Meet Tweetdeck in real-time

Tweetdeck real-time twitter streaming

Meet Tweetdeck in real-time

How often do you click on “N new tweets” on the top of your twitter timeline? I have even stopped counting on how often I do that. Go ahead and call me a twitter addict but if you are reading this, chances are that you are an addict as well!

I had always wondered that why can’t twitter timeline auto-update itself at regular intervals or may be, everytime a new tweet concerning me, goes live. And this is much before Facebook started auto-updating its timeline. Infact, I had promised myself to have it as one of the helping features, in my future web venture.

As per the announcement in the last week of july, Twitter was testing its new API that has an interesting feature called User Streams. In simpler terms, it pushes data in realtime for desktop applications. One of the key beta testers of this API was Tweetdeck.

So last week, when my Tweetdeck started updating tweets at an extraordinary pace, I knew exactly what to expect. It had rolled out the streaming API for all users. Agreed that it reminds one of Friendfeed but here, it promises to go beyond just a usual stream. I follow more or less 500 people and it is pretty interesting to have their tweets auto-updating. Everytime I have a tweet concerning me, I get a mention as soon as it is tweeted. Exciting!

Twitter's search panel

Search Panel for "Twitter"

Possible experiments

It took me no time in opening a search panel for “Twitter” itself to check the streaming. You will be amazed to see the results! For another one, I created a Tweetdeck panel with a private list, putting all the people who tweet about things that interest me. And I had a real-time news channel for myself.

We could even have chat sessions, making Tweetdeck a messenger. Streaming timeline makes for infinite experiments. At the same time, it might even annoy a few of us.

Flipside of streaming

If you follow a lot of people, the real-time timeline may just take a toll on you. With tweets updating by the second, you may find it hard to focus and register most of them.

Also, some of the twitter users may not be interested in having streams that seem like chatrooms. The streaming search queries may be overwhelming as well. In general, it might take us time to adapt ourselves to these speeding tweets.

Manage streaming

  • Batch your notifications – Under Settings > Notifications there is a setting which allows you to specify “Show notifications at most every x seconds”.
  • Disable realtime streams altogether – Simply uncheck “Enable realtime Twitter streams” under Settings > Twitter and click Save.

Tweetdeck support has more tips and details related to feed management.


Twitter’s web version needs a quick update to make use of its own streaming API. The update tweet button seems outdated, with desktop apps providing streaming feeds.

Do share your experiments with tweetdeck’s streaming feeds and your views on this update, in the comment section.

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About the Author:

Himanshu Khanna is the founder of Pixelonomics and a senior designer at Sparklin. If you’d like to connect with him, follow him on Twitter: @SparklinGuy

  • arun srini

    I read seesmic is also going to test this user streams. It is a great boom since the only negative comment from developers was the rate limitation of twitter api

  • Vishal

    wooohooo let me try this first… Thanks for sharing bro :)

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