Display. On the pop-up window, choose between Default (light mode), Dim, and Lights out.

Like Google, Twitter has advanced search options for looking up your favorite vaguely-remembered tweets. You can access them on the advanced search page, which gives you plenty of options for tracking down your query.

In addition to searching for certain keywords while excluding others, you can look for tweets based on the account that wrote them, as well as the post’s geographical location, date, language, and more. These advanced search abilities instantly turn you into a superpowered tweet hunter.

Tired of hearing about a news story that has set Twitter abuzz? Trying to avoid spoilers for your favorite TV show? Now’s the time to mute certain words. This prevents tweets that contain the forbidden phrases from appearing in your timeline or in your notifications. However, they will still show up in searches.

To adjust your mute options, open the Twitter settings page, then Privacy and safety, and click on Mute and block. On the menu, go to Muted words and click on the plus sign button in the top right to add to the list. You can get specific about individual words, as well as phrases, emojis, and hashtags. You can also give your filter a limited lifespan, with options ranging from one to 30 days, or you can leave it on and deactivate it whenever you want.Be careful when entering the things you want to avoid: The system ignores capitalization, so typing “CATS,” for example, will also mute “cATs.”

If you get tired of Twitter and decide to delete your account, you don’t have to consign your old posts to obscurity: Twitter lets you download your past activity as an archive. Even if you aren’t abandoning Twitter, this archive can come in handy, providing backed-up proof of what you’ve said and when. And it’s much easier to search through this local archive by year or by month than it is to sift through your previous posts on the actual Twitter website.

To archive your account, go to the Twitter settings page online, and under Your account click on Download an archive of your data. When Twitter has prepared your past activity for download, you’ll receive an emailed link. Click it to download a compressed HTML file containing all of your tweets, from the very first to the latest one.

Want to share with your friends every time you hit a target with your Fitbit, go on a bike ride with Strava, or turn the temperature down on your Nest thermostat? Thanks to the wonders of IFTTT (If This Then That), a free web service that connects all kinds of apps together, you can give smart devices the power to brag about your progress on Twitter.

The first step is to sign up for a free account at iffttt.com and connect the specific apps you want to use. Once you’ve done that, you can start building little programs called applets. Even beginners can put applets together, and IFTTT guides you through the whole process. In this situation, you’ll need an applet that responds to a trigger—say a ping from your fitness tracker that says you’ve hit your target—with a corresponding action—in this case, a tweet.

Just because you plan to go on vacation doesn’t mean you want to neglect your Twitter account. So schedule your tweets in advance. Plenty of add-ons offer this service, but none match the polish and ease of use of Buffer. It can also pre-plan your Facebook and Instagram posts.

Access Buffer as a web app or via its various browser extensions and phone apps. Once you link it to your Twitter account, you can queue up your tweets in a long list to go out on a schedule, or set certain tweets to go live at certain times. Buffer handles all the extras, such as embedded images, for you.

On the free plan, you get up to three social media accounts and a queue of 10 scheduled posts. To plan further in advance, you’ll have to pony up $5 a month per channel, which lets you schedule unlimited posts.

If you’ve tried out one or more of these tips, you’re probably ready to take your tweeting to the next level—so it’s time to fire up TweetDeck. Originally a third-party client, the free service is now owned and run by Twitter itself. In TweetDeck’s interface, you can see real-time updates for multiple accounts at once, schedule tweets, perform advanced searches, and more.

All you need to do is sign in to the service—use the website, or download one of the computer or phone apps—with your existing Twitter credentials. TweetDeck provides a set of columns, which can all be customized to show exactly the tweets you want, whether they’re from a particular account or matching a certain hashtag or search term. You can also see your own timeline, tweets, notifications, and lists—or the tweets or mentions of any particular user. Each column has filters to let you avoid or focus on certain words, and to customize the way it displays embedded media.

If you’ve ever looked at a list of trending topics and wonder what some of them mean, or see a people in your timeline tweeting the same hashtag and not understanding what’s going on, then Moments are for you. This features encapsulates all the buzz surrounding a particular event or piece of news, so you can understand what’s happening, what people are saying about it and stay up to date with every new development. If you’re using Twitter to follow elections, a launch, a sports event, or an unfolding natural disaster, just follow the corresponding Moment to become an expert on the subject. 

Twitter automatically generates Moments curated just for you based on your interests, and you can find them under What’s Happening in the Explore tab on the sidebar menu. You can also curate tweets and hashtags to create your own Moment. To do so, go to More and click on Moments. There, click on Create new and the platform divide into two halves—on the right, you’ll be able to give your Moment a title, a main photo, a description, and even attach the URL of a tweet. On the left, you’ll be able to look for tweets to add to your Moment and use filters to refine your search. To add tweets, click on the green circle in the top right corner of it to select them, and then click on Add. When you’re done, click on Publish and select whether you want your moment to be public or private, if you want it to be unlisted (meaning, only people with the URL can access it), and whether it has sensible content. 

Under the Moments tab you’ll be able to see, edit and delete the ones you’ve created, and even tweet about them again if you want to. To see other people’s public Moments, go into their profile, click on the three dots button and choose View Moments. 

If you like to touch your mouse only when strictly necessary, then Twitter shortcuts are for you. There are a bunch of them, and you can find a comprehensive list by clicking on More and then Keyboard shortcuts. But using your mouse to click on something so you can cease to use your mouse is slightly counterintuitive. This is why there’s a shortcut to display the keyboard shortcut cheat sheet—just press the ? key and you’re set. 

[Related: 20 essential Windows keyboard shortcuts that will make you forget your mouse]

Once you do that, you’ll find out helpful key combos, like hitting J to create a new tweet or the period to reload your timeline, pressing G + N to go directly to the Notifications tabs. With time you’ll need the cheat sheet less and less, but if you ever forget something, know that it’s there to help you out and make your tweeting more productive. 

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Final hours: Shop holiday gift baskets for a huge discount at Harry & David

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. With the holidays just around the corner, there’s no better time ... Read more »

Climate change: Is digital technology a boon or bane?

The world’s Internet addiction comes with costs to the climate. PARIS (AFP) – From the energy that goes into making smartphones to the fact that even e-mails create carbon emissions, ... Read more »

Houses destroyed in huge explosion in Ayrshire

A huge explosion at a house in Ayr that could be heard for miles has sparked a major incident and fears of casualties.  © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo ... Read more »

An asteroid zipped past Earth closer than the moon's orbit yesterday

© Provided by Space An artist’s depiction of a near-Earth asteroid. A bus-sized asteroid made a harmless close pass by our planet on Sunday (Oct. 17). Asteroid 2021 TG14 passed ... Read more »

Astronauts capture stunning aurora from International Space Station

© Provided by Space aurora Astronauts got to see an amazing display of southern lights over New Zealand and Antarctica earlier this month. Spectacular images and footage of the green-hued ... Read more »

Treasury says it needs to modernize its economic sanctions

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department says that the economic and financial sanctions the United States has employed over the past two decades to battle global terrorism, nuclear proliferation, drug ... Read more »

Covid live: Latvia closes schools and venus as curfew introduced; UK situation ‘concerning', says expert

LIVE – Updated at 21:47 © Photograph: Maureen McLean/REX/Shutterstock The UK reported close to 50,000 new Covid cases on 18 OCtober. Latvia has closed schools, restaurants and entertainment venues for ... Read more »

Emma Watkins has left The Wiggles

© Provided by Are Media Pty Ltd It’s a sad day for children everywhere because Emma Watkins has decided to hang up her yellow skivvy and leave The Wiggles for ... Read more »

Greg Wise admits he 'messed up' as he reflects on Strictly elimination

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Greg Wise appeared on Monday’s It Takes Two alongside his professional dance partner Karen Hauer and admitted he ‘got the fear’ ahead of ... Read more »

Unvaccinated are 11x more likely to die of Covid, 6x risk of infection

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Unvaccinated Americans are significantly more likely to be infected by COVID-19 and die from it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and ... Read more »

Biden will force manufacturers to record toxic 'forever chemicals'

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo On Monday the Biden administration announced a new plan to regulate ‘forever chemicals’ known as PFAS, which are found in a litany of ... Read more »

New FCC rules could force wireless carriers to block spam texts

Under Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, the Federal Communications Commission is seeking to create new rules targeting spam text messages. Like another recent proposed rulemaking from the agency, the policy would ... Read more »

Here's how to pre-order the new Apple AirPods (3rd gen) and MacBook Pro

On Monday, October 18, Apple unveiled its newest products during the “Apple Unleashed” event. While the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros were the stars of the show, we also ... Read more »

How to expand Xbox Series X & Series S storage with an external drive

© Windows Central Xbox Series X|S Seagate Storage Expansion Card The Xbox Series X and Series S introduce significant storage gains, adopting custom solid-state drives (SSDs), poised to cut back ... Read more »

"I am eternally grateful." After 9 years in the yellow skivvy, Emma Watkins is leaving The Wiggles.

Emma Watkins is hanging up her yellow bow. © Getty Images “I am eternally grateful.” After 9 years in the yellow skivvy, Emma Watkins is leaving The Wiggles. The Yellow ... Read more »

Netflix is BACK for thousands hit by an outage

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Netflix is back online after experiencing an outage Monday that impacted thousands of users across the globe. More than half of the issue reports ... Read more »

Queensland's health system 'will manage' a surge of COVID-19 patients, government says

© Provided by ABC News Regional hospitals are expected to face high rates of COVID-19 cases once borders reopen. (ABC News: Chris Gillette) Queensland’s already busy hospitals and intensive care units ... Read more »

Beijing's entry into hypersonic missile race shocks US and Russia

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo The global hypersonic arms race is hotting up worldwide after China tested a top secret weapon that can circle the globe at 21,000mph ... Read more »

Boat with three passengers missing off Tasmania's north-west coast

© Provided by ABC NEWS Tasmania Police and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority are searching the bass strait for the missing boat. (ABC News: Jessica Moran) A marine and air ... Read more »

‘Climategate' professor who inspired BBC's The Trick: I still get hate mail

The Trick, broadcast on BBC One, features the row involving Professor Phil Jones, who was accused of falsifying climate change data – Rory Taylor Abuse shows scientists how important their ... Read more »

What will life be like when Queensland reopens? How many COVID-19 cases will it see? What restrictions will be eased?

© Provided by ABC News What will life in Queensland look like by mid-December when the state reopens? (ABC News: Alice Pavlovic) Queensland is set to enjoy a lot more ... Read more »

CLYPSO's gigs dried up overnight during lockdown. Now she wants a fair go for music industry

After more than 100 days, live music is back on in Sydney. At Butcher’s Brew Bar, it’s a sold-out show for Bek Jensen and the Gold Rockets. “It’s unreal. I ... Read more »

Everything Apple announced at its 2021 MacBook Pro event

The moment many a Mac power user has been waiting for has finally arrived: Apple today announced its new ARM-powered 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pros, including an all-new design and superpowered ... Read more »

Everything You Need To Know About Apple's 2021 MacBook Pro

Nothing seems to stop the Apple train and, pandemic or not, we’re seeing a big new line of products from the tech giant this year. Following the announcement of new ... Read more »

How to speed up Windows 10 before Windows 11 arrives

Anyone using Microsoft’s operating system should know how to speed up Windows 10. This version of Windows is as efficient an OS as the company has released, but it still ... Read more »

Netflix down: latest updates as service appears to work intermittently

Is Netflix down? That’s the question that the internet is suddenly asking, as reports flood in of the service being down. © Provided by TechRadar Netflix app on mobile It ... Read more »

How did Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin fail to dominate the billionaire space race?

The billionaire space race is only a race by name. In actuality, there is SpaceX – and everyone else. Only the company founded by Elon Musk nearly two decades ago ... Read more »

How atomic time-travel could reveal the mysteries of dark matter and more

Physicists from the University of Colorado have created an atomic clock so precise it can measure gravitational time dilation over distances as small as one millimeter. This record-breaking measurement could ... Read more »

Chelsea legend Drogba named WHO Ambassador for Sports and Health

Former Cote d’Ivoire international and Chelsea striker has been named as the World Health Organization’s Goodwill Ambassador for Sport and Health. Following the announcement on Monday in Geneva, the two-time ... Read more »

Emma Watkins quits The Wiggles after 11 years; new Yellow Wiggle named

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Emma Watkins is quitting The Wiggles and will pass the yellow skivvy to newcomer Tsehay Hawkins in 2022, the band announced on Tuesday. ... Read more »

Shop epic deals on pup-approved holiday gifts at Chewy

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. Looking for the perfect holiday gift for your furry friend? Right ... Read more »

The Apple M1 Max means you don't need a gaming laptop for video editing anymore

It finally happened, Apple released the M1 Pro and M1 Max nearly a year after it launched the M1 in November 2020. While Apple’s first go at making its own ... Read more »

What is spyware, exactly? Cybersecurity experts explain

Yahoo Life is committed to finding you the best products at the best prices. Some of the products written about here are offered in affiliation with Yahoo. We may receive ... Read more »

Rivers on Saturn's Titan could help NASA learn if moon can host life

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo The rivers and tributaries on Saturn’s moon Titan could help NASA’s upcoming mission to the celestial satellite learn more about its geology and ... Read more »

Millions of Years Ago, Our Ancestors Had Tails — But We Can Thank a Gene Mutation for Why We Don't

© Daniel Day – Getty Images We can thank a random gene mutation millions of years ago for our tailless anatomy. A new study seems to have found the reason ... Read more »

Here's everything Apple announced at its fall Mac event

On Monday, Apple held its second and likely last hardware event of the fall. “Unleashed” saw the company spend about an hour talking about updates to its Mac and Music ... Read more »

UK Covid cases reach 50,000 in one day as No 10 warns of ‘challenging' winter

Downing Street has warned of “challenging” months ahead as UK coronavirus cases reached their highest level since mid-July. © Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Guy Bell/Rex/Shutterstock The reported number of ... Read more »

New Greens senator Dorinda Cox becomes fifth Indigenous woman in parliament — and she wants to be a 'beacon' for others

© Provided by ABC NEWS Dorinda Cox is the first Indigenous woman to serve as a senator for WA.  (Supplied) Disillusioned and burnt out at just 25, Dorinda Cox faxed off ... Read more »

NASA eyes solar array glitch on new Lucy asteroid spacecraft

© Provided by Space Lucy’s solar panels unfurled during spacecraft work before launch. Lucy will become the solar-powered spacecraft to venture the farthest from the sun. A new NASA spacecraft ... Read more »

Melbourne 'fruit nerd' launches Great Backyard Fruit Salvage to save loquats from rot

© Provided by ABC NEWS Melbourne fruiterer Thanh Truong wants to salvage the loquats in your backyard. (Supplied: Thanh Truong) A Melbourne fruiterer has launched the Great Backyard Fruit Salvage to ... Read more »