Tip 1: Don’t follow verified people.
Don’t follow verified people/accounts if possible. Someone who has done enough ego stroking to become verified, likely has a fair number of followers. Let those followers filter out the good stuff for you. Rest assured, if one of those verified accounts says something good, it will surface in your timeline..
Tip 2: Mute hashtags often
Amongst the chunks of good stuff on twitter are snowballs of drama and conferences/events you are not interested in. Luckily, most of these occurrences try to develop ‘branding’ with a hashtag. Mute them. In the event that muting is too much work, just simply logoff and do a puzzle or read a book.
Tip 3: Unfollow as easily as you follow
Sometimes you will have a friend or someone you know change careers. They might start consulting or some other endeavor that requires them to ‘brand-build’, self promote or just generally create a lot of noise. Unfollow them. If it is someone you have a close relationship with, such as a spouse or something, just mute them. If you find yourself following someone that is generally pretty negative, unfollow them unless they do it in a particularly clever manner.
Tip 4: Don’t use the twitter website.
Find a twitter client that stops the promoted tweets, ‘we think you like this’ tweets, blue-line/repeated conversation tweets, and the inane trending topics stuff. The amount of noise on Twitter increases with every passing day and you should be using a tool that increases the signal. I’m personally very happy with Tweetbot, but I’m sure other quality options exist. If you get very desperate, use the mobile version of twitter: http://m.twitter.com More times than not, it is better and faster than the main twitter site.