Twitter is a fabulous way of reaching out to people and gaining access to information from all over the globe. You can now peer inside celebrities minds (even if it is just nonsensical rants at times..) and catch up on what politicians are getting involved in. On a more personal level, you can use it to catch up with your friends and share your witty 140 character musings with the world (oh, the pressure), as well as find out about cool and interesting stories you might otherwise have missed out on. It’s also a great outlet to use for bitching at companies and you never know, they may actually respond and help you! It’s happened to us on many occasions. It’s easy to get Twitter burnout though, as so there’s so much information that it’s easy to feel that you’ll miss out on those all important Tweets if you take your eyes off the screen. Stay sane and in the loop by checking out my top ten Twitter tools to make your Tweetlife a more relaxing experience. Everything I’ve included is free to use, though many have premium services which you can pay for.
In today’s busy society it’s possible that you’re a Twitter SuperUser- one who has more than one account, whether they’re for business or pleasure. Monitoring them can be stressful, but not if you use an application. There’s so much more to Twitter than just the browser homepage and HootSuite is a great application that allows you to quickly see conversations at a glance, and check who has been talking to you, mentioning you or messaging you. You can use Hootsuite to send shortened URL’s as it automatically integrates them into the URL uploader, and it will also gives any Twitpics shortened URLs for people to check out. There’s a mobile and a browser app, and I love how clean the mobile app is. It’s free to download and use (though you can upgrade to premium) and a free account lets you manage three twitter feeds at the same time.
TweetDeck works in a similar way to Hootsuite, allowing you to view multiple conversations threads on Twitter at the same time, and search through them with erase. It also offer a mobile app, but I’m all about the desktop application as it’s so visually stunning- a great screen populated with a thousand tiny Twitter avatars and bursting with life and updates.
All streams update live results, and it’s really useful if you’re trying to monitor what’s going on in the Twittersphere. You can have one stream open searching for all mentions of Justin Bieber or Charlie Sheen (should you want to) one stream following everything he says, and you can also monitor how people use hash tags and what they’re searching for. I find this service incredibly helpful and the layout is really user friendly.You can even check into Foursquare or connect to your LinkedIn contacts through it!
We live in a harsh world, where people judge on first impressions and leave nasty remarks on your Facebook wall for no reason. At a whim so called friends can decide your heartfelt Twitter updates are worse than Colin Firth’s Academy Award speech and unfollow you on Twitter for no reason at all. If your follower count is high, you won’t actually realize, so Twunfollow lets you know who has ‘unfollowed you’. It provides you with daily emails, which are the equivalent of a stab to the heart, telling you ‘X is no longer following you’ in bland email language. Hey, forewarned is forearmed right? Now you can blank them appropriately when you next see them.
Ever wonder about how and when you Tweet? It might be something you’ve not given much thought too, but wouldn’t it be interesting to see how active you are in the morning compared to the evening (or how much time at work is wasted spent online?) Perhaps you constantly update people with intelligent quotes and want a way of storing this data. Twistory allows you to do all of this by indexing the last 30 days of your Tweets for free (more, if you pay) and allowing you to view them on your actual calendar. Twistory syncs with your Google Calendar and iCal, and you can see your Tweets plotted over the course of a month. You can even be stalkery and sign up for a calendar of someone else’s tweets, and you never have to worry that your pithy words will somehow get wiped off the net if Twitter’s servers fail.
Sometimes using Twitter is all about ego, and Klout is a service which fully caters to that. It analyzes your Tweets and tells you how much of a social influencer you are. It’s a nice way to learn whether your comments and musings are actually being picked up on or just getting lost in the vast world of the web. The Klout service takes a look at your Twitter handle and then analyzes the quality of your Tweets. It looks at the numbers of lists you belong too, how often you get retweeted and who is influenced by you.
It then places you into a certain category on this rather nifty looking box diagram [see above] which shows you whether you’re a curator, curator, socializer, celebrity etc- doesn’t mean a huge amount but can be a nice ego boost as all are fairly complimentary. It’s a nice way to see how people are engaging with you, and I highly recommend it.
Twitter is full of many, many people, so many in fact that you can feel quite overwhelmed, and not know where to start. Sure, you can look at lists and find you’re fave athletes by Googling their name, but wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to compile them all? Twellow builds itself as the ‘Twitter yellow pages’ (Yellow Pages is a UK directory with names, services and addresses) and orders the multiple Twitter account in to helpful sections.
This can be really useful if you’re looking to narrow down specific people in disciplines- an example would be looking to find out who are the volleyball players on Twitter. You can Google their names easily enough but Twellow gives you a directory of people, easily laid out. You can search for Twitter users via their name, location (you get a pretty map to click through) and you get info on the person, which includes their number of followers, recent tweets and Twitter bio. It can be a little confusing- there is so much info to consume- but it’s one of the most comprehensive Twitter directories I’ve seen.
Twitter isn’t just a reactive service, it can also be proactive, and getting people involved with campaigns and changes in the world. Act.ly is a petition site that uses the Twitter API to allow Twitter followers to sign up and Tweet out about what they’ve got involved in. It’s cleverly coded that each RT counts as a signature on the petition and is a great way to get lots of people involved, without asking them to fill in a form or go off the network they’re on at the moment- a key thing.
They’ve included a few funny additions, such as seeing who’s in the ‘hot seat’ (a.k.a Trouble) and allow you to search for petitions based on which brand created (Google and CNN feature).
It’s never nice to realize you’re a total n00b online, and the fact that Twitter has a 140 character limit means there may be shortened words in Tweets that have you feel lost and confused, YKWIM?* Sure, you can go the Urban Dictionary route, but how about a service dedicated purely to Twitter lingo? Twittonary is still in beta stage but the service has potential, so it’s definitely one to keep on your radar.
(*Translation: You Know What I Mean?)
I get most of my real-time news form Twitter these days, using the embedded URL to read the stories that I’m interested in. Sometimes I do miss the old school style format of a regular newspaper, but it’s the content I’m interested in… This is where Paper.Li comes in, as it’s a service which displays your Facebook and Twitter updates in a newspaper style layout, It combines the most popular stories from your followers and gives you an attractive ‘Daily’ broadsheet for you to scroll through, a visually pleasing way of getting your data.
Sometimes 140 characters can feel oh so limiting- your mind is full of wonderful thoughts and putting them down into words can distort them. AudioBoo is a great voice activated app that lets you record short audio streams (five minutes), and then upload them via a link to Twitter. Your ‘boo’s’ can then be listened to by anyone who desires them, and you can check out stats on your audience figures. It’s super easy to use- you literally download, input your Twitter login details and then you’re ready to go. Available on both Android and iPhone.