Magazine article Information Today

Top Tools for the Twittersphere

Magazine article Information Today

Top Tools for the Twittersphere

Article excerpt

If you haven't delved into the world of Twitter or at least heard about the new microblogging/messaging service, you may want to turn on your computer from time to time and read some library blogs.

OK, I'm being sarcastic, but Twitter has become so popular within the technology world that everyone working within the realm of the internet has probably heard of it.

One of the reasons why Twitter has grown exponentially over the past year is due to the third-party tools that developers have created from the product (tools with these APIs have become a theme for this column for at least the past six issues, so you can see how powerful they can be). Most people actually use Twitter to communicate with their friends via these applications rather than go to the site. On that note, let's examine a few apps that I use to connect to the service.

Just for the Desktop

One of the most popular desktop applications is twhirl.org (www.twhirl.org), which is built on the Adobe AIR platform (www.adobe.com/products/air). twhirl runs a stream of the Tweets (Twitter messages) that makes it easier to keep up with what everyone is saying. twhirl also lives on the desktop, and any updates to the stream pop up on the screen, much in the same way as emails received in Thunderbird or Outlook. And there are plenty of options available, including changing the colors of the application and the text size and typeface.

Another similar application is the Firefox add-on Twitbin (www.twit bin.com), which is similar to twhirl in how content gets posted as well as the stream, but it lives on the left-side panel of the browser. This tool lets those who are constantly working in the browser glance over to see what is happening in their Twitter streams. There are no pop-ups for new messages, just the stream.

Keeping the Tweet Brief

One of the greatest benefits of using Twitter is sharing URLs with others. From a marketing perspective, it's a great way to get your content out to your friends and followers. Twitterbar (https:// addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/ 4664) is another Firefox add-on that lives on your address bar. With one click, users can post a URL to the Twitter stream. The app will automatically shorten the URL and tell you if you exceed the allotted 140 characters so that the post can be changed. …

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