Tools for Twitter – Part 1

Twitter is great. I love it. It is fun, it is informative, and it can get out of control fast. If you are using this great social media party-line, then sooner or later you will start to wonder how to gain control of what is going on there. While there are lots of excellent applications for actually using Twitter from your desktop, such Twhirl and TweetDeek which are Adobe Air cross-platform applications, what I am looking at here are three web-based tools that will help you actually manage your friends and followers.

Twit Who?The first tool we come to is actually called “Friend of Follow”. This site will show you a simple but visually appealing tabbed overview of those people who you are following but who are not following you back, those who are following you but that you don’t follow, and those that are both followed and following. While the display is nice, and by mousing over each user you can get some basic information, Friend or Follow doesn’t really provide enough information for my to find it to useful for most uses. What I do find useful sometimes is that I can put the people listed in order by location or number of followers. This is perfect for when I want to know if there are people local to my area I’m not following.

Next up is “MyCleener”. Ever wondering which of your friends are deadbeats? Or which of your friends just isn’t keeping up? MyCleener will pull the list of people you are following and then put then in order by the last time they tweeted. I was actually surprised to find out that one of the people I was following hadn’t tweeted in over a year. While technically there is nothing wrong with following someone who doesn’t tweet often, it does inflate your following to followers ratio. And many people, myself included, use that ration as a kind of rule of thumb to your legitimacy.

And finally, we come to the newest of the group, “Tweepler”. Tweepler, which is still officially in beta, not only shows you who is following you who you are not following yet, but it also shows you stats about them. So, in addition to seeing how many people they are following you can also see how many people are following them. And Tweepler also displays a ratio of the two making it easy to not follow those people who have a 31 to 1 ratio of follows to followers. And yes, there are those people. All of this is displayed in one cohesive interface, and you can even follow the people you chose or move them to an ignore column as you look at the stats. For my, free, buck Tweepler is the Twitter management app to watch.

A word of caution! Because all of these helpful websites work via the Twitter Application Programming Interface or API, they require your Twitter username and password to work. And, as we all know, giving out your password to anyone, especially on the Internet, is a bad thing. So my recommendation is that just before you use any of these site that you change your password to something bland, like “password”, use the site, and then log off and quickly change your Twitter password to a new and much more secure one. By doing this you will allow the programs to do their work, but you will leave no trace as to what your actual password is. From what I have seen all of these sites are legitimate and above board, but you are better safe than sorry.

In a future article I will talk about finding people to follow on Twitter, getting people to follow you, and different ways to have your blog entries automatically twittered. But in the meantime, for another great site with lots of Twitter tips, check out Twitip.com. And, make sure to follow me if you haven’t already! Just go to http://twitter.com/carnellm.

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