If you haven’t heard of Twitter (it’s now just about in the mainstream), it’s simple to describe:
Twitter is a service for friends, family, and coâ€“workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?
What I find most interesting, though, isn’t so much Twitter itself. Rather, it’s the amazing number of third-party applications coming out that you use to make Twitter a more effective or useful tool, both in how you use it yourself and in how you pay attention to and engage with your community aka followers.
To get an idea, just take a look at the Twitter Fan Wiki which indexes an ever-growing list (now close to 200) of desktop apps, web apps, badges, search engines, alerts, polls, you name it, it’s there.
This is a wonderful testament to open source where, if you have an idea to develop a little program or service that hooks into Twitter, just grab the API and you’re off. There’s really nothing to stop you.
Everyone has their favourites, but the darlings of Twitter that I like – and, based on what people in my community are using or raving about, many others like as well – include these three:
- Twhirl, a program you run on your computer that not only brings you everyone’s tweets but also their direct messages. Plus much more. It’s developed on Adobe’s new AIR platform so it runs on Windows, Mac and Linux computers.
- Twibble, for me the best way to interact with Twitter on my Nokia N95 8GB phone. There’s also a desktop program (also built on Adobe AIR) but, for me, nothing beats Twhirl.
- Twitter search with FeedDemon, a plugin for the RSS reader that lets me set up keyword searches in Twitter tweets via TweetScan and subscribe to them as RSS feeds which I get in FeedDemon. Very useful.
These three barely scratch the surface. What are your Twitter darlings?
Aside: A discussion topic in today’s edition of the FIR podcast will be how individuals and companies are using Twitter and other tools like FriendFeed, and AlertThingy which burst on the scene just yesterday.