Oregon State Bar Bulletin — MAY 2009
Building on Simplicity:
20 Tools to Make Twitter Sing
By Robert J. Ambrogi

So much from so little. That should be the tagline for Twitter, the microblogging site that limits each post to 140 characters. As I wrote in this column in January, Twitter’s simplicity belies its reach. That earlier column listed my “Tweet 16” ways lawyers could use Twitter. Since then, I’ve discovered even others.

But while Twitter’s simplicity is elegant, it is also limiting. As a result, a cottage industry is emerging of hundreds of third-party tools to extend and enhance Twitter. I have been looking for some of the more useful of these and bring you 20 that stand out. They are in alphabetical order.

ChirpCity, http://chirpcity.com. ChirpCity displays the latest tweets from and about any city. Another tool that filters tweets by location is TwitterLocal, http://www.twitterlocal.net.

Filttr, https://filttr.com. Filttr filters your Twitter steam to separate what is important to you from the noise. It uses artificial intelligence to decide which posts are important to you.

HootSuite, http://hootsuite.com. HootSuite is a suite of Twitter tools that lets you manage multiple Twitter profiles, pre-schedule tweets, and measure your success with statistics and analytics.

Mr. Tweet, http://mrtweet.net. Mr. Tweet describes itself as a “personal networking assistant.” Just follow Mr. Tweet on Twitter and it will suggest people you should be following, recommend you to others with similar interests, and provide regular statistics about your Twitter usage.

OutTwit, www.techhit.com/OutTwit. This plug-in lets you use Twitter from within Microsoft Outlook. You can update your Twitter status and follow others on Twitter, all from within the Outlook interface.

ToAnswer, http://toanswer.net. This Twitter mashup is designed to help you use Twitter to get your questions answered quickly. Need to find a good restaurant in Boston? Tweet your question and it will get posted here automatically.

Tweetag, http://tweetag.com. Browse or search the most popular topics discussed on Twitter within the last 24 hours. A similar tool is Twitturly, http://twitturly.com, which tracks the most popular URLs on Twitter.

TweetBeep, http://tweetbeep.com. Get e-mail alerts of conversations on Twitter that mention you, your firm, your website, a client or anything else. Another service that does this is Twilert, www.twilert.com. Beats having to monitor Twitter’s search page 24/7.

TweetCube, www.tweetcube.com. Allows you to share files of any kind via Twitter. Tweet your images, videos, music and anything else and share them with the people who follow you.

TweetLater, www.tweetlater.com. This lets you compose and schedule your tweets in advance. You can also send automated thank-you messages to new followers and set up e-mail alerts to track key words and phrases. Another tool that allows you to create tweets in advance and schedule their release is Twuffer, http://twuffer.com.

TweetStats, http://tweetstats.com. Graph your Twitter usage to see how often you tweet, when you tweet, who you most often reply to, and more. An easy way to monitor your Twitter activity.

Twellow, www.twellow.com. Twellow is a directory of Twitter users. Search it by name and location or browse its listings by category. It includes a law category as well as subcategories for lawyers, judges and others.

Twistory, www.twistory.net. Twistory adds your history of tweets to whatever calendar application you use, letting you see what you were tweeting when. It could be useful for tracking or reconstructing your time.

TwitBacks, www.twitbacks.com. Here you can create a free background for your Twitter profile that provides much more information about you than the basic profile. Add a bio, links, a logo and more.

TwitBlocker, www.tangerineworks.com/twitblocker. Sometimes you want to block posts from someone you follow temporarily without unfollowing them. This browser add-on makes it easy to do.

TwitPic, http://twitpic.com. TwitPic lets you share photos on Twitter from your mobile phone or through the site itself.

Twitter Grader, http://twitter.grader.com. This tool measures the reach and authority of a Twitter user. It assigns a percentile score based on the user’s number of followers and their power within Twitter, the pace of updates, the completeness of the user’s profile, and more. Find out where you or anyone else ranks.

TwitterPacks, http://twitterpacks.pbwiki.com. This is a tool for grouping and finding Twitter users by topics of interest or geographic location. Among its many categories are a lawyer pack, a law practice management pack and a legal aid pack. It includes Autopack, a feature that lets you follow or unfollow everyone in a particular pack.

Twitzu, www.twitzu.com. Promote your events on Twitter. Planning a meetup or seminar? Use this to blast it out to your Twitter followers. Another similar service is Twtvite, http://twtvite.com. Use it to create a “tweetup” and then to invite people via Twitter.

Twtpoll, http://twtpoll.com. Conduct simple polls via Twitter. When you tweet a question, it links back to a page where your followers can choose from several answers. Once they vote, they can see a pie chart of the results so far.

These are just some of the many tools available to extend Twitter’s usefulness. Try these and feel free to drop me a line with your own favorite Twitter tools.

Robert Ambrogi, who practices law in Rockport, Mass., is the former editor of National Law Journal and Lawyers Weekly USA. He is internationally known for his writing about the Internet and technology.

© 2009 Robert Ambrogi

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