I fiddle a lot with my TweetDeck, trying to find the perfect mix of columns that help me to both learn from my growing list of colleagues and to engage in collaborative inquiry across the globe. To add to the complexity of managing my personal Twitter account (coloneb), I keep tabs on our district account as well (leerebels)
Because I use a MacBook Pro, I have a wider screen that enables me to see 5 columns at a time. The first column, of course, is reserved for my "All Friends" and it is often the most active column, especially as the number of folks I follow grows. It is a 24/7 column because it represents every time zone in the U.S. and a few from the other side of the globe.
The second column I use for my mentions just to make it easier to follow any conversations or responses to my tweets.
The next two columns are setup for the two hashtags I am currently following: #edchat and #edtech. Hashtags are used to organize tweets around a similar interest, topic, location, or theme. I have experimented with other hashtags but for now have settled on these two. This allows me to read, retweet and respond to others who share my interests but whom I haven't yet decided to follow.
My fifth column is currently occupied by @ShellTerrell's educator-pln list that at the time I wrote this contains 432 educators from around the world. This saves me from having to follow each individual within the list but still benefit from their collective wisdom and conversations. Periodically, I pick out an individual that most resembles my interests and I follow them. By the way, ShellTerrell tweets from Germany making her the ad hoc leader of the night shift. She also serves as one of the outstanding moderators of the #edchat Twitter discussion on Tuesdays (12 pm and 7 pm, EST).
I have lately added some additional columns that require me to scroll right to see them. They are not as important and don't require regular tending but I found I was missing out on some important communications so I've added them.
One is the direct messages column for private communications. I'm not an advocate of using Twitter to convey private messages but sometimes it makes sense so I want to check it occasionally. The next column is a list of my favorite tweets that I have tagged for reference later. I don't always have the time to immediately follow a link and have found by tagging it as a favorite, I'm less likely to lose it in the constant flow of tweets. I can now conveniently follow or share the link when I get time.
The next column is currently occupied by TweetDeck's New Followers feature. I like this because it helps me weed out spam or unidentified followers with ease.
Two additional columns are for the district Twitter account so that I can keep track of messages and replies surrounding district events and issues.
TweetDeck's flexibility is precisely what I need to get the most out of Twitter.