The darlings of Twitter

Last year it was Facebook. Today’s shiny new object unquestionably is Twitter.

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 co–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.

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Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Richard Millington

    Twitter, in it’s own way, is like most tools. If you think about how it’s going to help you be more productive, before diving in, there’s a great chance it will make you more productive. If you get caught up in the new and shiny, it’s going to eat into your life.

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