Social Media Tools

My Top Ten Twitter Tools

If you are new to Twitter, you may not realize that there are a number of third-party websites, plugins, and apps that make it easier to tweet and follow other tweeters.  Twitter itself has a certain beauty in its simplicity, but it is not very user-friendly once you have connected with a few dozen people.   How can you prioritize what tweets you really want to read, vs. those tweets that are more optional?

Also, from a business standpoint, Twitter itself offers very little feedback in terms of your ROI.  How many people got your tweet, and who retweeted it?  What are people saying about you or your company online? When are your followers online?  When is the best time to send a tweet?  What are your neighbors tweeting?

To help answer these questions, here are my Top Ten Twitter Tools in no particular order:

  1. allows you to sort your incoming tweets into logical columns.  You can create your own groups, follow hashtags, DMs or listen for others tweeting about you.  Since Tweetdeck was recently purchased by Twitter, the two will likely become one.
  2. is similar to Tweetdeck, but in addition to columns, it adds another level of organization with customizable tabs.  So, you might have a tab for weekdays feeds and another for weekends.  Hootsuite also gives users the ability to schedule tweets in advance
  3. – #FollowFriday or #FF gives you a chance to recommend your favorite Tweeters to your followers, AND the Twitterverse.  Follow Friday Helper makes it easier to share the love, any day of the week.
  4. is very helpful when you don’t know what a particular hashtag means.  I was recently stumped by #NSN3D which turned out to be a Justin Bieber movie.  Whatthetrend is also a good place to “unofficially register” your hashtag for Twitter parties, industry topics, or events
  5. will tell you what times your followers are online the most during the week.  It does so in a general sense, without breaking anyone’s privacy.
  6. (notice .is not .com) helps you send your tweets at optimal times to reach the most followers.  You load up your queue to shoot a tweet once or thrice a day, but can also send tweets more immediately as needed.  You can turn off weekends, and track to see who retweeted your tweets, and even see how many poeple clicked your links.

  7. shows live tweets on a google topo map.  I wish more emergency responders knew about this tool; it might come in handy during a search and rescue situation.
  8. (notice spelling) is like Evite for Twitter.  It’s normally used for Tweetups but can also be used for virtual online parties and Twitter chats.
  9. also lists trending topics, but adds a graphic showing the trend over the last 24 hours, 7 days, 30 days, etc.  Certain trending topics may only last a week, others will ebb and flow over time depending on who is online.
  10. and have serious potential for digital signage and live events.  Imagine a tweetup or a concert where patrons could tweet to a large screen using a certain hashtag.

You can sign into most of these tools and websites using your Twitter credentials, so its easy to bounce back and forth between them.  They also integrate with URL shorteners like and so you can track how many people have clicked the links in your tweets.

What are your favorite Twitter tools?


Social Media Group Chats

Twelve Twitter Party Twips

A Twitter party, or group Twitter chat, is when a group of individuals  ‘get on Twitter’ at a specific time and use a specific hashtag to communicate with each other.  Twitter Parties are often confused with Tweet-ups, the latter being actual face-to-face meetings organized via Twitter.  Conversely, a Twitter party or Twitter chat is completely online.

Twitter Party Tips

Each Twitter party has a specific topic and/or target audience, and uses hashtags (i.e.#yourpartyhere) to track the participant’s comments.  For example, I’ve been attending a regular group chat for the audiovisual community called #AVchat, founded by Linda Seid Frembes (also known as @AVwriter).

Twitter parties come in all sizes, from a handful of school friends to hundreds of participants world-wide.  If you have never attended a Twitter party, or if you call yourself a Guru, here are  twelve tips for your next Twitter party or group chat:

  1. Choose a unique hashtag (i.e.#yourpartyhashtag) that no one else is using, and generally short so you have more room for conversations.  For example hashtags, check out this online calendar at  You should should also search Twitter itself for the hashtag.  Remember: you don’t want to make enemies on Twitter, and there are plenty of hashtags left.  Once you decide a hashtag, you can unofficially ‘register’ it at Tagal, Twubs, and Tweeparites.
  2. While at Tweeparties, look at the other scheduled Twitter chats that may be competing with your target audience.  Of course, you can attend two Twitter parties at once, but then you are only giving half of your attention to each party.  Two timer!  Or is it two tw-imer?
  3. Before the chat, you may want to warn your Twitter followers that you will be attending a Twitter party as they may see an influx of random tweets from you in the next hour or two.
  4. If you have never attended a Twitter chat before, I highly suggest using Tweetchat, which automatically follows the chat and adds the appropriate hashtag to your tweets. Tweetchat is a type of ‘aggregator’ designed specifically for Twitter parties.
  5. You can also use other Aggregators like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, or TweetGrid to follow your chat.  All of these aggregators rely on the  Twitter API, which can be problematic, and brings me to my next tip:
  6. Be patient when the chat seems to lag, or completely locks up.  Remember that Twitter is still a growing bird, and its API was not designed for multi-point conferencing.  API issues are very common in Twitter parties, you may just have to pause a few minutes and let the problem fix itself.  Don’t freak out, just go get a cup of coffee, or tea, or another beer.
  7. Don’t multi-task.  Just like real parties, its rude to check email or be on the phone during a Twitter party, and the whole point of a Twitter party is to chat!  Depending on the number of participants, the Twitter chatter can get very fast paced, and there is no way to slow it down.  For the most part, the speed of the chat is dependent on the rate of posts.  If it seems too fast, you should spend more time reading, and less time typing.
  8. If you are streaming music or using other chat windows, you may be causing your own bandwidth issues (this is what I like to call a classic PEBKAC issue).   Make sure you have a solid internet connection, and that your refresh rate is set to auto or 1 second.  If you are just using Twitter, you will need to hit refresh every couple of seconds, which is why I recommend using Tweetchat instead.
  9. Be on time.  There is no such thing as fashionably offline.  Unlike many real world meetings, Twitter parties start on time.  If you are late, no one is going to wait for you, or even notice that you are not there.  And like most real world meetings, its best to be there early and hear the pre-game small talk.
  10. If you are late, don’t try to catch up, just jump in and then read what you missed later.  If you miss the party all together, you can use Twitter, Tweetchat, Tweetdeck, Tweetgrid, or Hootsuite to search the “transcript” of the chat, including any follow-up posts.
  11. Don’t be a virtual wallflower.  Yes, you can listen to an entire chat or party without saying a word, but I guarantee that you will enjoy it more and get more out of it if you participate and post some comments.  You don’t have to answer every question, but be sure to introduce yourself, and try to “peep” in at least a few times.
  12. Don’t sell yourself, your services, or your products.  Don’t post that XYZ Company is the leader in blah blah blah … or  Be sure to check out my website….No no no.  This is a party, not a billboard.  Better to say something interesting, something that will actually make people interested in you. They can always check out your profile later after the party.
Twitter Chat Tips

Twitter parties are a great way to stay in touch with industry professionals, or just other people with a common interest.  It’s a good way to network and make new friends.  Unlike real parties, everyone speaks at once, and all to each other at the same time, so it can be a bit confusing.  You can also have sidebar conversations with other participants during or after the chat, using ReTweets, Direct Messages, or emails.

For more information on Twitter Parties or group chats, please contact Paul Konikowski, or visit this website.