Tuesday, 10 November 2009

The Top 5 Tools For Twitter

Around 12 months ago, I overheard that Stephen Fry (@StephenFry) had taken to 'tweeting' an awful lot. It was the first time (I was probably behind, I'm aware) that I'd ever heard the expression.
As somebody who used to blog whilst at University and remains to this day an avid Facebook fan (I only check my profile every 2 minutes or so) I was fascinated and immediatley hooked.
It wasn't just that a new 140 characters-limited network had been created, but that it was a network that spawned thousands of useful applications that meant I was instantly able to upload pics (via Twitpic) and download Tweetdeck (both on my laptop and iPhone) and be able to check all of my relevant updates and the people I follow with the click of a button.
Many bloggers have offered great tips for twitter - @crystalquest offers some great tips on how to tweet personally whilst Mike Dodd's thoughts the 'Top Ten SEO Tips' featured on Mashable offer a great a brand perspective. What I wanted to do here was offer what I believe to be the 'must-have' top 5 tools - at last count there were 140 so by no means am I able to profess to have practised them all, but I've had a good go at around 50 and thought I would list the ones that I see as unavoidable should you want to use Twitter effectively.
1. Twitpic Made famous by Ashton Kutcher (who tweeted about his lovely wife Miss Moore in her underwear) with only 140 characters avialable, Twitpic allows you to speak a thousand words with just one image upload - Twitter Tips provides a great list of the top 7 highly rated but in my opinion, user popularity always wins out. Twitpic is the largest and the most visited and it's my first choice.
2. Tweetdeck Ah yes, the aforementioned application software - I think a lot of people don't get Twitter as they simply 'don't have the time' and, as a working professional, I think a desktop/phone application is essential for those wanting to use Twitter both quickly and whilst there on the move. Tweetdeck is my preference as it allows you to log on as multiple users, create column searches and user groups - but there are other highly credible options such as Digsby, DigiTweet and Twhirl - it's all about preference. Jennifer Van Grove offers a very clear guide to the 19 desktop apps available. Have a read and find the one best suited to you!
3. Tweetbeep Just as Google Alerts allowed us to reign in such a large algorithm that powers the search engine and enables us to track certain words, TweetBeep allows you to place a tracker on words that may be of interest - a great business tool. I use it because I'm able to choose how often I want to recieve the results of my tracked words, it can be as it happens or once a week. A review of alternatives can be found an the Open Parenthesis blog
4. #Hashtags Social media, in my opinion, proves not only how ego-centric we enjoy our lives to be but also our continual facisnation of the lives and thoughts of others. Whilst on Facebook you have to trawl through profiles to get to the goodness on Twitter 140 characters ensure it is laid bare straight aware. Tools such as #Hashtags - have allowed us to see what's happening on Twitter now and enjoy having a giggle at searches such as #firstdraftbandnames
5. StumbleTweets Like the social bookmarking phenomenon Stumble Upon , here we have a Google for Twitter so we can have a look at what's really going on, who's being talked about or just search our name and see if anyone's talking about us! As I'm sure you know, Twitter has its own search engine but, with the sheer mass of people using it, it can't hurt to have an alternative when the server goes down and the fail whale appears.
So there you have my indispensable 5 tools for Twitter - most of which I'm sure a lot of Tweeple already use and with Twitter and the tools it offers multipling everyday - I'm sure it won't be long before I feel the need to share my top 25....


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