Some Things about Twitter

May 17, 2009 at 10:15 am Leave a comment

I know this is extremely belated, but I’m finally sitting down with the notebook where I jotted down a few things from Deanna Zandt and Susan Mernit’s WAM! 2009 session, Rapid Response Journalism: How Social Media Tools Can Enhance Your Work. (Before WAM! even started I gained a ton of new followers, and it turned out to be a response to Susan’s post listing WAM! attendees on Twitter.)

The session turned out to be all about Twitter and very freeform, with our fearless session leaders trying to respond to audience questions and just show us a bunch of cool stuff. Thus, a bunch of cool stuff:

[One note: Susan and Deanna mentioned quite a few mobile applications that I didn’t bother to write down because I’m not an iPhone user. While I think it’s awesome that there are so many fantastic ways to use your iPhone, I also find it a little disturbing that so many people are now assuming that everyone has one. Is it really the default phone for information professionals? They were certainly everywhere at Midwinter, but I’m not convinced. Also, they’re expensive.]

SocialToo – This I haven’t tried out, because I’m not personally interested in social media aggregators, which this seems to be. You enter a screenname, your twitter username, and your email address, and voila–Auto follow, auto filtering, survey creation and daily updates on your entire social network.

Qwitter – [Note: Qwitter never owned the domain name, which actually belongs now to a site called Muggn. The folks who bring you “interesting and funny mugshots” were kind enough to provide a link to the actual Qwitter site.] Qwitter lets you know when you lose followers, and why–they’ll show you the tweet just before a follower jumped ship.

#hashtags – Once functionally, well, defunct, #hashtags is back to showing you the trends, tags, and hashtaggers currently on Twitter–complete with tweets and graphs.

CoTweet – It’s still in private beta, but CoTweet is billing itself as “How business does Twitter,” with an impressive list of brands raging from Starbucks to JetBlue.

BackTweets – Want to know who’s been tweeting a particular link? BackTweets may be your answer. Just plug in a url and you’ll get all the tweets (with usernames) mentioning that link. The really cool part: even if you enter the base url, like, you’ll get results with expanded urls (like particular YouTube videos).

Twitterholic – Similar to a few other stats site, Twitterholic ranks Twitter users by popularity. – I started using as soon as Deanna mentioned it. Aside from being one of the shortest shorteners around, it, unlike tinyurl (according to Deanna–I haven’t actually been able to verify this, though admittedly I haven’t done a ton of digging), doesn’t oppose net neutrality.

And now, a few of my own recommendations:

Tweecious – If, like me, you’re a lazy Delicious user, Tweecious is for you. It automatically saves all the links you tweet to your Delicious account–and tags them! I’ve noticed pretty frequently I get error messages, but it seems to catch up relatively quickly.

Retweetrank – I’m a little obsessed with Retweetrank, but that’s not really a surprise since I’m addicted to my blog stats too. Plug in a username (as long as their updates are public) and you’ll get their rank and approximate percentile. I’ve been trying to break into the top 1000 for a while now, but I’m consistently sitting at 1001. (This is another one that’s sometimes buggy; I currently can’t get my own rank, and sometimes it thinks I don’t have any followers or updates.)

Twitter Grader – [Note: as of this posting, experiencing technical difficulties.] When the site is running, you can found out any (again, public) username’s rank based on follower ratios and the kind and number of updates. The feature I particularly like is the ability to see the “twitter elite” by geographical area.

TrackThis – This is possibly one of the greatest Twitter tools out there. Once you’re following @TrackThis, just send a direct message with the tracking number of any package, whether it’s traveling by UPS, FedEx, US mail or DHL. I can pretty much guarantee you’ll get more detailed (and often more timely) tracking info than from any of those services.


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