Six Twitter applications I actually use and recommend for news organizations


Updated: July 2, 2009 @ 11:43 p.m. with another app. Updated again: Sept. 16, 2009 @ 10:12 p.m.

The world doesn’t need another Twitter post. But, with the surging number of third-party Twitter applications and posts and stories surrounding the buzz service of the moment, I find it’s easy to get lost.

Admittedly, I’ve done my fair share of Twitter coverage here, as with social networks generally, but I wouldn’t take the title of social media guru if it was gifted me. I just thought it was worth sharing the few services I do find helpful, particularly for those using the tool to grow a Web product.

Because, despite the buzz and the more likely reality that it’s probably a bit more of a tool for the few than for the masses as it’s currently being portrayed, I think it has the potential to be one of the most valuable social media tools.

The conversation and link-sharing employed by those whom I most like to follow are testaments to what is good about Twitter. …And believe me, there is plenty of bad.

Below, peep six Twitter tools that are actually worth your time.

  1. Advanced Twitter search — Every news organization should be using the opportunity to find people talking about your region or industry, in order to find new followers. For Technically Philly and NEast Philly, it’s an opportunity to grow our readership. It’s certainly not something I necessarily recommend for individual users because, well, that might come off simply creepy. But, earlier this month, by searching for people near Philadelphia who were tweeting about Billy Joel, I was able to find folks who went to a tribute band concert in Northeast Philadelphia and share our coverage.
  2. CoTweet — The Philadelphia-regionally based application affords you the opportunity to tweet from multiple Twitter accounts and forward-post tweets. It’s great for any work use of Twitter.
  3. Twitpic — Photos get a lot of traffic, so get yourself a password and e-mail or forward from your mobile device shots of what you’re covering or visiting.
  4. Twitter Counter — No one wants to follow too closely the metrics of something as inane as social networks, but if you’re going to do anything, you ought to do it well. Math can help you. Every few weeks, it doesn’t hurt to chart your progress in adding followers compared to others on the twittersphere. The numbers don’t lie. I can also keep track of buddies.
  5. Qwitter — I love the concept. You watch your Twitter follower count dip, but you’re not sure who left or why. This service will send you an update when someone leaves. I signed up recently and haven’t gotten a note yet, so, well, either the service is bogus or those followers I’ve lost were simply accounts that Twitter shutdown for being spam.
  6. BackTweets — While most who shares links to your work offer an @reply, many don’t, as I’ve found by following the site’s chronicling of those linking back to Technically Philly. This is a great way to follow discourse following your product and finding new followers.
  7. Yes, a Seventh: Tweet Effect — This nifty device will show you after what tweets you gained or lost followers, and no, I’ve garnered absolutely no knowledge from it and it still interests me.
  8. Yes, an Eighth: Twitter Karma — After growing my following list to several hundred and finding I was losing value in following so many, I wanted to mass clear many. This tool made it easy.
  9. Follower Monitor — This is a Twitter user who tracks users who stop following you, doing what I found Qwitter didn’t.

Some reading that might actually teach you something about actual value in the mostly otherwise self-serving and overly fashionable-at-the-moment social network:

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