The Most Popular Twitter Clients According to the Blogosphere – Reloaded!

Two years ago the US tech blog ReadWriteWeb published our analysis of the most popular Twitter apps according to the blogosphere. Since then, Twitter has grown, some apps have disappeared, others have evolved. We think it is time to have a closer look again.

Using data from our blog search engine we decided to find out which Twitter clients are getting the most buzz on blogs. The result is a list of the most popular 3rd-party Twitter-apps according to the blogosphere, based on blog mentions between April and June this year.

Since we did not want to compare apples with oranges, we thought it would the best to ignore all those apps that can connect and publish to Twitter, but that are not real, fully functional Twitter clients for reading and writing to the microblogging service. That’s why the following list does not include location based services, Blog platforms or photo/video sites capable of accessing Twitter. Instead, we are focusing on feature-rich Twitter clients, because this is where you have to choose from when using Twitter in a serious way.

Top 5 Overall

Tweetdeck
HootSuite
Seesmic
Echofon
Twitterrific

In 2008, the ranking looked totally different. Only one of the Twitter apps creating the most buzz in the blogosphere back then is still part of the 2010 edition: Twitterrific, rank 4 in 2008, rank 5 today. The others got either abandoned (like Terraminds micro search), let alone by the developer after being acquired (like twhirl), or do not qualify anymore since they are no fully equipped Twitter clients – in 2008, we included other services like photo sites or search engines for Twitter as well, since unlike today, at that time not every Social Web platform had a Twitter integration.

Top 5 Desktop Clients

Tweetdeck
Seesmic
Twitterrific
Gwibber
Digsby

Same here as in the Top 5 Overall list – only Twitterrific (Mac only) is still going strong, but fell one position (from 2 to 3). The other 4 most popular apps from 2008 – thwirl, Snitter, Tweetr (now an iPhone app) and Twitteroo – do still exist, but apparently lost the blogosphere’s attention, which now has other darlings.

Top 5 Web Clients

HootSuite
Seesmic
Brizzly
CoTweet
sobees

None of the top apps from 2008 is still in this year’s list. Back then we actually didn’t have a single fully functional Browser client included, simply because they didn’t exist yet. Instead, photosite mobypicture, blog-to-Twitter service twitterfeed, the 2 Twitter search engines Terraminds (abandoned) and Summize (acquired by Twitter) and the Twitter keyword aggregator twistori made it into the Top 5 in 2008.

Top 10 Mobile Clients

Tweetdeck
Seesmic
Echofon
Twitterrific
ÜberTwitter
twidroyd (aka twidroid)
Snaptu
Twittelator
Osfoora
Gravity

In 2008 it was pretty difficult to find a decent mobile app for Twitter, and our analysis showed that there were fewer blog posts written about mobile Twitter apps in relation to other categories. Fast forward to 2010 and things are completely different. There are many great mobile clients for different platforms available, which is why we decided to extend this year’s list to Top 10. Just for the sake of completeness, the most buzzed about mobile apps in 2008 were Hahlo, Cetwit, Twitter Answers, Twapper and Twittai.

Notes and Methodology
We used this and this list of Twitter apps as a basis and we analyzed all mentions in blogs across the world from April 1 to June 30. In some cases the number of valid mentions was smaller than the one we found, simply because of backlinks created by some apps that published from Twitter to blogs, like “via App XYZ”.

Also, some of the apps are available for several platforms, like Seesmic which you can use in the browser, on your desktop and on different mobile platforms. Since it was not always possible to conclude to which version of Seesmic a mention referred to, we can only give you the overall picture of how popular Seesmic is across all platforms. Please also note that a mention not necessarily is a measure for quality, and that sudden spikes in the number of mentions could be caused by major news, like the acquisition of a service.

So while our list is not the one and only, definite way of ranking Twitter clients, it illustrates which of the 3rd party apps for Twitter are creating the most buzz in the blogosphere. And as a sidenote we can assure you that all clients in the list are actually pretty good and worth trying. So in the end, the blogsphere seems to be good judge.

/Martin Weigert

8 use cases for the realtime web

We recently wrote about how the realtime web will change the world. And even though we gave some examples of use cases, there are many more scenarios when people will benefit from the realtime web. So here is a certainly not complete list of use cases for the realtime web. Feel free to add more in the comments section.

1. Breaking news and background for media outlets
If something happens today somewhere on planet earth, it is often reported on Twitter first. Usually much earlier than newspapers and TV stations get to know about it. On the other hand, this information from alleged eye witnesses is not always completely reliable, and in general rather incomplete. So the realtime web is not replacing traditional news media, but it is helping them to gather first-hand information and to get a clue about which story could be worth reporting on.

2. Spreading important information
There might be situations when it could be necessary for governments, companies, organizations or citizens to spread a specific information quickly to a huge group of people (within a specific area or country) – just think about Chernobyl or the tsunami in Southeast Asia. The realtime web is the definite tool to make really important news spread like a virus, and that actually could save lives.

3. Organizing events
With the realtime web, people can organize themselves, arranging flash-mobs, spontaneous parties or demonstrations. Apart from the fun factor involved here, this can be a big advantage for non-democratic countries and those parts of the world without freedom of speech. As we have witnessed during the Iranian protests, the realtime web helped citizens to be a step ahead of the authorities and to steer a huge crowd of people.

4. Collective intelligence
The real time web allows for tapping into the collective brain of millions of users. It’s not uncommon on Twitter or Facebook that people ask their contacts/followers public questions about a good restaurant, mobile phone or museum. Or simply about something where they didn’t find the answer on Google. Thanks to the realtime web, there are always people out there listening, and the required information is never far away.

5. Crime prevention
Sometimes people on Twitter re-tweet announcements from either citizens or the police, searching for witnesses of a specific crime. The realtime web helps to spread this information, since it is not part of most user’s daily routine to check the press releases of their local police station.

Of course, the realtime web can also support getting eye witness reports on crimes that have been committed just a few minutes ago, so that people in the vicinity can both be especially careful but also pay attention to suspects. The final result of this could be a higher risk for criminals to get caught, which might prevent a few from actually committing a crime in the first place.

6. Market transparency
Go to Twingly Microblog search, enter the name of any product, and you get an list of people’s opinion about it. Customers use the tools of the realtime web to say what they think about brands and services. The results might not be sophisticated reviews like on specific websites made for product reviews, but aggregated and analysed based on technologies for sentiment analysis, the results can be very helpful for other’s and at least an additional source of information right before a planned purchase. Under the assumption that there are the right tools for extracting the relevant feedback from the stream of status updates, the realtime web can increase the transparency of markets.

7. Find people based on their locations
You can find users from a specific country or city by searching on a Social Network. But that doesn’t guarantee you that they are there right now. And it doesn’t tell you if they have been at a specific location in their city. With the upcoming combination of realtime elements and location features – that even Twitter is taking seriously now – it will be pretty easy to connect with people being at any given location anywhere in the world. So if you are interested in the tweets of someone who is in South Africa following the World Cup, that wouldn’t be a problem anymore. This will even come handy for journalists looking for somebody at the scene of an event to interview.

8. “Social” media
Everyone is speaking about “Social Media” referring to a million different things and tools, but in this specific context, what we mean is that the realtime web makes existing media and media channels become a social experience. Have you ever been on Twitter when there was a big sports event on TV (hard to avoid these worldcup days), or the final show of a popular music television for example? The realtime web enables viewers to comment with their smartphones or notebooks on what they are watching , to share their opinion with other’s and to make the watching experience become social, even though they are sitting in their homes many miles away from each other. With the soon to be launched Google TV project, this type of social media might become a really widespread phenomenon.

To see this in action, you can use Twingly Live to follow the hashtag or keyword of your favourite show, to get a realtime stream of Twitter updates from other viewers.

/Martin Weigert

Illustration: stock.xchng


How to use Twitter without reading about football

Some weeks ago we wrote about 8 essential Twitter tools to enhance and improve your Twitter experience. On Twitter, I just stumbled upon a nice little browser app that we didn’t mention back then, but that could be very interesting for all those of you who really can’t get used to the fact that your Twitter timeline is dominated by football enthusiasts these days – which is very likely the case for most of you.

Fortunately, there is a site called GTFO of My Twitter Feed. You probably can guess what the first four letters stand for. This free service let’s you choose one or several keywords, hashtags, usernames or even webservices which you don’t want to see mentioned anymore in your the stream of people you are following.

By using GTFO OMTF, you can temporally mute those tweets in your timeline that annoy you, like the ones with the hashtag #worldcup, without the need of unfollowing specific users. That could be smart since the worldcup ends on July 11th, and after that, even those notorious worldcup addicts (I might be one of them!) will get back to their usual Twitter business.

For benefiting from GTFO OMTF you have to use their no frills Twitter interface instead of the Twitter client of your choice. If you prefer a Twitter browser client, you could have a look at TweetDeck instead, which also does include features for removing specific words from your stream.

/Martin Weigert

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

The evolution of social networks

Social networks have been around for about 10 years. Yes, there were communities, forums and chat services before, but that’s not what people have in mind when they speak about social networks.

If you follow the evolution of network sites and the progress that today’s big players like Facebook, Google or Twitter are making, you can clearly see three different phases that the social networking world went through until today.

Let’s have a closer look at those three evolutionary steps of social networks:

Step 1: Walled Gardens
This first evolutionary step lasted pretty long, let’s say from the beginning of the new century until 2006/2007. In this phase many services evolved and started to woo users. It was during this period that many of the social sites appeared that later became huge, like Friendster (started in 2002), MySpace (started in 2003), Netlog (started in 2003), Hi5 (started in 2003) or Bebo (started in 2005). Even Facebook was founded during that first period, though it was open only to students of Harvard University students in the beginning.

The first evolutionary step was characterized by so called “Walled Gardens”, that means destinations which were totally separated from the outside web, with no interaction between the service and external websites. The competing sites aimed at getting as many registered users as possible to reach a critical mass. That was important to leverage “network effects”, which are necessary to reach exponential growth.

Even here in Sweden, a bunch of social networks launched during this first period which actually was initiated earlier than in most other countries. One reason for that was that Internet access became common in Sweden very early. Sites like LunarStorm or Playahead launched under different names already during the late 90s and became huge gathering places for mainly young Swedes around the turn of the millennium. Another big Swedish community, Bilddagboken, started a bit later, in 2004.

Step 2: Platforms
In May 2007 Facebook presented its developer platform. The social network which at that time had about 25 million users encouraged external services to become part of Facebook by launching applications within the platform. This led to something like a “gold rush” since each and every web service wanted to be present on Facebook.

The launch of the Facebook platform can be seen as the beginning of the second evolutionary step of social networks. Now every relevant site wanted to become a platform and to open up to external developers. That doesn’t mean that Walled Gardens had become history. No, they still existed, but at least they made it easier than before for others to leverage the user’s social graph. Thanks to an increasing number of API’s, it was even possible to export some of the content posted within a social network, like status updates which you c0uld access through external tools.

During this phase, every big player tried to open up and to embrace developers. Google launched its own platform initiative called OpenSocial, which aimed at standardizing applications so that a developer could push the same app into several participating social networks.

In 2006, there was a late comer to the social networking party: Twitter. Certainly you can argue if Twitter actually is a social network, and there obviously are some differences between Twitter and the rest of the sites mentioned in this article. But I don’t think the service should be absent from this analysis anyway.

Unlike most other sites which needed at least a few years to evolve into platforms, Twitter made this step almost instantly, in fall 2006. In fact even earlier than Facebook. As of that moment, developers were able to connect to the Twitter API and to create apps using the company’s infrastructure. Unlike Facebook, MySpace and other sites, Twitter’s approach was to provide only basic functionality and to let external apps do the rest – a strategy that seems to change a bit considering the recent acquisition of the popular iPhone app Tweetie and the launch of official apps for BlackBerry and Android.

While Swedish social networks were among the first ever, they struggled in competing with the increasingly popular and advanced international sites, losing their users to cooler, more international services, primarily to Facebook. LunarStorm has lost many of its active users, as well as Playahead that was closed down a few weeks ago. Still remaining on the Swedish market and pretty successful is Bilddagboken, which focuses on photos as its differentiation point. Bilddagboken is owned by the same company as LunarStorm.

Step 3: Embracing the web
The third evolutionary step is one that only a few dominating players were able to make. And it’s progressing at full speed right in front of our eyes. While the second phase was characterized by platforms on top of destinations that tried to appeal to as many external developers as possible, now the social networks want to encourage other websites to become a part of the platform outside of the networks own destination.

Again it was Facebook which initiated the third phase by launching Facebook Connect in late 2008. Facebook Connect made it possible for external sites to add basic Facebook features so that visitors could carry their Facebook social graph and Facebook identity around even when they were not on facebook.com.

Google’s answer was “Google Friend Connect“, which did more or less the same thing, but with the main difference that Google haven’t had the same success with the whole social networking thing. Still, thanks to Gmail and Google Talk, many people have lots of Google contacts, so it nevertheless fulfilled some people’s needs.

Another approach of several social networks with Google involved is XAuth, which also aims at giving users the option to log in to external websites with their identity of participating social networks.

Even Twitter is working on becoming more present around the web with its @anywhere platform. The new feature provides website owners with easier tools to integrate Twitter streams and Twitter functionality into their sites.

Conclusion
The third evolutionary step of social networks would not have been possible if those services wouldn’t have become a mass phenomenon, gathering hundreds of millions of people, making it almost impossible for content sites and other destinations not to connect with this audience. That’s the reason why they are now willing to integrate the social network’s features and to help it gather information about user behaviour and preferences on “foreign territory” – something that especially in the case of Facebook recently has led to a lot of criticism among open web advocates, Internet journalists and bloggers who see the risk that Facebook is pushing the boundaries too far. A conflict between the user’s and the social network’s interest is coming up and right now it’s impossible to anticipate how it will be solved.

(Foto: stock.xchng)

/Martin Weigert

Twingly Live at “Uppdrag granskning” on Swedish Television tonight

Swedish media continues to go realtime. Tonight Swedish public service-broadcaster SVT will use Twingly Live for their show “Uppdrag Granskning”. Twingly Live connects the show to the discussion about it on the real-time web. And for the first time, the Live feed will be fully displayed at the SVT website and in connection to the live broadcasting of the show on the web.

“Step by step we are upgrading SVT.se to a 2.0-platform where we can get feedback, comments and answer questions from viewers during live broadcasts. Twitter is an excellent tool for that kind of realtime conversations”, says Axel Humlesjö, Swedish Television. You can follow him on Twitter as @axelhumlesjo.

Tonight’s show investigates how illegally caught African fish is being extracted to omega 3 oil intended for the European market. Sounds like something for you to tweet about? Use the hashtag #granskning or #uppdraggranskning to get into the Twingly Live feed.

Find the live broadcast and Twingly Live linked from Uppdrag Granskning tonight at 20.00.

BBC is the latest addition to cover the real time web with Twingly

The British broadcaster BBC is the latest addition of media companies that track real time social media with the help of Twingly. Together with Yahoo and Nielsen, Twingly provides BBC with data for a prototype of their new service, Shownar that launched today at www.shownar.com.

By helping more than 100 customers with their relation to social media, Twingly has become one of the greatest players in offering real time information in Europe. This is once again proven through the co-operation with BBC and Shownar.

Shownar monitors activity around BBC programmes on the web, and works out which are gaining the most attention. It highlights those gems in the schedules that others have not only watched, but are talking about, and then points you in the direction of those discussions on the web. Twingly provides data from Twitter-like services to help monitor these discussions. You can read more about Shownar at the BBC Internet blog.

With BBC being such a progressive force online, it is great for Twingly to be a part of the frontline for their new services. We are excited to see if Shownar can lead the way in taking the pulse on realtime discussions about TV-programmes.

Are we heading towards a new standard in customer relations?

We are heading towards something that might be a new standard in customer relations online. The old fashion way to communicate with companies let’s say if you have a suggestion is to look up the website, find a form to fill in, a number to call or an e-mail address to send your opinion to. Most likely knowing that you will not get any response.

The new standard could be to just tweet: “I would have bought a Canon EOS 40D if they were available in dark red instead of black only”. With Canon instantly replying “@bill_the_photographer Thanks a lot for your suggestion, it is passed on to product development. Phil, Canon.

Twingly response on TwitterJust by including the brand name Canon in the tweet, Canon should be notified of your request and respond instantly. Note that you as a customer should not need to keep track of the company’s user name, because it is much more in the company’s interest to keep track of their brand.

This will also help some part of current customer relation easier due to the limitation in length of the communication. Since the customer only has a limited number of letters to use, he also expects a response in the same short manner. Even though the communication at this level might be brief it will increase the companies’ goodwill and the companies that are not listening to this communication will eventually lack behind.

It is very easy for a company to set up this monitoring. Just go to the Twingly Microblog Search and do a search that is relevant for you, and add the result to your rss (to the right, “Subscribe to RSS”). Then you will get the entries in your regular rss-feed and can respond accordingly. By using the Twingly Microblog Search you can monitor all major microblog platforms.

With the massive number of posts featuring major brands it is of course difficult to keep track and follow up on everything. New services will be vital for larger brands to sort out and manage information. First they need to get posts with their brand sorted our correctly to be as relevant as possible.

Then they need to get them prioritized by monitoring the number of followers the user has, or the number of followers the user’s followers have, to track the user’s influence to also include the importance of potential re-tweets.  There is also a need for major companies to manage the replies to the tweets, so they can keep track internally. Several players in CRM is also keen on including microblog monitoring, like Salesforce that is about to include it in their product Service Cloud.

blogbild_090324_21

In the mean time before all this falls in place for the major companies, we challenge you to start to try this to increase your customer relations. Start monitoring your brand and you are more than welcome to tweet us samples of the responses you have given, and the effect you have achieved.

If you want to see how it works in action first, you are more than welcome to try with us. Just put the word Twingly in your tweet and see how fast we respond. It can be a general question, a question regarding specific search at Twingly.com or that you are just curious to get the average shoe size of the Twingly employees, or wants to know what color our CTO has on his car.

Top ten business ideas generated using microblog search

Tweeple need stuff The prevailing question for entrepreneurs and investors alike is: What do people really NEED? Or if already you have an idea of what you’d like to do: Does my business idea solve a real problem? The question is important since in order to run a successful business, you need for real to solve a problem or fulfill a need (although businesses that are less successful may resort to artifically creating or amplifying one).

With the advent of microblogs and more specifically microblog search, there is now an immediate way to listen in to people’s real needs, as expressed in their own words, all day, every day.

To get a fresh batch of new business ideas one simply have to search for needs. “I need a” or “I want a” are search phrases that generate excellent lists of real needs and wants of people. So without further ado, here are ten exemples of business ideas skimmed from microblogs, in order of perceived value:

10. Vampire-name generator

9. Social focus groups for feedback on web site design

8. Home-delivery haircut

7. Package delivery from post office to door

6. Dating service for geeks 

5. On-demand fact checker service

4. Cure for insomnia 

3. Hug delivery service  

2. In-office napping solution 

And the number one most valuable business idea according to the needs and wants of microbloggers, as indicated by thousands of munchie tweets and notes:

1. Around the clock snack and beverage delivery service

So there it is. What needs do you find expressed in microblogs that are funny/informative/moving?