Sweet tweets: making Twitter sing for you

Posted by Hitarth Jani | 8:24 PM | 5 comments »

Two years after winning the top blog award at an indie festival in the deep south of the United States, micro-blogging site Twitter has grown in size and popularity.

On September 2007, internet tracking company Nielsen Online found Twitter had 533,000 US users.

One year later, it had 2.4 million users. That's a 343 per cent growth, making Twitter the fastest growing social networking site for the US in September 2008.

Famous personalities using Twitter include British comedian Stephen Fry (@stephenfry), pro cyclist Lance Armstrong (@lancearmstrong) and US actress Demi Moore (@mrskutcher).

Here, Twitter's growth has been greater. It had a 520 per cent increase in the same time period, local web tracking company Hitwise reports. Users were spending 30 minutes on the site, 19 minutes more than the average time spent on other sites. Top federal politicians PM Kevin Rudd (@KevinRuddPM) and Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) have adopted the 140-words-a-post platform.

British technology commentator James Harkin wrote that Twitter "more than just a social networking site: Tweeting is changing the way we think." Even Facebook was impressed with Twitter - it started talks to buy it out - but they fell through.

But Twitter, as its name suggests, is like a large aviary of birds - with all the birds bursting into song at the same time. While the bare-bones nature of the site's interface encourages new users, making sense of all the dialogue taking place on it is harder.

So how do you differentiate from one user to another? How do you find people with similar interests? How do you make your tweets sing louder than all others?

A range of Twitter-related websites and apps have sprung up to deal with such questions. They attempt to categorise, spruik and manage users' tweets.

Here's 10 of the many we've found out there:

1. WeFollow

WeFollow is a user-powered Twitter directory that aims to group users according to labels that are determined by the users themselves. Twitter users just need to send @wefollow #yourtag #yourtag #yourtag (replace '#yourtag' w/the tags you'd like to be listed under, example: #blogger - max 3 tags)

2. Monitter

As you can tell from the name of the site, Monitter is a web tool to help people monitor tweets through keywords and locations. It's real time, and so a great way to get on-the-spot reactions.

3. TwitterLocal

It's an app you can download to filter tweets by location.

4. TweetStats

It helps you generate graphs from your tweets to analyse your tweet timeline (tweets per day), tweet density, aggregate daily tweets, aggregate hourly tweets, interfaces used to access twitter and even replies to (@personyouarereplyingto). It also logs the latest trending stats, trend clouds and the top 50 trends of all time.

5. twistori

A random visualisation of what people are tweeting on six themes - love, hate, think, believe, feel and wish.

6. Tweet O'Clock

Trying to get the attention of another Twitter user? This web app allows you to enter a Twitter username to get the time within a week when they are most likely to be online. The only problem for Australian users? It gives the the results in US or UK local times.

7. Twitter Jobcast

Looking for work in the US? Twitter Jobcast simplifies your search of the site for available jobs and for those looking for one. You can narrow down your search by choosing one of 32 US cities.

8. Twitrans

Exactly what it says above. Send your tweets to @twitrans in English, specifying what language you want it translated to, and hey pesto!, it comes back to you translated. Great since there are many users out there who surf the net in another language.

9. Twittown Blog

All the latest news that's fit to print about Twitter.

10. Remember the Milk

Yes, this is about managing your daily tasks such as remembering to buy that carton of Low Fat High Calcium Strong Bones etc etc Milk. Just add @rtm as your friend, sent @rtm a direct message with the task and the time you want to be reminded about it. (It was first set up by a Sydney team in October 2005, long before Twitter went live.)

And ... if you are looking to access Twitter on the go, here's a few mobile apps:

iPhone

Twitterrific, Twinkle, Twittelator, TwitterFon, Twitfire.

Blackberry

TwitterBerry, Tiny Twitter, Twibble, BlackBird.

Windows Mobile smartphones

ceTwit, SQIJ, Twobile.

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