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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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

Twingly Predictions for the Realtime Web 2010

With the Realtime Web hitting the mainstream in 2009, the outlook for 2010 couldn’t be more compelling. The realtime web will get more available to the mainstream audience and we will see an explosion of truly realtime conversations where the interaction is more back and forth than today’s semi-broadcast usage patterns. Below are the trends and events we see will shape the realtime web during 2010.

Facebook will continue their path towards becoming a search engine for the realtime web, and their take will include searching within your own social graph. We predict their public search engine will include search options to limit search results mirroring the new privacy settings. Thus allowing users to search within the history of friends, friends of friends or everyone.

Twitter clients like TweetDeck and Seesmic will open up access to their users for plugins from other services. At the same time, other services for the realtime web will implement the Twitter API, creating new usage patterns for existing Twitter clients. There will no longer be any need to build a desktop app from scratch, it will be easier to plug your application into an existing app. Twitter unleashing their firehose will also increase the usability of web apps and Twitter clients. And we will see a new set of services using data mining techniques on the global flow of tweets, while other services will emphasize the hyperlocal.

With the increasing availability and quality of location-based filtering for the realtime web, it will become more and more valuable for individual users to be on the scene of events, to be an eyewitness instead of just repeating reports from others. Photos and video will become an increasingly important part of the reporting, in order for individuals to back up their accounts of what is going on, right now, right there.

The value created by this development will foremost be leveraged by event organizers and publishers covering events and news. Blogs and news outlets will increasingly thrive on people giving attention to the present in real time.

The most promising outlook for 2010 is that in a year from now it will not be only Twitter and Facebook that represent the realtime web towards a larger audience. Realtime search-engines and desktop clients will present a richer echosystem, including photos and videos, geolocationed to allow streams of information to give a clear and, more often than before, a truthful picture of ongoing events.

Image credit:

This is Twingly Channels

The realtime web is overwhelming us with information. Search is not social. RSS is a broken promise. Twingly Channels brings a revolution to these three areas.

A Twingly Channel acts as a social filter on top of feeds and realtime search, allowing you to set up a social memetracker for any topic or event. The underlying idea is that by aggregating feeds and realtime search results into a channel where many people sharing the same interest can discuss and vote on the content (while also providing a filter to solve the prevalent problem of information overflow) we lower the learning curve to the realtime web.

Twingly Channels provides instant user value without the user having to spend time finding the right people to follow. Following topics rather than individuals, you immediately tap into the collective intelligence of a group of people sharing your interests. Or you can create your own channel and invite others to assist you in picking feeds and keywords to monitor.

A Channel consists of two views. While the Incoming view shows the full stream, the Popular view is filtered using attention data from the realtime web and from users posting links, comments and likes.

Here’s a bundle of screenshots showing these examples of these two views (click to enlarge!):

Web 2.0 - Popular_1251724977106 Social media - Incoming_1251721628158

One specific use of Twingly Channels will be to monitor all conversations around a brand, for internal use or to provide a social space for fans of the brand (click to enlarge!).

Spotify - Popular_1251894845154 Spotify - Incoming_1251893782299

Not easily shown in a screenshot is the fact that everything in Twingly Channels is realtime: the incoming stream of new content, user comments and likes and the filtering into the memetracker view. We leverage our existing search engine for blogs and microblogs to bring new results into relevant channels based on the search terms channel owners have defined.

Some coverage on Twingly Channels so far:

Exclusive Screenshots Of Twingly Channels: A Personalized, Real-Time Memetracker

The Next Web:
Twingly Channels could be the FriendFeed beater we’ve been waiting for

UPDATED In German:

Gemeinsam gegen die Informationsüberflutung
Translated: United against the information overload

In Swedish:

Twingly skapar ny mikrobloggtjänst

Ny Teknik:
Smartare sök när användarna hjälps åt
Translated: Smarter search when users help each other

Twingly från Linköping utmanar Google
Translated: Twingly from Linköping challenges Google

Anders Thoresson:
Twingly vill göra RSS-läsaren social
Translated: Twingly wants to make the RSS-reader social

Announcement: Twingly to launch Project Shinobi on October 1st, 2009

We are very excited to announce today that on October 1st, 2009 Twingly is going to launch what will become the next great platform for social media.

project-shinobiThe Realtime Web has claimed the throne as successor of Web 2.0 and the world is blogging and Tweeting and Facebooking to their hearts’ content. Interesting content deserving your attention might be only seconds or minutes old, and yesterday’s news is since long gone.

In social media, newly published content travels to you propelled by it’s own interestingness and quality. People around you find different ways to say “this is interesting!” and the choice of people you listen to decides what news will reach you and when. Often, you ignore what is coming through. But whenever you spend a few minutes on a new piece of information, you have made a decision based on which people you know already have spent time on it and their subsequent reactions. In the realtime web, this process is ever faster, increasing the freshness and quality of news ending up before your eyes.

On October 1st, 2009, Twingly will join the ranks of web services working together to improve your experience of social and traditional media. With Project Shinobi, we are aiming to provide a more social, more relevant and more realtime experience, integrating with the services you already use. Not only for people that are early adopters of social media, but accessible and immediately valuable for anyone.

Project Shinobi is underway. Stay tuned.

Twingly launching out of Beta with new widgets for bloggers

All systems nominal. We are go for launch!

This morning, Twingly is live to the public audience. I’m proud and awed by the effort put down by our team up to this point, as well as a good darn grateful to all the beta testers that have provided feedback during the beta period. More than 3500 people have participated.

Twingly.com now covers over 30 million blogs all over the world but we focus on being number one in Europe, both regarding spam control and working with several different languages.

Since we are going public we are finally able to make our widget platform available for bloggers. You can create a widget out of any search result or pick one from the new blog profile page, see for example the profile for Engadget. You access the profile page trough the search result or by hacking the url. Find the widgets from your own blog or use a widget for another blog if you like. You can actually hack any search query into the widget, which is truly powerful.

But this is only the beginning as we’ll make more and more kinds of widgets available. So please participate in working out the Tech plan!

BTW, there is some functionality that is only provided to registered users, but the registration is completely painless and instantaneous. More specifically:

– Participating in the Tech plan
– Voting up posts in the search result (liking posts)
– Sending feedback (so you wont have to enter your contact details every time)

The user registration will be the basis of a lot of things to come, claiming your blog will allow you to control how it is presented on Twingly. Please note that using the widgets does not require any kind of registration!

Key functionality on Twingly.com:

– Spam free search
– Social search. The users enhance the search results by voting on posts they like. Bloggers enhance the search results by linking to posts they like
– Subscribe to search results by RSS and alerts via email
– Language functionality: Translation of search results and filtering based on language
– Twingly widget platform. Parts of Twingly.com can be incorporated into blogs
– Hot Right Now. Overview on hot topics in the blogosphere
– User directed development through a tech plan open for voting.

All in all, thanks to all that have participated in the great effort leading up to this point.

Now, lets get to work with the next big thing in blog search.

We’re launching Twingly.com in private beta

Today we launch a next-generation blog search engine at Twingly.com. Participate in the invite-only beta by getting invited or signing up at beta.twingly.com. So what’s cool with the new Twingly.com?

Spam free, social search
Twingly takes a zero-spam approach to blog search using an algorithmically expanding white list instead of the traditional blacklist. Powerful moderation tools allows us to win the fight against spam by one-click removal of clusters of tens of thousands of spam blogs. Fat tail manual moderation yields quality input to long tail algorithmic filtering.

Social search features allows users to share quality content with each other and the community as a whole.

Powerful search language and tech plan Digg

Twingly provides the world’s most powerful search language for blogs, where search filters can be combined in new ways.

But we’re not done by far! Participate in voting on our tech plan by signing up for the beta. JSON api? OPML import or APML export? Help us decide what’s next!

Techcrunch post is here and Techcrunch UK here.

Mobile search must be social

Mobile internet in cellphone’s growing but there’s still no search engine that yet have been really successful, mobile search need something more then a clean search box. The answer that will revolutionize how the search experience both feels mobile, easy and useful is – social interaction.

Altsearchengines.com wrote today about the mobile search engine Taptu that’s trying to do their search social and their CEO explain in a very good way why they’re an alternative to Google that we should count in.

Google’s position seems untouchable when it comes to desktop search, but challenging the giant on the mobile phone might work. Ives explains why: “Services like Google were born on the desktop and then moved later to mobile. When moving the service to mobile, something gets lost in the translation. A desktop user will use search 5 times a day or more, but a mobile user that discovers Google Mobile or Yahoo OneSearch typically only searches once every 5 to 7 days. We believe that to get people to use mobile search 5 times a day or more – in other words, to make mobile search a mass market service rather than a niche service – then you have to give it a social context. Mobiles are supersocial devices, so if your service isn’t relevant to you in a social way it won’t get used that often.”