Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Twittering more ways

Update: June 7th - ttytter, MoodBlast, selfreferential, TwitterPark, Feedtweeter , DoesFollow

This was originally posted in April as "Twitter: A Twit Twit here and a Tweet Tweet there..." but has been repeatedly updated. It seemed like a good time to re-issue it. At some point I need to re-structure the information but for now a simple unordered list will have to do.

Twitter was the talk of the recent Web 2.0 Conference. Mashups were using Twitter. One of the liveliest sessions of the conference was the Twitter session addressing "Short Attention Span Theater: The Birth of Microblogging & Micromedia". Questions were being taken from the audience and the internet via Twitter.

The first thing I usually get asked is "What is Twitter?" There are many different definitions. Twitter was developed to answer one simple question: "What are you doing?" My favorite explanation is to describe Twitter as "the worlds virtual water cooler"

Twitter lets you post 140 character messages that are visible to everyone. You can send direct messages to other Twitterers by prefixing a message with d username but this is the exception rather than the rule.

Twitter can send and receive messages via the web, instant messaging clients, cell phone SMS and the Twitter API. By virtue of the simple application design and implementation Twitter has grown an increasingly rich ecosystem around it. New applications and services are springing up on an almost daily basis.

The tools that I use are:

  • twitter.com
  • SMS to 40404
  • IM to twitter on AIM and GTalk
  • Twhirl - an Adobe AIR client application
  • hahlo.com - A gorgeous Twitter site for iPhone users. This is a very nice interface. Currently at version 3 - therefore a very tongue in cheek name.
  • Tweetscan - This runs a nightly analysis using key words you have requested and lists all conversations using those keywords.

There are a growing number of sites and services that add functionality around Twitter. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Quotably - This keeps track of your conversations
  • Tinyurl - there are numerous similar tools that shorten long URLs so they can be added to a twitter message.
  • Twerpscan - This is an evolving service that looks at your Twitter contacts and runs some algorithms to determine who might be a Twitter spammer.
  • TwitterLocal - This will allow you to find other twitterers in your locality
  • Hashtags - A useful way to build a history about a specific term eg. Openid by prefixing a term with a # as in #openid and following @hashtags on Twitter.
  • Twittervision - a compulsive world map mashup showing where people are twittering from. Very compulsive - you have been warned!
  • Steve Marmelstein has compiled a more complete list of 80 applications that rock Twitter.
  • There are so many useful new developments, like twistory, which will update any iCal compliant calendar with twitter history.
  • Twitturly - a service for tracking the URLs people are talking about on Twitter.

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