Twitter Twaddle

by David Hughes on August 6, 2009

I gave a talk recently to introduce a group of business owners to the world of twitter. A few were already regular twitterers but most had simply heard the growing buzz around twitter and social media in general and had yet to stick their toes in the water.

This post rounds up some of the twitter applications that we didn’t have time to cover in any great detail.

One of the first things anyone needs after opening a twitter account is something that will manage activity in a more useful way than the twitter site itself.

Two desktop applications that I have found useful are Tweetdeck and Seesmic. I have a marginal preference for the latter but have been running both on different machines for the last month.

Both will allow you to manage multiple accounts and show your tweets, replies and direct messages alongside the general stream of tweets from those you follow. They will also allow you to create groups containing the tweets of those you particularly want to keep track of. And both will allow you to hook up to your Facebook account and shorten your urls to help you keep within the 140 character limit.

They’ll do a lot more besides but these few things make either an invaluable tool. If neither take your fancy another desktop application worth looking at is Twhirl.

For tweeting away from your desk you’ll want a Mobile twitter client such as tweetie or tweetdeck for i-phone or ubertwitter for Blackberry.

A URL shortening service such as bit.ly, budurl or tinyurl will help you keep track of how popular your tweets are and keep your tweets within the 140 character limit. Most desktop clients will include URL shortener but registering directly with the service will allow you to track your shortened URLs as well as simply shortening them.

Beyond these few must-haves there are hundreds of helper applications. What follows is a listing of a few that have caught my attention:


tweetbeep
and twilert – a couple of services that send alerts based on keywords that you choose to track. Great for keeping track of tweets that mention you, your product or service, or any topic you’re particularly interested in.

grouptweet – group message broadcasting for twitter. A way of using the instant messaging power of twitter within a closed group. Group tweets are broadcast privately to group members.

ping.fm – Not a twitter specific service but rather a social network broadcasting service. Ping.fm will update your status on over 40 social network sites with filters and triggers to ensure all your messages go to the right place.

nearbytweets – The Royston Vasey of the Twitterverse, a service that helps you find twitterers nearby: local tweets for local people. Key in your postcode, a keyword and a radius in miles and nearbytweets returns online twitterers tweeting on topic within your cachement area.

Another service along similar lines is
twitterfall
– a ‘waterfall’ of tweets on topics you select and within geographic boundaries you set.

whofollowswhom – Pick up to five tweeters and compare what they share in common in terms of who they follow and are followed by.

friendorfollow and twitterkarma – who’s following you that you’re not following back and who are you following that isn’t following you. These two services will let you know. I have a preference for the way twitterkarma works but friendorfollow doesn’t require you to give your password – always a plus.

twittercounter – shows growth and projected growth of followers and followed based on past activity.

tweetstats – a statistical analysis of your tweeting patterns over time: tweets per hour, tweets per month, tweet timeline and reply stats.

twittercal
– a service that connects your twitter account to your google calendar.

SocialOomph – formerly tweetlater – a bundle of useful tools at the core of which is the possibility of forward booking your tweets – write now and send later. It will integrate with your bit.ly URL shortening account, allow you to manage multiple accounts, vet followers and automate much of the process. Personally I keep most of the settings on manual and still find plenty that’s useful.

Another useful twitter client, particularly if you have a number of contributors to a single profile, is HootSuite.


twitterfeed
– tweets generated from an RSS feed that you nominate

twittersheep
– enter your username to generate a tag cloud based on the words in the bio notes of those that follow you.

tweetake
– a back up service for all your twitterings.

twibs – a business directory for twitter

twellow – a yellow pages for twitter

coupontweet – a discount coupon service via twitter

retweetist – a site that shows the most popular re-tweeted tweets. One way of discovering trends, popular topics and tweeters.

Last but not least two useful guides to twittering and twitter etiquette. The first from mashable and the second (via @subutcher) from computer-colleges.com

If anyone reading this has a favourite twitter related application or site that I have omitted, please do leave a comment.

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