I had found interesting folks to read and my own niche to write about, but I was at a loss at how to stay organized and interesting while I continued to accumulate follows and followers.
It was getting a little overwhelming. That was driven home by my participation in #blogchat, a weekly series where dozens of Twitter users have a live conversation by hash-tagging their posts as “#blogchat” – making them easily found via search. They were certainly easy to find – hundreds of them. I barely had time to hit reload before a whole new page of thoughts got tweeted out.
I had to find a better way!
Here’s where technology can be helpful. Twitter is a basic interface that doesn’t offer much aid when it comes to managing the flow of information, but its open API allows for plenty of developer interaction.
What does that mean to you and I? That there are a bevy of user-developed desktop and web apps that do all the things that can’t be done on Twitter.com. They’re more than a value-add – they’re essential to get the most of Twitter once you follow more than a few dozen people, and a must if you plan to use it as a platform for interaction or marketing.
There are three cross-platform big hitters that are worth investigating:
TweetDeck. A desktop app that deals out columns of content – like specific groups or searches – across the screen like a game of solitaire.
Pro: Beautiful, simple UI. A stable release. Makes it easy to parcel out groups or monitor searches for relevant info (like “Philly”).
Con: It has no memory – once you kill a column of painstakingly selected users it’s gone for good. Also, it only allows a single login – a downside for people moonlighting on a business account.
Verdict: Awesome for the mid-level twitterer, but not for the most powerful user.
Seesmic Desktop. Still in beta and it’s already a powerful, flexible desktop app that interacts with Twitter and Facebook.
Pro: It solves the TweetDeck issues – remembering my groups and offering a flexible drag and drop interface. Plus: multiple login support. And you can similar stream in all of your friend content from Facebook – a tremendous feature that – at the moment – only Seesmic performs.
Con: A lack of a collated followed/ers list slows group-making. It’s clearly a beta – frames get easily lost or tangled.
Verdict: Definitely keeps the power-social-networker in mind, but a little daunting due to scattered beta bugs.
Both Tweetdeck and Seesmic are tied to your desktop, which seems counter-intuitive. Everything from word processing to photo retouching is already on the web. Isn’t the whole point of the post-Web 2.0 world to compute in the cloud? To make things worse, neither program uploads your data for you to access when logging in elsewhere. If you use more than one machine to tweet you’ll need to sync all of your groups and searches by hand.
Tweetvisor. A web dashboard that simulates the looks of both of the programs above, but allows you to manage your info straight from your browser.
Pro: All of the features of the desktop competitors. Not a memory-hogging app. Shows conversation threading for replies. Easy to view and follow user’s profiles in-line. Live updating.
Con: It’s a lot of info to contain in one browser window. Broken in ie6. Their trick of expanding details on rollover might make you dizzy. Still some beta bugs.
Verdict: You’d have to be silly or old-fashioned to pick a desktop app over this.
As week three closed, I was finally feeling in-control of my tweeting, and that solidified my addiction to Twitter.
Is that all there is to the Twitter story? Definitely not! There is more to say about effective ways to find followers, developing tweet-friendly content, and using Twitter for networking and marketing. As I keep tweeting I’ll continue to touch upon those topics on CK.
Until then, be sure to follow me on Twitter to experience a multi-dimension Krisis.