Last week I wrote about Twitter, why I’m a fan and how I use it. This week I’m going to look at some of the applications I use to improve the Twitter experience and make it easier to use. The Twitter API has generated a vast number of Twitter related applications and these are just a few that I find useful. There are many others I’ve dipped into in the past but these are the ones I’ve found useful enough to stick with.
The simplest way to use Twitter from your PC is via Twitter’s website but this misses out on apps that create a richer user experience via multiple communications media to both read and post to Twitter. My favourite tool for following people on Twitter, reading their posts and posting new tweets is Twhirl. Twhirl runs on your desktop and new posts appear as pop ups for easy reading. Twhirl has a very clear interface and has become my default Twitter app.
When I want to post to multiple social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, Jaiku and others, I usePing.fm. It’s not always appropriate to post the same message to multiple sites but when it is Ping.fm makes the process very simple.
My mobile usage falls into three categories – browser, email and phone. To access Twitter on my Nokia E51 I prefer Slandr to the mobile Twitter site. Twitter’s own mobile site needs a significant update as the functionality is very limited. Slandr offers more Twitter functionality than Twitter’s own mobile site with a simple and clear interface. I have used the Java app Twibble in the past but still prefer Slandr.
TwitterMail gives you a unique email address for posting tweets. Just fire off a quick email from your phone and your tweet appears in your timeline - great for quick tweets from my BlackBerry.
Sometimes it’s fun to post tweets via the phone, particularly when it’s not convenient to use your phone’s browser. I’ve used both TwitterFone and Spinvox here. Once registered, both apps allow you to call an access number, speak your message and have it transcribed into a tweet that appears in your Twitter timeline. TwitterFone has some nice features – a link to listen to the original voice message and the ability to listen to and reply to tweets over the phone.
Recently I discovered TwitterCard. TwitterCard creates a small ‘card’ for your blog or website which shows your Twitter avatar, your last tweet and your location. It’s a handy way to promote your Twitter feed on your blog.
Twitter contains a wealth of data and is a neat way to keep up with feedback and news on different subjects and products. Recently Twitter acquired the Twitter search tool Summize and rebranded it Twitter Search. Twitter Search is great for mining Twitter to find tweets on key subjects. Each set of results for a Twitter search has a unique RSS feed which you can subscribe to for future posts containing the search term. I’ve created a set of feeds for my favourite products and Twitter users.
There’re a lot of links here but these apps give a flavour of the diversity of Twitter. The Twitter world changes fast so do share the Twitter applications you’ve found useful.