26 tools to make you a better Twitterer

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

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.

Twitter Pride

Five things you have to do before you get Twitter

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”:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!)

Twitter – what we’ve got here is a failure to communicate…

April 21, 2008

Twitter has been having a bad day — for about three days now. It’s hard to imagine how they managed to stay up solid during SXSW and still fail miserably on some random weekend a month later.

Oh well. I’m tired of watching the few tweets that get through bitching about it being broke. I shut down my Twitter client; somebody wake me when the thing works again.

In Egypt, Cellphone Jailbreaks YOU

April 16, 2008

Of course, it wasn’t so much the cellphone that did the trick as it was Twitter:

When Egyptian police scooped up UC Berkeley graduate journalism student James Karl Buck, who was photographing a noisy demonstration, and dumped him in a jail cell last week, they didn’t count on Twitter.

Buck, 29, a former Oakland Tribune multimedia intern, used the ubiquitous short messaging service to tap out a single word on his cellular phone: ARRESTED. The message went out to the cell phones and computers of a wide circle of friends in the United States and to the mostly leftist, anti-government bloggers in Egypt who are the subject of his graduate journalism project.

The next day, he walked out a free man with an Egyptian attorney hired by UC Berkeley at his side and the U.S. Embassy on the phone.

So who still thinks Twitter is useless?

(from Mercury News)

(that title would have worked so much better had it been an iPhone <sigh>)

The Twitter Staff

September 4, 2007

Gary Burge has hit it right on the head. I’m a long time office-at-home type, but it does occasionally get too quiet.

Twitter fills a nice void in that regard — little snippets of conversation that make things seem much more like working in an office.

Since I tend to follow people on Twitter that are interested in the same things I am, the conversation is usually either entertaining or useful.

Best of all, when it gets too busy, it’s easy to “close the door” and ignore the noise, either going back and reading it later, or just letting it slide on by.