My Twitter Environment aka Twitter Tools I Use

Going through the never ending process of hearing about or searching for and then evaluating new Twitter tools,  I felt that this was as good a time as any to put forth a snapshot of which tools I currently use and how I use them.

There is one huge caveat and problem with all of these services with how they score original style (RT) vs new style retweets.  New style retweets seem to be easier to measure and track via the Twitter API while old style retweets seem to not be tracked as well or if at all.  From my own experiences with these services, specifically Klout, Tap11, Twitalyzer (Jeff Katz, Product Lead @Twitalyzer set me straight on their service & RT monitoring), Tweet reach, et al, I have found that they usually miss old style retweets.  This is really unfortunate because I loathe the new style retweet because I can’t add my $0.02 to it, and I suspect I’m not alone.

So, in no particular order, I have broken the tools into these categories: Ranking/Influence, Metrics, Maintenance, Tracking, Search, Backup, Reading/Posting and Photos.

Ranking/Influence:
Influence is a helpful way of gauging your and others’ reach and impact.  Each of these services have different approaches and use different criteria, so scores will vary from service to service.  Also, you may find anomalies in one service’s score for a period of time (see Klout below).  Both of these reasons are why I use several services to come up with a more meaningful overall number.  

I have always liked Klout for putting forth their Klout Score.  That said, recently my Klout score dropped in half even though I added 15% more followers, doubled the lists I am in, had a significant number of conversations and retweets.  Not sure if it’s problems on their end or due to inconsistent Twitter API fun.
UPDATE: I have heard back from the Klout team and they looked into the problem and it was in fact caused by the Twitter API problems of the last month or so.

This is an adaptation of Google’s PageRank and measures inbound and outbound attention.  A much better description is available at: http://thenoisychannel.com/2009/01/13/a-twitter-analog-to-pagerank/

This is put forth by the data junkies at Infochimps and is their take on porting Google’s PageRank to Twitter.  A good explanation of their approach is at: http://trst.me/about

This measures reach and exposure for your Twitter identity by calculating how many people your tweets actually got through to.

Metrics:
I first heard of them at Chirp and really loved their approach to visualizing your Twitter analytics.  I also really like their keyword tracking and performance tools.  They were in beta until recently but are now pay only with the base tier costing $49 a month.

This is a nice tool for visualizing your follower growth.  They also have a great widget and follower button which you can embed on your website or blog.

This has many influencer metrics: impact score, influence type, scores for a variety of indicators, and some recommendations on improving your 

This service will analyze your twitter stream and tell you whether you tweet more or less, by percentage, than the average user on 21 different categories including: Sex, Learning, Media, Time, Emotions, Senses, Work, Constructive, Primordial, Thinking, Control, Negative, Conceptual, Numbers, Anxiety, Self Reference, Present, Social, Future, Leisure, Money.  They also provide you with “People Who Think Like You”.  I need to check that feature out a bit more.

Maintenance:
With this service you can identify users that do not follow you back.  Once you login, you’re presented with all the users you follow who don’t follow you back.  You can then unfollow any combination of users.  This has been really helpful to me as I am currently butting up against the 2001 follow limit.

Tracking:
Follow Mr. Unfollowr and he will DM you with the identities of people who have unfollowed you.  They usually send the DM approximately once a week. This is very useful in dealing with the Twitter trolls who follow you to get you to follow them back and then promptly unfollow you.  That is simply not cool and I am happy to reciprocate.

Another unfollower alerting tool that sends a daily email.

Follow listwatcher and they will DM you when people add or remove you from public lists.  Again, this is helpful in monitoring your brand and engagement levels.

Another follower tracking tool which when followed, DMs you stats about your net gain/loss.

Search:
Naturally the most complete search available but I found it to be inconsistent but it is getting better

Icerocket Twitter Search http://www.icerocket.com/?tab=twitter
Another take on Twitter search.

Real time search results bundled into trending topics.

Backup:
A free service that backs up your tweets and makes them available for export in HTML, JSON and XML formats

This is wonderful bookmarking alternative to Delicious which can optionally import all of your Tweets and make them searchable.

Reading/Posting:
This is my OSX app of choice for so many reasons – too many so I’ll just enumerate a few here: it has a minimized view; I can quicklook photos; it actively tracks read/unread tweets for the main timeline and lists; it has a tab view; I can create custom filters based on strings or even grep to ignore annoying trends; it color codes my timeline based on conversation and sender/replies; it shows me in realtime whether the follow status is mutual; there is a drawer with all of a person’s info; and so on.  It really is a swiss army knife.  It does have one point of failure though, it doesn’t allow one to schedule tweets.

Osfoora [iPhone, iPad] http://www.osfoora.com/
By far and away my favorite client for both the iPhone and iPad.  It has a great UX and provides easy access to everything you’d expect and need: list and drafts access; read/unread tracking; multiple image, video, link shortening services; instapaper integration; textexpander integration; autocompletion of user names and hash tags for tweeting and search; google map integration for showing nearby tweets; full contacts list and views.

This Adobe AIR app supports posting from a Brand, ie. it shows you how to create a Twitter app and then post from that app.  In other words, you know when you look at a tweet and it says “sent via web” or API or Hootsuite?  Well, with MarketMeTweet you can set it up so it can say “sent via Whatever_You_Want”.  Pretty cool for brands.

I first saw them at the ReadWriteWeb NYC Summit and was really taken by their approach of attempting to calculate the optimum time to publish a tweet.  Amid all the noise, it really is about timing your tweets so that you reach the maximum number of people.  I suspect I will be using this quite a bit once I get my invite code (hint).

Hootsuite / Cotweet  http://hootsuite.com / http://cotweet.com 
For team based workflows, with scheduling and approval processes, these are the two tools I go to and recommend.

I occasionally use this when I need to get past the 140 character limit but I really try not to as it breaks many of the systems I have in place, makes users click to read, and no doubt adversely impacts tracking and metrics.

Photos:
Flickr offers up a simple way of posting to your Flickr stream and cross-posting to Twitter via email.  I can’t remember if it requires a Flickr Pro account or not but it’s super simple to set up.

A great way to quickly get photos up and into the Twitter ecosystem.  I use this occasionally when I don’t want a photo to pollute my Flickr stream

The dead simple email to blog service have an iPhone app which allows you to take and collect photos on your iPhone and assemble them into a collection, and then upload them to your posterous blog.  Very cool.

I hope these help and I don’t doubt they will update over time.  Follow me on Twitter, drop me a message/@reply or DM me with feedback or other services that I missed.

Comments

  1. says

    Thank goodness you're doing this… gawd knows I don't have THAT much patience to investigate this deeply, myself. Thanks for the tips!

    I'm curious as to why Social Oomph is not on this list, though I wouldn't be surprised if it was due, at least in part, to the unattractive and somewhat cumbersome UX.

    Cheers

  2. says

    My pleasure on hopefully helping you (and others) through the Twitter wilderness.

    As for Social Oomph, it wasn't on my radar. I knew it as TweetLater but haven't tried it since its rebirth. I'll have to give it a whirl and see if it makes it into my workflow.

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