Twitter, as we all know, is the next big thing. Being a digital native, I embraced this new tool about a year ago, but I have to admit that I’m still learning. Because there has been a CILIP training seminar on how to use Twitter in libraries (Twitter users, search for #ciliptwitter to read some tweets from participants), I’ve spent a little time today investigating a few tools for “power tweeting”, as I like to call it – essentially, things that let you take Twitter beyond the level of IM replacement (or at least claim to do so). Even if I’m in no position to be tweeting on behalf of a library or a CILIP committee, I may be one day, so I’d like to be ahead of the game. Not to mention that I’m quite enthusiastic about Twitter in general.
First, I resurrected my Twitter client, TweetDeck. I’ve tried a good many Twitter clients, but this is the one I keep coming back to. Mind you, I am limited in my choices because I am a Mac user. The one feature that makes this one stand out for me is the ability to group people you are following. Very useful if you’re using one Twitter account to manage both professional/work-related and more private contacts. I personally believe that this is how it should be – I shouldn’t have to have multiple Twitter accounts, the Direct Message feature allows for enough privacy. But I find it nice to keep people organised. TweetDeck can also integrate Facebook and myspace (features I don’t use), you can follow and unfollow people from the client interface, and there’s a built-in search feature. It’s pretty powerful and I’m sure there are some features I have yet to discover!
Then, I briefly tested some tools. Some that I like:
Mr. Tweet. This looks through your list of followers and recommends people that they follow, retweet, or mention. The general idea id to find people in your extended network who you’re not yet following, but who could be of interest to you. You can also recommend people you follow so they become more visible to your extended network. That feature is the intelligent version of “followfriday” because you have to actually explain why you’re recommending someone instead of just randomly dropping names.
Friend or Follow. Who’s following you that you’re not following back and vice versa? Nice site for tracking down those annoying followbots as well as people who are following you that you’re not following back. I don’t know about you, but I tend to let follower requests build up over time, then forget all about it. And someone I used to follow merged two Twitter accounts so I was still following the wrong username.
Is Twitter down? If Twitter is playing up, just ask this site if it’s doing the same thing all over the shop, or if it’s just you. On a side note, if you’re not sure what time of the year it is, ask Is It Christmas?
TweetStats. Moderately useful, this tracks the number of tweets you make over time and creates a graph based on that pattern. It’s only useful, however, if you compare your stats to other people’s to see how you’re doing. Preferably, compare with people that you follow and whose tweets/general style of using Twitter you like.
Twibes. I’m not sure how useful this one is. It’s basically another people finder, based on groups. I’ve joined the “librarians” twibe just in case. I think it might be a bit too vast and unspecific though. But we’ll see how it goes. And of course, I will now be linking to my Twitter account from this blog.
There are some nice blog posts on other Twitter tools and applications out there. I started my journey today from Smashing Magazine’s recommendations for 99 essential Twitter tools and apps. There are many lists like this out there, but I like this one because it has detailed descriptions and screenshots. I also like their tips on what to actually do with Twitter. I think we’re all still learning, to be honest, and I’m glad it’s finally getting a bit of support in the field of librarianship instead of being laughed off as “yet another Facebook”.