For tech news and discussion, I turn to Twitter. I find the service remains the most widely-adopted way to discover and follow topics I care about. If you work in technology, education, or news, you likely use Twitter, too.
Since I do much of my work on a Chromebook, I often view Twitter in Chrome. But I don't just use Twitter.com, I also rely on a small set of extensions that make Twitter tasks on Chrome easier and faster. These are extensions I've used consistently over the past year, or more. If you use Twitter and Chrome, try these seven extensions to help improve your experience.
1. Find a link
When I read a post, I'll often click the ViewTweets extension to see who has shared the link on Twitter. For example, in June 2017, Google posted an announcement about the TensorFlow Object Detection API. I read the post, then clicked the ViewTweets extension. Twitter search results showed the top 16 or so shares of the link—and a click on Latest returned even more shares.
These search results lead me to both people and opinions. Not only do I see what people think about a specific product, announcement, or technology, but I also discover interesting people, since they're actively sharing an item of interest.
2. Find accounts
The Twitter detector extension discovers all the Twitter accounts on a page. Most often, I use this to quickly learn a bit more about an author, publisher, or interview subject. This can be especially useful if you're exploring posts from a conference, since presenters often share their Twitter handle. The extension lists a link to each account found, alongside a Follow link.
To see an extreme example of the Twitter detector in action, install the extension, then go the Twiplomacy Study 2017 page. The report explores how world leaders and governments use social media, including Twitter, Facebook, and others. You'll see around 50 Twitter accounts found by the extension on the page.
3. Find a profile
To find a Twitter profile quickly within Chrome, add the Omnibox Twitter extension. After the extension is added, type @ in the omnibox, press space (or tab), then type a Twitter account name, then enter. You'll see the Twitter profile page for the account. If not found, you'll see a "That account doesn't exist" message with the term you searched for in a search box.
4. Find a phrase
I also find it useful to be able to select a phrase, right-click, then search Twitter from a web page. The most reliable extension I've found for this is Twitter Search It. The downside is that the extension is in Japanese, which I don't speak. But the Search On Twitter extension, which is in English, has never worked consistently for me. Most often, I use phrase search to find what people say about new services, apps, and technologies.
5. Access lists
If you use Twitter lists, the Twitter Lists Redux extension lets you access a list with a single click, instead of three. It displays a link to each of your lists on your Twitter home page. Otherwise, Twitter buries your lists in a secondary menu you access by selecting your image (in the upper right), then choosing Lists from the menu.
6. Switch accounts
For users with multiple accounts, the Twitcher extension enables you to quickly switch to a different Twitter account. Normally, Twitter only allows one account to be logged in: You have to logout, then login again to access another account. Install Twitcher, choose Add account, and login—then you can switch between accounts from the profile menu.
The last two extensions mentioned above both broke when Twitter changed the design and layout of the site in mid-June 2017. However, both developers, @_tomitm (Twitter Lists Redux) and @ThomSeddon (Twitcher), updated these extensions within a day of the change.
7. See several streams
Finally, Twitter's own TweetDeck Launcher extension does just what the name describes: It opens a new tab and launches TweetDeck. TweetDeck remains one of the easiest ways to see multiple columns of Twitter streams. It's especially useful if you want to follow a hashtag to keep up with a conference in one column, view a Twitter list in another, while also seeing your usual home stream.
If you use Twitter and Chrome, do you use any of the above extensions? What's your experience with them been? What other extensions do you recommend? Follow @TechRepublic and @awolber on Twitter—and let us know which extensions you use!
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Getting started with Twitter? Accounts to follow:
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Andy Wolber helps people understand and leverage technology for social impact. He resides in Albuquerque, NM with his wife, Liz, and daughter, Katie.