Twitter tools for blogging

Twitter Tools for Blogging

by April on October 23, 2008

In my last post about Twitter, I mentioned some Twitter tools that would help you get the most out of using Twitter to promote your blog. There are a lot of different Twitter-related websites and services and the list grows longer every day. I even received an invitation to Twitters Anonymous this morning. I sure hope someone wasn’t trying to tell me something!

The first type of Twitter tool I want to mention is the Twitter client which basically means a program you can use to access Twitter in ways other than going to Twitter.com. Two of the most popular are Twhirl and TweetDeck, both of which use the Adobe Air platform.

The advantage of using a Twitter client is that you can access it from your desktop without having your web browser open. They update automatically so that you’re not constantly having to refresh. It will also notify you when there are new tweets or DMs (direct messages) by either a sound or a pop-up or sometimes both.

Another great Twitter tool is Twitterfeed. Twitterfeed will check your blogs on a regular basis for new posts. If it finds any new posts since the last check, it will send a link to the blog post through a tweet so that everyone on Twitter who is following you will see that you have a new blog post and, hopefully, will click the link to read your new posts.

Twitter now has its own search page ever since it bought out the very popular Summize which is now called simply Twitter Search. I’ve used Twitter Search quite a bit for two specific reasons:

  1. I can search for my name, my blog name, or my business name to see if anyone is talking about me
  2. I can follow hashtags for specific topics.

What’s a hashtag?

Whenever you see a word or group of letters preceded by a # sign in someone’s tweets, it means that they want to include it as part of a Twitter-wide conversation.

For example, during the Presidential debates, Twitter was buzzing with political updates and opinions, many of which contained the hashtag “#debate08″. If anyone wanted to see what was being said on Twitter about the debates, they could just go to Twitter Search and enter the term “#debate08″ and the search results would turn up with all tweets containing that hashtag.

If you’re familiar with Google Alerts then you’ll understand the concept of Tweet Scan. Even though it looks like another Twitter search tool, it has the added benefit of sending you updates via email, just like Google Alerts.

For example, if your blog is about autism, you can have Tweet Scan send you updates of tweets containing the word “autism”. Not only will this help you find other Tweeters discussing a particular topic who you may then want to add to your list of people you follow, but other people may be able to find you this way. And one of those “other people” could just be someone looking for a guest blogger or someone to interview for an article.

The next two Twitter tools can help you stay in touch with your Twitter friends if you’re going to be unavailable for a while, such as on vacation or at your child’s soccer game. TweetAhead and TweetLater will allow you to schedule future tweets.

You can use these to remind your followers about a webinar that’s starting soon or a giveaway deadline. With TweetLater, you can also send automatic welcome messages to new followers or automatically follow people back who have started following you.

A word of caution: there are a lot of spammers on Twitter and there are also people who think automatic welcome messages take the “social” out of “social media” so you may not necessarily want to use these features.

Now I don’t want to make it sound like Twitter should be strictly business and that promoting your blog is the only thing you should be doing with Twitter. Not only is Twitter about building connections and meeting new people online, its also a lot of fun.

One of my favorite fun tools is TwitPic. TwitPic is an easy way to quickly share photos via Twitter. I’ve seen people use TwitPic for everything from sharing photos of their new baby to quick pics of their new haircut. I used it several times after we brought a new kitten into our family to share photos of the little furball.

Last but certainly not least, I want to mention MyTweeple. Every once in a while, I use MyTweeple to check and see if I missed any new followers or want to continue following people who never followed me back. MyTweeple will provide you with a list of all of your followers and followees and show you which of those are mutual, meaning you follow them and they follow you. This will help you manage your Twitter connections and keep your list under control.

This is just a quick summary of some of the various tools available to help you have a more enjoyable and less confusing Twitter experience. If you hear of a new tool and you’re not sure if its something you can use, just ask your fellow Tweeters. They’ll be more than happy to share their opinion and experience with you and maybe recommend some alternatives.

Are you using any of these tools? What is your experience with some of these, good or bad? have you heard of any Twitter tools but just don’t know what they’re for? Leave a comment and let us know!

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