Most who use Twitter casually are interested in simply posting their daily exploits for their close friends. Recently the trend to use Twitter for everything from news sharing, to professional networking, to business promotion, is becoming more prevalent as the service’s userbase continues to grow rapidly. As I’ve branched out with my own personal uses of Twitter, I’ve found employing the use of some third-party created tools and applications can help to better manage your relationships, and make Twitter work wisely for a myriad of purposes. Let’s take a look at some of the most helpful of these implementations and see what they offer to all of us working to get the most out of Twitter.
On The Desktop
Digsby has captured a huge segment of the IM market away from other multi-provider clients like Trillian, not only for its instant messaging capabilities, but also for its foray into hooking into social networking. In addition to support for Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn, Digsby also has a very capable Twitter client built-in.
Right from your taskbar, you can access your timeline, @ replies, direct messages, archive, and favorites. You can also easily reply, direct message, and mark any tweet as a favorite – in addition to visible posting times, profile images, and indications of which service was used to post the update. You can also use
Digsby’s real-time notifications as your friend’s updates come in. Posting an update also offers integrated TinyURL support, and a character count to keep your posts under the 140 limit. For the Twitter pros, Digsby even supports multiple simultaneous Twitter accounts, so you can keep track of all of your followers on each of your accounts.
You can follow them at http://twitter.com/digsby.
TweetDeck, plain and simple, is the new dashboard for the power Twitter user. Using a powerful customizable column format, this Adobe AIR application lets you quickly view any combination of the people you follow on Twitter. Your columns can include your @replies, favorites, direct messages, and any number of special groupings of your Twitter friends. One of the most useful features that TweetDeck offers is the ablity to filter any of your columns by keyword, focusing in on the subject matter you’re most interested in. You can also use TweetDeck similar to a news reader, where you can mark tweets as seen, clear seen tweets, and clear all tweets to get rid of items you’ve already read from your view.
Using the Groups feature, you can split your friends up into clusters of your choosing: people you know in real life, people whom you interact with more often, people who’ve sent you @replies - and show them in their own column. You can also set up columns for search terms – perfect for finding mention of keywords or brands you’re interested to keep close tabs on. For those that are also 12seconds.tv users, TweetDeck lets you keep track of postings there as well. Posting offers a slew of URL shorteners, TwitPic attachment, and inline TweetShrink – for those posts that you can’t seem to get under 140 characters. Even though TweetDeck is currently in beta, it’s an extremely full-featured application for anyone looking to squeeze the most out of Twitter.
You can follow them at http://twitter.com/tweetdeck.
On The Web
If you ever wanted to spread news about your brand, or find people that are particularly interested in specific topics, Twollow does a great job of auto-following people based on keywords. The free web application allows 5 unique keywords to be followed per Twitter account (up to 15 if you go for their premium service), and tells you who the application recently followed for you. It’s a great app if you’d like to have some automation of finding and adding new people to follow.
Another similar service, currently in private beta, is Tweet Manager.
You can follow them at: http://twitter.com/twollow.
TweetLater provides the most Twitter automation of any web tool: auto thank-yous both public and private to those who follow you, receive digest emails of those that @ reply to you, track keywords and receive digest emails of tweets that match, schedule tweets to appear at a later time, or even distribute your tweets at regular intervals over time. For anyone that is spending a lot of time cultivating a brand on Twitter, TweetLater serves up an impressive arsenal of services.
You can follow them at: http://twitter.com/tweetlater.
For the Twitter users that are looking to rid themselves of the non-participants among their ranks, MyCleenr is about as simple a solution as it gets. You’re shown a list of all of the inactive people you follow, sorted by the date of their last tweet. Want to delete that person who hasn’t tweeted in months? Click Delete, and they’re gone. MyCleenr is a quick and well presented service to ensure the people you follow are all ones who remember to post, and post often.
You can follow them at: http://twitter.com/mycleenr.
Twitter Karma picks up where MyCleenr stops with additional information to help decide who you should or shouldn’t be following. In addition to showing you when they last updated, you can sort alphabetically, by your followers and those you follow, or those who are mutual friends. You can use these lists to perform bulk follows, unfollows, or blocks. Twitter Karma is ideal for aiding you in your search to determine who you want to keep, or end, your relationships with.
You can follow them at: http://twitter.com/karma_news.
If you’re unable to use TweetDeck, TweetVisor is a fantastic web dashboard to monitor all that’s going on with your Twitter accounts. An auto-refreshing portal of your friends’ tweets, your @ replies, your direct messages, any of your updates that have been retweeted, form and monitor groups of people you follow, and follow your own personalized “hot topics” allow you to keep everything visible quickly on one interface. As a browser-based offering, there’s nothing as complete as TweetVisor’s all-in-one package.
You can follow them at: http://twitter.com/tweetvisor.
On The iPhone
Tweetie is a new Twitter client for iPhone that offers more than any other client currently available on the handheld. In addition to the standard abilities one would expect, Tweetie brings some of the best desktop features, and features from its competitors, to a mobile device.
Like Digsby, Tweetie supports multiple Twitter accounts, so you can keep up with all of your friends across your various profiles. Taking a cue from the original star iPhone client, Twinkle, Tweetie can show you all of the nearby Twitter posts in your local area. If you’re used to being able to find posts that include unique keywords, Tweetie has you covered with its search functionality. Lastly, Tweetie tracks the latest trends, similar to TweetDeck, to keep you up to speed on the latest events hitting the Twittersphere.
You can follow them at: http://twitter.com/tweetie.
For The Future
There are still some features that would be nice to have for really drilling down into your relationships, getting more from your friends’ updates, and maintaining the quality of who you choose to follow. I’d like to see offerings that allow you to:
- View friends/followers by their Twitter Ratio, to determine if they are actually spammers or might have otherwise unwanted peculiarities
- Auto-pull all links from people you are following, and display them to you as a “best of day” in order of popularity
- Create integrated links: so rather than having to use URL shortening services, the link should be inline with the text, just like a normal web link (Note: This is more an issue of Twitter’s than of a third party enabling such a feature.)
As always, I hope this is the start of a discussion on how we can all use Twitter efficiently and effectively. Please contribute with your own findings and techniques, and feel free to follow me at http://twitter.com/nathanchase, and let me know what you think.