8 essential tools for enhancing and improving your Twitter experience

There are tens of thousands of applications for enhancing and improving the Twitter experience. But the tricky part is to find them, since Twitter does not offer an app store. App discovery is definitely one of Twitter’s Achilles heels. To make it easier for you, here is a selection of 8 browser applications everyone who is using Twitter, both for private or professional purpose, might enjoy. These are – apart from Twitter clients that we don’t focus on in this post – pretty essential tools that help you to use Twitter in a more efficient, effective and fun way.

Feel free to let us know in the comments which Twitter apps you wouldn’t want to live without.

Snap Bird
Snap Bird is an incredibly useful Twitter search engine. Yes, Twitter has its own search, but for some reason it doesn’t let you search through tweets that are older than a week or so. This is where Snap Bird has its strength: It let’s you search through the complete Twitter timeline of any Twitter user, either yourself or others. Furthermore you can search through all the tweets that were directed to you, through all the direct messages you sent and those you received. For each search you make you get a permanent link in case you want to show the results to somebody else. Snap Bird is a great tool, especially for those people who use Twitter to “bookmark” their thoughts and links, and who want to find that specific URL they posted on Twitter in summer 2009.

ManageFlitter
Formerly known as ManageTwitter, this tool is your ultimate follower manager for Twitter. After connecting to your personal account, you can use ManageFlitter to get a list of the people you follow based on a bunch of different criteria. You can see at a glance who of those people is not following you back, doesn’t have a profile picture, hasn’t tweeted for a long time, has a posting frequency far higher than the average or is unusually quiet. And for all those criteria, the service allows for bulk or selective unfollowing. You could either choose to unfollow everyone who does not follow you back, or just a few of them, for example.

Bettween
Even if that’s not recommended, sometimes two people have some kind of longer conversation on Twitter, packaged in a couple of 140 character tweets. That might be boring for you, or it might be a really interesting exchange of thoughts. If the latter is the case, you maybe would want to show the discussion in your blog and comment on it, or you are one of the two people involved in the Twitter conversation and would like to publish it somewhere else. Bettween helps you with that. You just enter the names of the two Twitter users and Bettween presents you with a threaded view of the conversation including a permanent link. You could also create a screenshot of the conversation to embed it on an external site.

Trendrr
If you are working in the media, marketing or web business, chances are good that you are interested in statistics surrounding specific keywords on Twitter. Trendrr is a great free service for this purpose. You enter a keyword and Trendrr then gives you a variety of graphs and analytics regarding the keyword, for example the number of tweets containing the word over a specific time period. Trendrr also tracks other platforms like Facebook, Last.fm and Delicious. Every search is visualized and offered as widget to embed on any external site. Really useful!

Klout
It’s not a secret that people on Twitter like to compare themselves to other users, to see how much influence they have, how many people they reach with their tweets and so on. Most Twitter users are vain. Klout helps them to live that out. After you have entered a Twitter username, the service does some algorithm and analytics magic and shows you some figures and statistics about the influence of that respective user. The main figure is the “Klout Score”, a measurement of an user’s overall online influence on Twitter. Of course, this is nothing that you can go around and tell everyone, since no one really knows how relevant the Klout Score in the end actually is. But for all users active on Twitter it could be interesting to see how much influence Klout thinks they actually have, and how they compare to their peers.

TweetStats
You want to know if you used Twitter more heavily half a year ago? Or which day of the week you publish most tweets? Or what time of the day you are most likely not to tweet? Then you should check out TweetStats, because this tool tells you all this, and even a little bit more, visualized in useful and easy to understand graphs. It’s a lot of fun and might tell you some surprising background about your personal Twitter behaviour.

Twingly Live
At Twingly we are very humble, which is why we mention our own Twingly Live service only in the end of this list. Imagine there is some specific event or keyword you would like to monitor and to see what people are saying about it on Twitter. But you don’t want to refresh the Twitter search all the time, you want to see the results in real time, AND you want to embed this as a widget into any blog or website. Twingly Live let’s you do exactly this. Click here, create your Twingly Live channel for a specific keyword or hashtag, and you are set. It’s really easy.

Google Reader (or any other RSS feed)
You are probably wondering how Google Reader (or any other RSS reader you are using) has made it onto this list. Yes, it is no real Twitter tool. And still, any RSS reader can help you to improve your Twitter experience and to help you monitor what’s being said on Twitter. It’s easy and very efficient: Go the the Twitter search and enter your Twitter username. On the result page, get the RSS feed URL and subscribe to it in Google Reader. For some reason, most Twitter clients don’t show you all the replies and retweets you are getting. Why is unclear, but a useful work around is to subscribe to the feed with your username in Google Reader or other RSS readers. By doing that you will get all the @replies and retweets for your username, and you can be sure to not miss anything anymore. Of course you can subscribe to any other keyword or phrase you would like to monitor in the RSS reader of your choice.

/Martin Weigert

8 thoughts on “8 essential tools for enhancing and improving your Twitter experience

  1. Mark Evans May 25, 2010 / 21:07

    Another tool to jump-start your Twitter efforts is our Heartbeat social media monitoring service, which lets users explore Twitter by region, demographics, sentiment and influencers. More information about Heartbeat (and a video) can be found here: http://sysomos.com/products/overview/heartbeat

    cheers, Mark

    Mark Evans
    Director of Communications
    Sysomos Inc.

  2. Jan S. May 27, 2010 / 10:27

    saving twitter search queries via rss is a good idea! thx!

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