Getting Things Done with Twitter

Posted by Kim Lau on Wednesday, February 11th, 2009. Filed under: eHub Features

After three years on the web, Twitter has become more than just another micro-blogging client. A whole industry of web applications have sprung up to extend and capitalize on Twitter’s capabilities, from the ridiculously silly, to the gobsmackingly useful. If Twitter is not already a part of your daily life, these applications can give you a whole new perspective on the idea of Getting Things Done. There’s a lot you didn’t know you could do with 140 character spurts.

For the most part, you can sign up for external Twitter applications with your existing Twitter account. Hopefully, soon, Twitter will have implemented OAuth for authentication, but currently, many Twitter mashups require you to enter your password.  We suggest you use caution when giving out your Twitter password.  In general, you do have to be familiar with Twitter’s syntax to use most services. For example, typing “d username message” means that you are directly sending a message to someone who is mutually following you. Many of the Twitter applications will require you to “follow” them in order to use the applications properly.

Financial

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TweetWhatYouSpend is exactly what it sounds like. Keep your New Year’s resolution to get yourself financially organized by tracking your spending habits through this site. Sign up with your Twitter account, and chronicle your spending on Twitter or at TweetWhatYouSpend. On Twitter, use the TweetWhatYouSpend syntax by direct messaging the site with your purchases and amount spent. For example, you would type in “d twys groceries 46.00”. On the TweetWhatYouSpend site, you can categorize your expenditures, create your own categories, and export your cash journal to a csv file. Future features include joint accounts, tags, and a spending alarm to alert you when you hit your daily or weekly spending limit.

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StockTwits is a Twitter community for people who are obsessed with stocks. Just log on with your Twitter username and password, and view the latest conversations from investors and traders on the stock market. StockTwits basically aggregates all financial and stock-related discussions, and allows you to add mentioned stocks to your portfolio, and participate in the conversation. On the StockTwits site, you can view the week’s Top Gainers and Top Losers, see who’s doing the most financial chatting, and check out the “buzz” surrounding individual stocks. The site is very easy to use.

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Similar to StockTwits, FxTwits is a Twitter community centered around finance; the difference is that it’s focused on currency pairs. Do you need to know what’s going on with the American dollar against the euro? FxTwits captures Twitter discussions surrounding the foreign exchange rate. Just log on with your Twitter username and password.

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CheapTweet is a Digg-like site that combines the power of Twitter users and search to scrape up the best bargains online. CheapTweet scours Twitter for mentions of good deals, and users vote on whether they think the deal actually is cheap, or “lame”. While you don’t need to join CheapTweet to check out deals, signing up will allow you to save deals. Along with voting, you can also retweet deals, or comment directly on the site. Shop for deals from places like Amazon and Etsy.

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Currently in beta, Twizon searches Twitter for mentions of Amazon deals. Recent and popular deals are listed, and you can also check out what Twitter users are saying about the products. Products cover a wide range, from DVD sets to desktop hard drives.

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TwitPay lets people tweet money over Twitter. All you need is your Twitter account, and then direct message the person you want to pay with the TwitPay syntax and list the amount you want to send. TwitPay charges a nickel for each transaction over 99 cents.

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TipJoy allows you to give people money. TipJoy is an individual application with a Twitter feature. It lets you sign up using your Twitter credentials. Use the TipJoy syntax – for example, if you want to give money to someone you’re following on Twitter, tweet “p” with the amount and the user you want to give money to, and that’s it. You can also use “RTip”, “pay”, “tipjoy” and “give”, as long as you include the user name and the amount. TipJoy suggests using your Twitter credentials to start fundraising campaigns for your cause of choice, and gives you a great how-to guide.

Reminders & Tracking

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Twistory lets you add your Twitter backlog to your favorite calendar application, whether it be iCal or Google Calendar. It’s useful if you’re a frequent Twitter user, and looks almost like a diary. Twistory only works with public accounts. New tweets are added immediately, and Twistory will also tag your tweets with timetracking tags if you use their syntax.

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TrackThis will track your packages for you. Just direct message TrackThis on Twitter with your tracking code, and you’ll be notified via direct message from the site every time your package changes locations.

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Postica is a separate sticky notes application with Twitter integration. You can sign up on Postica;s site, and give yourself little note reminders. Add Postica as a friend on Twitter, and direct message Postica with your reminders, tasks, and notes. Postica is currently in beta.

Scheduling

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Future Tweets, Twuffer, TwitResponse and TweetLater are all applications to used to schedule tweets for your Twitter. It may seem a bit redundant at first glance, but these applications will provide you with more flexibility for Twitter. If you own a business and want to use Twitter as a marketing tool, you can schedule press announcements, highlight sales, and reminders to your followers. If you are using Twitter exclusively as a personal forum, you can schedule reminders about appointments, tasks, and give your friends birthday wishes on time. It’s all about how you want to use them.

Share Files

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Twitter’s basic function doesn’t allow you to share files. TweetCube does, in a very simple manner. Just sign on with your Twitter username and password, and pick a file to upload. One warning: though TweetCube does not save your password, it does not hide it behind asterisks, either, so you may want to be careful about which Twitter account you upload files to. Twittershare lets you share files that are 10 megabytes or less. It’s based on the now-defunct Pownce’s API. Primarily for the iPhone, there’s also a web interface that is in beta, and Windows XP/Vista support is coming soon. TwitPlusis currently in beta. This is yet another service that permits you to share files on Twitter. The difference is that you can share files privately, which most other file-sharing services do not permit. Share pictures and files on your Twitter account, or share directly.  You can use TwitPic to share pictures on Twitter. Post from your phone or through the site, and browse the public timeline.

Track Health

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TweetYourEats is currently in private beta. TweetYourEats aims to help you manage your eating habits, whether for health or for weight loss. They claim that they will also help you track your daily calorie intake, which is a definite boon to those who are watching the scale. TweetWhatYouEat is very similar to TweetYourEats, and is available for use. Like TweetYourEats, you can also track caloric intake on your account. Add TweetWhatYouEat as a friend, and a “diary” will be set up for you on the site. From your Twitter account, just direct message TWYE with your food and caloric data, and you can also add and delete stuff directly from your diary. FoodFeed is not diet-oriented, but it also helps you track what you eat. Just add FoodFeed as a friend, and FoodFeed will create a feed for you where you can mention what you’re eating. It’s very simple and elegant.

Multiple Accounts Management

Some power Twitter users have multiple accounts. People use them for all sorts of purposes – marketing, dealing with different social groups, or just find it fun. Here are a few applications to help you manage them.

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HootSuite was formerly known as BrightKit, and is an all-in-one application. Manage multiple accounts, profiles, schedule tweets and reminders, and track statistics. It’s easy-to-use, and definitely a necessity for hardcore Twitter users.

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GroupTweet is an application for sharing a single Twitter among your cohorts, family, or friends. Create a new Twitter account, or use an existing account and register it at GroupTweet. Make sure the people you want to join know about the account and encourage them to follow your group account. Then anyone in the group can direct message the group account and the message will be displayed to everyone in the group.

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TweetParty is similar to GroupTweet in that it allows you to organize your Twitter contacts by “parties”. Add TweetParty as a friend, and then create your groups accordingly. When you want to send a message to the group, make sure you use the syntax #groupname when you direct message the appropriate party.

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Splitweet offers easy management of multiple accounts, and is marketed as a tool for corporate users, though regular users can also take advantage of this application. Register with your email, create a password and enter a Twitter account to get started. Add your other accounts, and color-code them to track them, the contacts, and schedule reminders and announcements. You can also track your “brand” and see if other people are mentioning your Twitter.

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EasyTweets is for brand management and marketing. Currently in beta, it’s a set of tools designed to help you with multiple accounts, brand tracking, and Twitter trends. To take full advantage of all the application has to offer, you’ll have to sign up for one of the paid accounts, which start at $25 a month. If you want to test it first, the free account lets you manage up to three Twitter accounts with restricted features.

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Social is a beta group Twitter tool. Get a Twitter account specifically for your group or event, and register the new account at Social, and start managing from there. Get your audience to follow that account and participate in discussions, link-sharing, and more.

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Twtvite is part of the twtapps family of simple Twitter applications. Twtvite lets you arrange “tweetups” and manage the responses, and provides you with code to paste on your web page.

Miscellaneous Utility

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Commuter Feed collects traffic data from Twitter users. Join the Commuter Feed, find your city code, and start broadcasting traffic. Report on accidents, traffic jams, and freeway closures. When contributing, make sure that you are not texting to your Twitter while driving. Not only is this dangerous, but it’s also illegal (at least in California). The best thing about this feed is that it’s worldwide. You’re covered if you ever need to know traffic information in London.

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Bkkeepr helps you track your reading on Twitter. It is a project of booktwo.org, a site devoted to book trends. Follow bkkeepr on Twitter, and direct message with the ISBNs of the books you’re reading. Bkkeepr will allow you to track the pages you’ve started and stopped at, and you can brag when you’ve finished your book.

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Thsrs isn’t specifically for Twitter, but it’s very useful when you’re trying to think of something to say that will fit into 140 characters. It’s a shorter thesaurus. Type in a word, and Thsrs will find a shorter synonym for you.

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Twtrip is another wonderful application from twapps. It is a simple travel organizer. Enter your Twitter user name, the dates of your trip and your location, and start tweeting to it. You can also meet up with other people who are in the same area as you.

Twitter has certainly sparked a lot of debate, interest and utility in a very short time span. From micro-blogging to marketing, from scheduling reminders to book-tracking, who knew that 140 characters could be so useful?

Comment(s)

  1. Tom Lewis on February 11, 2009 at 11:48 AM:
    Very useful and interesting grouping of Twitter add-ons and tools! Thanks for posting them all together. You are bookmarked and favorited and RTed.
  2. Bryan Collick on February 11, 2009 at 12:05 PM:
    Awesome post, Kim.
  3. Marc Hedlund on February 11, 2009 at 01:03 PM:
    Wesabe also lets you record your financial transactions via Twitter.  More info here:

    http://blog.twitter.com/2008/08/twitter-your-dollars.html

    http://blog.wesabe.com/2008/08/04/add-transactions-to-wesabe-through-twitter/

    I believe we were the first site to do this.

    Marc Hedlund, CEO, Wesabe

  4. Kimota on February 11, 2009 at 09:00 PM:
    Wow! I didn’t know about almost all of these! The simplicity of the Twitter idea just keeps growing with possibilities and opportunities. Signing up to some of these.

    http://twitter.com/kimota

  5. Brack on February 12, 2009 at 03:46 AM:
    Thanks a lot for posting these interesting Twitter apps!
  6. @MichaelDeutch on February 12, 2009 at 09:17 AM:
    Some fun news apps here, thanks!

    http://twitter.com/MichaelDeutch

  7. Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach on February 12, 2009 at 09:39 AM:
    What a superb post!!  Excellent collection of links, will stumble/tweet it.  ‘course, you DID forget http://www.TwitterBudgie.com , the parallel-universe service that breaks the 140 character boundary… :)

    Barbara

  8. sostane on February 12, 2009 at 09:59 AM:
    how do people manage their followers and friends? I have seen some tools like friends and follow but can’t find them again.

    Also what is the best tool for threading conversation?

  9. Bob M on February 12, 2009 at 01:46 PM:
    Great info, just wanted to share datapi.net is a remote backup provider. Backup all your important info on an off site location so you will never lose your data. Your info is encrypted and only you have access to it. Check it out!!!
  10. rizzy on February 12, 2009 at 04:44 PM:
    Great article, giving almost all the information you need to successfully use Twitter.
    Regards: rizzy
    http://twitter.com/rizzy81
  11. Gwen Bell on February 12, 2009 at 06:06 PM:
    Fantastic list. You had me at, “Getting Things Done.” Thanks for this, Kim. Will spread the word on Twitter.

    @gwenbell

  12. @metalogis on February 12, 2009 at 06:39 PM:
    @quiteuseful Grant tool for GTD in Twitter is RTM (http://rtmilk.com/twitter).
  13. Myriam on February 13, 2009 at 01:36 AM:
    Hey, useful list but it sounds you forgot to get things done with music :-) Check these out : http://blip.fm, http://twiturm.com/ and/ or http://twisten.fm
  14. Cam on February 14, 2009 at 01:13 AM:
    this list is insane!
  15. Chris Miller on February 14, 2009 at 08:55 AM:
    Great list. I think we are missing one or two of these. We have the largest catalog of Twitter tools now at http://EverythingTwitter.com

    There is over 250 listed now

  16. Hazel M Walker on February 15, 2009 at 08:19 AM:
    Great post, I love these tools they will make my life with multiple accounts so much easier!

    Thanks for the hard work you have put into this.

    Hazel

  17. Drew Boyd on February 15, 2009 at 01:15 PM:
    Thanks for the list.  I’ve created three new Twitter concepts at http://www.innovationinpractice.com that might help improve some of these apps or be standalone apps.
  18. omio on February 15, 2009 at 04:09 PM:
    StockTwits is may favourite, especially integration with new version of tweetdeck
  19. thecoolgeek on February 17, 2009 at 10:00 AM:
    Amazing how many useful applications have been built on top of the Twitter API. This is what I love about companies like Google, Twitter and Facebook: They create ecosystems. In this case some talented developers came up with some great ideas that somewhere down the line they can monetize. Thanks for the great collection Kim. I will add you on Twitter and please feel free to visit my blog on http://www.coolgeekblog.com
  20. Terri B on February 17, 2009 at 10:04 AM:
    Excellent and very helpful list. I am always trying to keep up with the excellent tools available for Twitter!
  21. Peter Davison on February 17, 2009 at 10:40 AM:
    I am enjoying the review of the article and the great resources provided. http://twttrip.com is a lean and mean travel app that should develop a partnership with the dopplr crowd.

    Emily, it really is a great list and shows the practical applications of a social media/networking tool.

    Best,

    Peter aka “Our Man in Shanghai”

  22. A_Tse on February 17, 2009 at 11:01 AM:
    Great list! Can’t wait to see how the TwitApp landscape changes over the course of this year.

    Amy

  23. Ferny on February 18, 2009 at 11:58 PM:
    Wow, that’s insane. Had no idea how big this was. Gonna be digging into these very soon.

    Thanks!

  24. Chris Degiere on February 22, 2009 at 07:27 PM:
    Great list. I’d seen StockTwits but not FxTwits, Thanks!
  25. Twitter Loco on April 26, 2009 at 07:12 AM:
    Thanks a lot for providing this list, makes it easier to find what your looking for.
  26. Phil Davis on May 11, 2009 at 04:02 PM:
    TwitWishList.Com Just made a web application that combines twitter with your amazon wishlist. TwitWishList connects your twitter account with your amazon wish list. You announce the event you want to celebrate and when and TwitWishList announces/tweets your special occassion and provides a link to your wish list so your followers can buy you a gift and celebrate with you.
  27. Share files with Twitter on June 01, 2009 at 05:08 PM:
    cool post!
    you could add http://www.ravishare.com as a friendly service the allows you to share files of up to 300MB for free and tweet the link without entering your Twitter password on their website.