Jane Hart's annual list of the top 100 learning tools is always an interesting way of keeping an eye on trends and discovering new tools. I went to check the list this morning with a different purpose. I went to see if my current favorite is on the list. I couldn't find it on the 2010 list but it has 3 votes on the 2011 list. It's not clear that it's going to make the top 100 in 2011.
What am I talking about? Paper.li. Paper.li allows you to subscribe to daily newspaper issues made up of Twitter and Facebook links.
The newspaper arrives in my email box. With TweetDeck and my filterened column for KM-relatead tweets, I can end up with 20 tweets essentially pointing to the same link. With Paper.li, I will see only one link to that item. It helps to filter out duplicates. If I keep TweetDeck open all day long to keep an eye on things, I lose focus on what I'm trying to achieve.
For me, Paper.li won't completely replace TweetDeck, but it has an important Twitter management function.
All of this leads me back to a point about the Top 100 Tools for Learning. Some of the tools listed are really sub-tools in the sense that Paper.li and TweetDeck exist only because of Twitter. They're tools develop to address some of the challenges brought about by Twitter. Also, it would be useful to have lists by category of tools. Presentation tools have little to do with microblogging tools for example.
I discovered Paper.li via Twitter, but you go directly to the Paper.li website, search for existing papers, on topics of interest, and subscribe, never requiring you to even get a Twitter account.
Subscribe to the top 3 "Knowledge Management" Paper.li Twitter newspapers and I'm confident you won't miss anything critical being shared on Twitter around Knowledge Management.
Of course, that all works out for me because I use Twitter as a way of connecting with resources more than as a way of connecting with people. To connect with people around KM, the weekly #KMers tweetchat is probably the most effective approach.
Conclusion: You don't have to keep checking your tweet feeds to get significant benefits from Twitter. It doesn't have to be a distracting tool. What you need is a willingness to try it out and figure out how to use it so it works best for you.