Social Enterprise

Twitter tools: Great for now, but will they last forever?

In the broad social networking space, Twitter is unique in that there are a large number of free applications available. IT pro Rick Vanover shares some thoughts on this broad area of accompanying tools for the service.
Recently, I mentioned that I am a fan of Twitter. One of the nice things about Twitter is that there are so many applications to allow you to post or tweet compared to other social networking sites. It is easy to tell how someone tweets, from your home page you can see when and how a person has made their tweets. Figure A shows my tweet about writing this very blog: Figure A

Figure A

This shows that I used the Twitter Opera widget to make the tweet as an add-on to the Opera browser for my Twitter feed. Looking closely at Twitter there is a wide distribution of tools people use to tweet. This is primarily because the Twitter API is very straightforward and well documented for application developers to follow.

But, there are so many tools out there. Here are a few of the popular Twitter applications and Web sites:

Trillian: A powerful all-in-one applet for many social networking services

Bit.Ly: A nice follow-up from a URL shortening service

Tweetie: "The Mac people love it"

Tweetdeck: Another social network consolidation application

Twhirl: Multiple service consolidation, URL shortening, image posting with pictures

Twitterfeed: A blog to Twitter application

TwitterFon: iPhone and iPod Twitter application

Twittelator: Another iPhone Twitter client

Ping.fm: A multi-service consolidation client

TwitterFox: A Firefox extension for the popular browser

Twitterrific: Mac and iPhone Twitter application

Ubertwitter: Mobile device Twitter client

Seesmic: Twitter and Facebook client

Tweed: Palm-based Twitter client

Twaitter: A time-delayed Twitter posting application

TwInbox: An Outlook-based Twitter client

TwitterBerry: A BlackBerry-based Twitter client

And that is just a quick look at what people are using to post. Of course you can go fully old-school and post via the Web browser.

With all these tools out there, a number of points need to be made. Above all else, all the Twitter tools won’t be around forever. Some of these organizations will fail, or the Twitter API will be updated and the applications won’t support it without further development. The other important thing to consider is the source of these tools. This goes for any community-developed or open source application. Simply think about what you are using for your Twitter stream (or any other social networking service) and the origin of the software. Further, if you are running some sort of business off a Twitter application, make sure you can move everything you do to another application if needed.

What are your thoughts on miscellaneous Twitter or other social networking tools? Do you find them risky? Share your comments below.

About

Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

11 comments
TX Old Sarge
TX Old Sarge

I de-twittered myself. Just was not worth the effort.

whatisnew
whatisnew

I feel it' like communicaiton overflow......

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

let me just nip on Kazaa or Napster to get a few copies.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Is the succession of three symptomatic statements. "has over 12 years" (Rick Vanover) "has only been around since" (4byoung) "barely any" (indroneil) They betray event horizon. You three ought to be a good match.

indroneil.mukherjee
indroneil.mukherjee

There was barely any discussion from the author on the subject of the article - waste of time

ste7777
ste7777

Great points Rick! I use Twaitter for all my Twitter Business related posts. Because they manage multiple accounts, I also use it for 1 of my personal accounts. I like Twitter, but if it weren't for Twaitter's easy-to-use interface and scheduling options, I honestly don't think I would have become such a Twitter-holic :). You're right that you never know who to trust or how long these sites will be around. I'm pretty confident about Twaitter though. Here's the link http://www.twaitter.com Randy

4byoung
4byoung

Twitter has only been around since 2006 and became popular with early adopters in 2007 and has only taken off in the last year or so. Facebook was all the rage two years ago and blogs two years before that. These are all very new tools with very few standards and best practices around any of them. We have been here before (e.g., Internet, PCs, etc.). The key is good planning to begin with and good monitoring and management afterwards. Enterprise level tools are being developed as we speak. Twitter may or may not be able to take advantage of its current position. For any person or organization--large or small--sitting on the sidelines until standards emerge is not an option. You will miss out on developing new skill sets and uncovering valuable insights for your brand. Forrester estimates that 50% of the data about your company will not be on your servers by 2011. How will you get to this information without using these new tools? The example of Magnolia's failure this year is a cautionary tale. Anyone who used them as a bookmarking service lost everything. So, yes, plan carefully, become familiar with and use more than one of these tools,and backup where necessary. But, jump in while everyone else is learning and making mistakes. If you wait, your learning curve and mistakes will be much more noticeable and much less likely to be forgiven.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"Forrester estimates that 50% of the data about your company will not be on your servers by 2011. How will you get to this information without using these new tools?" I don't know where that 50% is going to be. For us it sure isn't going to be on Twitter, so these tools won't matter to us in that context.

b4real
b4real

Yes, it has literally taken off.

oschmid14
oschmid14

I have the feeling that Twitter had a big boom earlier in the year, but somehow came to a slow-down in the last 3 month or so. I currently have a bookmarked list of approximately 80 Twitter tools, give or take a few and I am compiling more and more every week. Some of them are very useful but most of them are fun to use once or twice and then they become useless. Seems like everybody who has some knowledge in API scripting tries his or her luck to see what can be done.

b4real
b4real

I have slighly less of a new thrill interest in Twitter - but still find it very resourceful for me and my circles.

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