Since I opened my Twitter account last September, I have not been playing around on it until recently. Even though I have not linked my mobile phone to my Twitter account (in order to avoid constant twitter message bombardment), and as a result am missing out on one of Twitter's most charming features, I have become more and more addicted to Twitter. I have also grown to appreciate Twitter's usefulness in delivering fast news bites, connecting people in real -time, promoting business brands in creative ways and supporting arts projects and civic movements. Twitter is becoming more and more essential in many social dimensions.
I think one the biggest advantage of Twitter is that it is an open-source platform. With a clear interface and simple functions, it has encouraged many talented people to design thousands of programs to facilitate and enrich other people's Twitter experience.
Here are some of the serendipities I discovered in this open-source Twitter treasure land:
Portwiture: Their self introduction: "Portwiture grabs photography from Flickr that matches the content of your most recent Twitter updates. The result is a serendipitous visual representation of your Twitter profile."
Here is my Twitter status in pictures generated by Portwiture:
(Seems my mind stream is quite flowery, but I do not quite understand where these cute frogs came from...)
TweetDeck, Twitterfeed, Socialoomph are the main third-party Twitter tools I use to manage my Twitter account. And no matter what you want to do with your Twitter account, from a simple task like adding a "Follow me on Twitter" button on your blog, to complex tasks like finding out which specific tweet made people follow you or unfollow you, there is always a Twitter tool out there for you. That is the beauty of an open source platform. Just like Paul Graham wrote in his visionary work, The Other Road Ahead, many years ago about the advantages of up-to-date released web applications and server software, the disadvantage of these third party tools are also quite obvious: they are usually launched without enough trial and error, so they are less stable and usually contain many holes and bugs. While enjoying the convenience brought by Twitter tools, you may have to also pay your share by reporting the bugs you encountered to help improve the overall user experience, and expect some malfunctions along the road.
Another interesting tool I just found out is called Trendrr. On its site, it introduces itself , "Trendrr allows you to track the popularity and awareness of trends across a variety of inputs, ranging from social networks, to blog buzz and video views downloads, all in real time. You can even compare trends to one another, monitoring and evaluating this comparison across a variety of sources." Mashable just did a very interesting report about how it captured the trend of Lady Gaga on many social media platforms and co-related the discussions about Gaga on these platforms with the growing trend of people who actually listen to Gaga's songs. A clear relationship could be drawn from the comparison, which shows that the buzz from social media can actually bring real business potential.
Some questions regarding the usage of Twitter: in delivering a message campaign, how do we prevent messages sent out to followers from being buried quickly? For the average user who has a huge amount of messages to read or who can update very quickly, a tweet passing onto their display board is just like a shooting star flying across the sky...I know there is a scheduled time-release tweet function, but that does not seem to improve the duration of each tweet that much. I would love to hear your thoughts on this in the comment section!
P.S. I just thought of the other day when I was at Barnes & Noble at the Grove. In the popular business books section, I saw two or three big books selling tips on how to succeed on Twitter. I am really curious how many people would actually dive into these big non-real-time print publications to find the keys to the fast-paced Twitter world?