How did we ever live without twitter? 140 characters answering the simple question: what are you doing? Who ever thought it would grow up so fast and cause so much trouble. But as we all know, twittering too much and too often is dangerous, and a little compulsive.
We all need to twitter responsibly. Say the wrong thing to the wrong audience at the wrong time, and you can really come unstuck – Habitat is a great recent example of how not to use the hash tag.
So you want to get your habit under control? Fear not, there are plenty of tools out there that can help.
This is a short review of 4 of the tools we have been using to twitter our lives away.
The original, the place where it all started. Thanks to Biz Stone and his friends the wonderful invention of micro-blogging was born. The main website has all the things you need, including trending topics (or was it #tendingtropics) all in one place. You can easily control your account and privacy settings, block followers, search for topics that interest you and happily watch the world go by, or at least the main time line anyway. Get back to the source, and rediscover what twitter is all about.
Billed as “the social media client”, twhirl and its big brother seesmic take twitter to your desktop. It’s a desktop application built on the Adobe Air platform (think standalone applications built using Flash). It can handle multiple twitter accounts, each one having its own small window. This neatly separates home from work, but can get a little cluttered. Twhirl also supports URL shortening and can post images using TwitPic. We use it, but have so many applications already, this is one activity we are happy to keep online.
This is like twhirl on steroids. It’s another Adobe Air desktop application, but this time, it attempts to bring all your twitter accounts under one roof. You can neatly separate out tweets, dm’s, replies etc, and the interface is very customisable. We like the ambition, but find it just too confusing. Tweetdeck is still in beta (it may have some bugs) but heh, what’s there to lose? It supports direct image posting, local trending and also has a full backup (twitter doesn’t do that) We mark it very promising, and it’s also available for the iPhone – as every self-respecting web 2.0 application should be.
Now this is a late entrant, and a very good one at that. It’s a web-based service, can handle multiple twitter accounts, and wonderfully, supports scheduling. No more time wasting in the office, you can line all your tweets up for the day/week/month and they will be sent on time – very handy. It supports URL shortening, and crucially, any URL’s it shortens are trackable (for click-throughs) so you can see how popular your tweets have been – analytics for twitter – nice. It also has a little owl for a logo, which is kind of cute.
Please add your twitter tips and favourite apps – let us know how you’re using twitter, or if you’re not, and why.
One thing is certain, twitter isn’t standing still, so watch this space.