Twitter has quickly become a force to be reckoned with – just ask any major cable news agency. Fancy, Armani suit-wearing news executives around the world are still trying to figure out why all they see are cute little blue birds flying around everywhere they look, along with the occasional whale that fails. Twitter has truly become a mainstream, real-time information dissemination platform that is rapidly becoming the unofficial official news source of the entire planet.
With that being the case, and especially with the latest breaking news action in the Middle East (for which Twitter seems to be their last remaining resource to communicate), I thought it would be nice to go over a top 10 list of useful Twitter applications, tools and resources that will help you to better organize your Twittering experience. You may as well get familiar with them now, because many top social media experts claim that Twitter has long passed the “fad” mark in the social media timeline. If it’s here to stay, then it’s time to learn about all the cool stuff you can do with it.
Let’s do this.
This one may sound obvious, but guess what the number one Twitter tool is? That’s right, Twitter itself! You see, not all that long ago, Twitter lacked some key features that tweeters needed at their disposal – such as the ability to “RT” (retweet) with the click of a button, a list of trending topics in the sidebar, and other little odds and ends that make tweeting so fun and easy. While in reality you don’t technically need all of the other fancy tools I’ll be talking about below, they will help boost your Twitter experience to the next level. Just keep in mind that if you’re in a rush, and want to tweet something quickly, it’s easy to just log on to Twitter.com with your username and get it done.
Talk about super organization, Tweetdeck is easily one of the most popular Twitter management clients out there. Eventually, as your Twittering becomes more crazy, fast and confusing, (which tends to happen when you’re dealing with hundreds or thousands of followers) so you’re going to need to bring in the big gun. Tweetdeck definitely qualifies as a big gun. After installing Tweetdeck (an Adobe Air app), immediately you’ll see dozens of features and opportunities to manage your Twitter stream. Separate friends from colleagues and family, key in on certain keywords that were mentioned in your stream, sort your replies, narrow down specific topics being mentioned – I mean the list literally goes on and on. Oh, and did I mention you can simultaneously post to your Facebook account as well? Sweet.
As with any great application, there is an evil dark side – and in this instance, it’s another case of a great app being a complete resource hog. Recent Tweetdeck updates have addressed this issue, but it’s still not quite as efficient as it could be. Most will agree that it’s worth the trade-off.
Another Adobe Air based application, Twhirl is another highly popular Twitter management platform that certainly gives the above a run for its money. Perhaps one of the coolest things about Twhirl, besides the easy to use interface, is the ability to post to other sites like Jaiku, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, and more. Packing a URL shortener and TwitPic powered image uploader; Twhirl brings the heat when it comes to managing every aspect of your social networking experience. Oh, and for the spelling challenged, it has built in spell checking. Sometimes it’s the little things in life…
What would Twitter be without the ability to quickly post up pics of that wicked huge quadruple bacon cheeseburger you just ordered? Seriously though, pictures make Twitter what it is. Whether a tornado just blew through your town, or you just spotted Justin Timberlake naked on the beach, passing this info around is crucial to your social standing. TwitPic easily reigns as the top Twitter image uploader, and many applications and tools integrate TwitPic for ease of use.
When using TwitPic, you can post pictures to your Twitter stream via your computer or smartphone, which is definitely a must. When a picture is uploaded, it will show the number of views it gets, which is quite satisfying for those of us with massive egos to maintain. Best of all, it requires no extra signups or registrations – if you have a Twitter account, you automatically have a TwitPic account.
The ultimate tool for those that like to work ahead is available in a free and paid version. The free version includes the ability to schedule tweets to go out at specific times, send automatic direct messages to new followers (which can be annoying to some folks), URL shortener, automatically unfollow those who unfollow you, and all sorts of cool little time savers that most would appreciate.
The paid version, of course, includes all of the free version stuff, plus the ability to weed out spam (which is huge), manage multiple Twitter accounts, run your own Twitter bots, and a nice selection of other enhancements to fully and completely automate your Twitter experience. The paid version of TweetLater costs around $30 USD per month, but there is a free trial that will allow you to test every function before buying into it. For most average tweeters, the free version should suffice.
6. Group Tweet
So whether you’re tweeting for your company, or your boy scout group leaders, Group Tweet is a sweet little deal that will allow you to send group tweet to specific groups you set up in its interface. Perhaps you want to send one message to your web development team, and another message to your designers – well, this is the tool that you absolutely must have.
Using Group Tweet is as simple as setting up an account, registering your group on GroupTweet.com, and having all group members follow the special account you created, and viola! You can tactically send out messages and keep the lines of communication flowing. Best of all, it’s free.
7. Twitter Counter
For those of us that need data (and ego inflation), there is a super cool online tool available called Twitter Counter. This awesome Twitter stats tracking tool will tell you everything from the amount of followers you’re predicted to have in 30 days to your average follower growth per day.
Best of all – they have graphs, charts, downloadable badges to show off your count on a blog or website, and just all kinds of fun and potentially valuable data that you might need personally or even in a company environment.
Personally, I love the “Twitter Rank”, which shows where you rank among your people, or even where you rank on a global scale. Twitter Counter is free to use, and if you love analytics, this is about as specific as it can get for Twitter.
With a cool name like “Twello”, it’s hard to ignore this super directory of interesting twits. Let’s say you’re interested in following people that are into cooking, or energy, or real estate. Whatever it is you fancy, the first place you should visit is Twello.
Twello is a massive directory of twits that are broken down into all sorts of categories, and chances are good that if you’re looking for a specific group of people, you’ll find what you’re looking for. Twello also allows you to link to your personal website along with pretty much any other social networking site you have a profile on.
At the time of this writing, Twello (a service of WebProNews.com) sports nearly 5 million user profiles.
Let’s pretend the world is experiencing several breaking news events that you’d like to keep track of simultaneously. As you probably already know, Twitter is the best way to get real time news from ground zero. But unless you’re wanting to open several instances of Twitter search on your computer to follow each keyword or tag relevant to each unique situation, there is a better way.
Monitter allows you to monitor several different keywords in one handy interface, with real time updates. Today was the first time I’ve ever used Monitter (due to all of the goings on in the world right now), and I must say that I’m highly impressed! The information flowed very smoothly and there were no hiccups that I noticed.
Monitter is free to use, and it looks very sharp and crisp. It also allows you to specify the monitoring of tweets within a certain radius of a city or town, which can come in very handy for local events.
Last but definitely not least, is Twitterholic. This clever site allows you view the top 100 tweeters of all time (which Ashton Kutcher is leading the pack with over two million, with Ellen DeGeneres close behind) and best of all, it allows you to enter your Twitter username and it will pull stats within your city or location to show where you rank.
Not that this information is important, but let’s be honest, it’s fun.
Hopefully you’ve learned a little more about the top 10 Twitter tools that are available for you to use. Sure, there are literally dozens more, but the one above seem to get the most attention, and I’m sure a few were left off the list that should have been there (depending on whom you talk with). At any rate, the tools and services above should give any Tweeter, rookie or veteran, a lot of extra help in managing and having fun with their Twitter stream(s).
If you have suggestions for tools that should be included, by all means leave them in the comments below.