Twitter Tools

I started using Twitter more than a year ago on my laptop and aside from adding it to my BlackBerry this past March and having my blog posts automatically tweeted when published, I’ve confined myself to simply using the basic and original Twitter service. In the meantime several third party applications have arrived on the scene to complement and even expand Twitter beyond a micro-blogging tool to a major social media application. Several friends of mine have been coaxing me to try some of the other available programs, but I’ve been too busy to take the time to explore them.

Until now.

Over the weekend I began investigating the other various Twitter applications, then downloading and using some to get a feel for them and to decide if they might be useful additions to the basic Twitter. Here are the ones I have chosen to keep.

TwitterBerry – A mobile client application for posting updates to Twitter designed for BlackBerry users that doesn’t require opening up the mobile browser. I rely heavily on my BlackBerry to keep me connected when I don’t have access to my laptop. Though I have Twitter set up to send tweets from those I follow (and have chosen to turn my “device on” for their tweets, something I DON’T do for all those I follow) and I can post my own tweets or reply to theirs using the BlackBerry, TwitterBerry is an application that offers two distinct advantages:

1. All of my replies go over the data network instead of the SMS text service. I have an unlimited data plan with my mobile provider, but text messages are extra after a certain count. Shifting my replies to the data network saves me some cash on the text side.

2. When I reply to a tweet, it automatically places the “@nameoftweeter” in my reply, something I had to type in manually using the SMS text feature. Not a huge deal, but sometimes I forget and sometimes I’m just plain lazy. And it allows “Direct Messaging” so that, if I choose, the reply or the initial tweet is not broadcast to everyone but only to the specified user.

TweetDeck – A desktop application (for my laptop), Tweetdeck allows users to take their entire feed of tweets and split them up into manageable groups, as well as allowing for posting, replying, direct messaging and re-tweeting of a poster’s tweet, all without accessing the Twitter webpage. And speaking of webpages, it will automatically shorten any webpage you include, using the TinyURL feature. True to it’s name, any time you receive a tweet, the application sounds a “tweet” to notify you. Since I currently only follow about two dozen fellow twits, I have my TweetDeck divided into just three sections; “All Friends”, “Replies” and “Direct Messages”, but if I add more friends then I can divide their tweets into more descriptive groups.

TwitterLocal – A desktop application (for my laptop), TwitterLocal allows users to enter a state, city or zip code and a range of miles to identify all the Twitter users within that range. I currently have mine set for a radius of 20 miles from Orlando and it has allowed me to add a few interesting Twits to those I follow. I think that when I’m traveling around the country, it will allow me to get hyper-local information on the city I’m in and identify some good places to visit or tour during my down time.

TwitPic – An online service that allows you to send photos with your tweets. Twitter, in its basic form, is a text only post limited to 140 characters, but there are times when you’d like to send along a graphic and TwitPic lets you do that from your phone or from the website. I haven’t used it yet, but it’s ready to go on my BlackBerry.

SnapTweet – An online service that allows you to send your Flickr photos out as tweets. Haven’t used this one yet either, but looking forward to trying SnapTweet.

Twitscoop – Their tagline is “What’s Hot On Twitter Right Now” and that’s exactly the information they provide. Through the graphical representation of a Tag Cloud you can discover what’s popular in the “Twitterverse” at any given moment in time. Twitscoop allows you to stay on top of developing news, sometimes before it hits network or mainstream media, and to examine what is being talked about, big or small, by Twits everywhere. I’ve installed their widget over on my right hand column for a while

So, those are the Twitter applications or services I’m using or going to use. I still stay pretty limited (compared to some, lol) in my usage of Twitter because I just don’t have an availability of free time to spend on it, but I do find it fun and useful when employed with moderation.

If you’ve got a favorite Twitter application or services you use and would recommend, I hope you’ll leave a comment about it.

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