May 15, 2008
Buh bye, Plaxo!
I’ve been a little hesitant about Plaxo from the beginning — I’m a little shy about where I share my information (let alone the information of everybody in my address book), but it looked reasonably trustworthy, and — if it caught on — it could be a good way to be sure I kept my address book in sync with everybody’s changing information.
It worked okay for that at first, despite some problems with their OS X sync program (it would occasionally go nuts and eat up a bunch of CPU).
A couple of days ago, however, I started getting “spam” contact requests from Plaxo — unsolicited requests from people I’ve never heard of wanting me to “friend them up” on Plaxo. Ummm. No thanks — this isn’t my Twitter account, it’s my primary contact info.
The last straw was yesterday — Plaxo was acquired by Comcast. The way Comcast has been thumbing its nose lately at “net neutrality”, the last thing I wanted to do was give them an invitation to do a “deep packet inspection” on the details of everybody in my address book.
If you click that link, you’ll be taken to a page to permanently delete your Plaxo account — today anyway. There’s every possibility this address will change, so if you’re looking at this a month from now, there’s no guarantees.
In the meantime, however, if you are looking for a way to get out of Plaxo, here’s your chance.
May 12, 2008
One of the things that makes Twitter great is that it’s a “classic” open internet application — a fairly straightforward application with an API that allows other creative people to build enhancements on top of it.
The following list includes some of my favorite enhancements, tools and mashups to make Twitter go that extra mile.
Do you have any favorites that I missed? Share them with us in the comments below!
Twitter Clients & Tweeting Tools
- Twhirl – Multi-functional desktop client for Windows, Mac & Linux
- Hahlo 3 – Enormously cool web client for iPhones
- TwitBin – Twitter as a Firefox Plugin
- TwitterFone – Dictate your tweets by phone
- Autopostr – Automatically tweet new Flickr posts
- Twitsay – Send voice recordings to Twitter
- TweetLater – Tweet to the future.
- TweetAhead – Another scheduled tweeting service.
- Tweetburner – URL Shortener that tracks clickthroughs
- DM Deleter – Bulk delete your direct messages
- Jott – Phone in tweets via Jott.
- TwitterReply – Worried about missing replies? TwitterReply will mail them all to you.
Twitter Visualization Tools
- TweetWheel – Shows the relationships between everyone you follow
- TwitterVision – Twitter and Google Earth Mashup
- Twistori – A unique and artistic mashup; perhaps not terribly useful, but very cool
- Twitterholic – Leaderboard of the “Most Followed” Twitterers
- TwitEarth – Planetary Twitter Visualization
- TweetStats – Graph your Twitter Stats
Twitter Search Tools
- TweetScan – Search Twitter
- Summize – Conversational Search Engine
- Twitterverse – Twitter viewed as a keyword cloud
- TwitterLocal – Find twitterers (and top twitterers) in your area.
- FuelFrog – Track your gas mileage via Twitter
Tools for dealing with Twiter Annoyances
- TwitterSnooze – Give annoying friends a “time out”
- TwerpScan – Check your followers (and people you’re following) for spammers and other parasites.
- EatSleepTweet – Twitter clothing
May 5, 2008
Like most everyone who uses Twitter, I seem to be totally unable to make non-users understand how it’s useful.
I’ve finally figured out that this is because Twitter is all about interests — once you follow (and are followed by) a base number of users who share your interests, you start to see the magic happen — you learn about new things that are important to you as they happen (because the people you are following are twittering about them), and you have people who can offer you advice and talk to you about the things that are important to you, because the people who are following you share your interests.
But when you first sign up for Twitter, it seems to be impossible to see how to get from point a (following one or two people, not being followed by anyone) to point b (having Twitter as a useful tool).
I’ve finally decided that there are five things new users have to do before Twitter becomes useful to them, and they can start to “get it”:
- Follow at least 50 people who share some of your interests.
Twitter is all about sharing interests. Search on keywords at Tweetscan to find people posting about things that interest you, and start following them.
- Get at least 50 followers who share some of your interests.
You get followers who share your interests by posting tweets related to your interest — even if nobody is paying attention at first. When you follow new people, many of them will check your recent tweets to see if you’re talking about things that interest them, and if you are, they are likely to follow you back.
- Reply to people you follow.
Even if the people you follow don’t follow you, they will receive replies that include @username (where username is their username). Don’t be a pest, but if you have something to contribute, or can answer a question, or even would like a clarification, post a reply. If you’re participating in the conversation, more people who share that interest will follow you.
- Tweet regularly.
Again, don’t be a pest, but do try to tweet at least a few times a day. Nobody will follow (and many will unfollow) users who haven’t tweeted in a month and a half.
- Use a desktop Twitter client.
It’s a lot easier to pay attention to your twitterstream (or ignore it when you need to) if you use a decent desktop application. Good clients will also make it a lot easier to reply, direct message, view your replies, post pictures, etc. I recommend Twhirl. It runs on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, and provides lots of ways to make using Twitter easier.
Do you have any tips on how to make Twitter more useful? Share them with us in the comments!!
(And don’t forget to follow me!)
April 29, 2008
If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s worth your time to spend a couple of minutes watching Clay Shirky’s wonderful presentation from Web 2.0 Expo – Gin, Television, and Social Surplus.
“I’m willing to raise that to a general principle. It’s better to do something than to do nothing. Even lolcats, even cute pictures of kittens made even cuter with the addition of cute captions, hold out an invitation to participation.”
If you’d rather read than watch, there’s a transcript available on Clay’s blog – Gin, Television, and Social Surplus.
Read it, watch it, but either way, spread this around — everybody needs to think about this, even if it’s just a little…