As we all know, Twitter seems to be everywhere from CNN covering of the protest in Iran to your neighbor letting the world know what she had for lunch. Twitter can be used to share with your friends (or as Twitter calls them, followers) any information you want to share, as long as you keep it within the 140 characters they allow you to use. To help people gain the most of their experience of using Twitter, I have decided to do a review of some free programs, iPhone apps and websites out there that can help you be more productive when using Twitter.
- Twirl – Twirl is my favorite program to use when it comes to viewing and sending tweets. The program is written using Adobe Air, which allows you to view web content without having your browser open. I found it very easy to set up and use. The menu is well laid out and all the features needed to be a good Twitter friend are easy to find, such as being able to reply to another Twitter user or being able to send a direct message to someone. It is just a simply click on that user’s picture to do either of these two things. This is a great program to use if you are just getting started with Twitter or if you do not have thousands of people you are following.
- TweetDeck – TweetDeck is another Adobe Air based program that allows you to view what is going on in your Twitter world without having to access Twitter’s website. The advantage of using TweetDeck is it allows you to break down the people you are following into groups. For example, you can have one group set up for your friends, another set up for your coworkers, and another set up for family. This allows you to keep easier track of what each of the members of the groups you set are doing. TweetDeck also allows you to view multiple accounts at one time. This is great if you have both a personal and a business twitter accounts. Another nice feature of TweetDeck is it allows you to keep an eye on keywords that people are tweeting about. For example, if you are interested in what people are talking about on the topic of “web design”, you could set up a group on TweetDeck to view any tweet that has those keywords in it.
- Spaz – Yet another Adobe Air based program. Out of the three programs that I have listed here, this is the one I like the least. I find it harder to use then Twirl and doesn’t have any of the additional features TweetDeck has. I would recommend one of the two programs above before using Spaz.
iPhone or iPod Touch Apps
- Twitterific – A nice and easy to use App. It allows you to set up multiple accounts that you can access with just tapping on the screen name you want to view. It doesn’t allow you to access multiple accounts at one time, but it’s easy to switch between accounts. I find it to be an easy to use program and the menu system is well laid out, making it easy to respond, retweet or send a direct message to someone.
- TwitterFon – TwitterFon is the app that I use the most on my iPod Touch. I find it extremely easy to use and it has the feel of Twirl. The menu system is also well laid out like Twitterific.
- Yahoo! – I had high hopes for this app when I download it. What I read out this app sounded like it was going to bring everything into one app, from news updates, to yahoo instant messaging to even being able to stay connected on Twitter. I was very disappointed when I tried the Twitter feature on it. I still can’t figure out how to retweet or reply to someone using this program. It does allow you to view multiple social media networks using its social pulse feature, but it doesn’t allow you to take advantage of the addition features of these networks.
- What the Hashtag – Have you seen a hash tag that you did not know what it means? This site is the answer for you. Just enter the hashtag in its search box and you will get a description of that tag. It will also provide you with a bar chart that shows you how many times in the last seven days that hashtag was used. (Hashtags are tag words with a # in front of them.)
- HootSuite – This website has a great deal of useful tools from being able to set up an RSS feed to your twitter account to being able to schedule a future tweet to be posted later in the day, week, or month. If you post a link using their URL shortener (owl.ly), you will be able to keep statics of who clicked on that link. I would say the site is well laid out and easy to find and use all the features available by WootSuite.
- Search Twitter – This is a website ran by Twitter that just allows you to search for a keyword or topic that you are interested in that people are discussing on Twitter.
- Mr. Tweet – Mr. Tweet says he is your personal networking assistance. What he does is recommends other people on Twitter you may be interested in following based on who you are already following. The service this website provides is a great way to meet new people with similar interest as yourself.
I hope that you find these free Twitter tools and websites useful. These are just some of the many opinions out there to help you interact and be more productive when using Twitter. If you know of any other free resources people can use to be more productive on Twitter, please list them below as a comment. Thanks.
P.S. If you are interested in following me on Twitter, my user name is JoePerricomLLC.