5 Twitter Tips You May Not Know

twitterbirdAs Twitter turns the corner on the “Peak of Inflated Expectations” and heads full speed ahead into the “Trough of Disillusionment,” I thought I’d share 5 tips that have continued to make Twitter a meaningful, useful tool.  Some of these you may know, some may be new.  This is aside from new features coming like Twitter Lists and the ability to report spammers directly from the web version.  If you know of others I’d love to hear them.

  1. Authorize your API connections. It seems like every other week a new Twitter scam pops up sending DMs on behalf of many unsuspecting users.  Of course you can change your password to protect yourself, but many apps require an authorization for your account.  Be sure to check http://twitter.com/account/connections to make sure everything there is legitimate.
  2. Twitter provides their own widgets. There are apps galore out there, but did you know Twitter has developed their own series of widgets for you to use on websites, blogs and elsewhere? Check out http://twitter.com/goodies/widgets to find widgets to show search results, your recent tweets, or your favorite tweets.  Here’s a quick sample of a search widget, showing scrolling chatter ahead of the 2nd TWTRCON conference coming up on October 22 in DC (want to attend? I have a 20% discount code: TWTRAC – I think the agenda is shaping up to beat the first one in SF earlier this year…) [Reading via feed? Please click through to the post to see the widget.]
  3. twittersearchUse RSS to track mentions. I use Google Reader to keep up with many blogs, but sometimes I miss a reply on Twitter if I haven’t logged in for awhile.  If you want to make sure you never miss a mention, create a simple Twitter search on your Twitter name and grab the RSS feed in the top right corner.  I’ll go through that list on occasion to make sure I didn’t miss anything, but a business could import that feed into a more robust tool for reporting and assigning responses.
  4. Get more use out of your Favorites.  I’ve always thought the “Favorites” function was under-utilized.  I tend tto use favorites most often to mark links to go back to read later, especially while I am on the road and using my Blackberry – sometimes taking the time to click through to links doesn’t help.  Once again Google Reader to the rescue.  Your Twitter Favorites are actually available via RSS as well, even though there is no RSS link on the page.  Here is the syntax:  “http://twitter.com/favorites/{twitter name}.rss” – now I can use them like a bookmarking service, feed them to a widget elsewhere and save them even for sharing with others via Google Reader’s sharing functions.  It’s almost a backdoor way to “retweet.”  Here is my feed, which I use very similarly to how I decide what to bookmark in Delicioushttp://twitter.com/favorites/adamcohen.rss
  5. There’s an app for that. Everyone has their favorite Twitter applications – the proliferation of 3rd party apps is profound.  My personal crutch is Tweetdeck, which has allowed me to create groups in order to more closely follow friends, industry experts and mentions of clients (more casually than a social media monitoring tool).  Rather than go deep on more apps, in the last few weeks one of my favorite microblogging experts, Laura Fitton, has launched One Forty at  http://oneforty.com – it’s the online equivalent of Apple’s App store but much broader – there are mobile apps for the iPhone, Blackberry and other devices, desktop apps, Twitter analytic services and more.  Integrated to your Twitter profile, oneforty.com allows you to rate and suggest services.  This site will clearly help sort through what the best and worst 3rd party apps are out there.  Laura is a featured speaker at TWTRCON too.

What other Twitter tips do you have to share?  I’ve been using Twitter for more than two years but continue to learn ways to make it an effective tool and build connections. Were these tips old news to you?  (Did you know that Disqus, the comment system which I recently installed here, allows you to authenticate via your Twitter account?  Sweet.)

Photo credit: cotinis via Flickr

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  • Hi Adam, I like this post. My favorite tip here is #2. I think that since most people are using Twitter apps that forget that Twitter has some awesome resources of their own.
    Personally, I love using HootSuite to track my @ileane mentions. The mentions column stays visible at all times and you are right, you don't want to forget to give the proper feedback to a mention. You can create groups and it goes beyond TweetDeck by providing stats for your tweets and retweets. You also get a custom toolbar for links when you use the Ow.ly link shortener.
    There is another app that doesn't get much exposure called Brizzly that also lets you create groups.

    Thanks for the post and I hope to see you in Twitterville.

  • Thanks Ileane, I appreciate the feedback. I've heard good things about Hootsuite, but I really dislike the overlay of the ow.ly header bar on shared tweets. I tend to use Bit.ly to share more and get the data behind the scenes instead. I've invested a lot in creating/managing Tweetdeck groups – I hope the developers of Tweetdeck continue to push the envelope with features. Plus I love that the groups are portable across computers and mobile devices now.

    Thanks for weighing in and glad to see (via retweets and traffic) that people are finding this post helpful.

  • I'm can't figure out how to see where to find that widget, but I sure like it and want my own!

  • Hi Judy – Did you try http://twitter.com/goodies/widgets ? From there you can pick the platform you'd like to use and get code to copy/paste.

  • Thanks, Adam, finally got it to click through and grabbed the code. Now to get with “my guy” who'll explain how to put it in my page. HTML illiterate. I use hootsuite too. Didn't realize tweetdeck had groups, that's why I went to hootsuite.

  • I'm can't figure out how to see where to find that widget, but I sure like it and want my own!

  • Hi Judy – Did you try http://twitter.com/goodies/widgets ? From there you can pick the platform you'd like to use and get code to copy/paste.

  • Thanks, Adam, finally got it to click through and grabbed the code. Now to get with “my guy” who'll explain how to put it in my page. HTML illiterate. I use hootsuite too. Didn't realize tweetdeck had groups, that's why I went to hootsuite.

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