These third-party apps for iOS, Android, and the web can show you interesting people and news that you might not otherwise see.
Twitter remains one of the most widely-used social media platforms around--especially in the world of technology news. Twitter's own apps for iOS, Android, or web can be a great way to track what technology companies and leaders are up to around the world. With those apps, you can follow accounts, create and edit lists, search, and bookmark tweets for later reference.
The Twitter app offers you a couple of ways to order tweets: By algorithm (e.g., the option to Show Best Tweets First) or by time, with the most recent tweets shown first.
Several third-party services let you sort tweets by different criteria; these apps show you interesting people, news, and/or ideas that you might otherwise not discover. They also allow you to save, group, and share tweets in a variety of ways.
To use any of these apps, you'll need a Twitter account. You'll also need an iPhone in order to use all five of these apps, although a few offer email, Android, or web alternatives, as well.
SEE: Social media policy (Tech Pro Research)
Most retweeted: Nuzzel
Nuzzel shows you the most shared tweets from people you follow. For example, a tweet shared by four people you follow will be listed above a tweet shared by three people you follow. In essence, Nuzzel re-orders tweets based on retweets from people you follow (Figure A).
The app also sorts Twitter lists--you can see the most shared tweets from any of your own lists, as well as any public Twitter lists created by others. This can help you see news shared among a smaller set of accounts. The app also supports an email service, which allows you to select tweets to then share with subscribers via email.
Nuzzel is a free app, although the company does offer "intelligence reports" that seek to identify important news within specific fields. Fees for this optional service start at $39 per month (when paid annually) for five intelligence reports with up to 10 recipients per report.
Most liked, most followed: Macaw
Available on: iOS
Macaw shows you the most liked tweets from people you follow. This reveals an additional set of signals: Often people like a tweet, but don't retweet it. Macaw lets you explore this set of otherwise hard-to-see tweets (Figure B).
Macaw also reveals accounts that people in your network have followed, and sorts these to show the most-followed accounts first. If you've followed a smart and interesting set of people, they'll often lead you to other smart and interesting people. As of November 2018, Macaw is free, with in-app donation options.
The team behind Macaw also offers another service, Daily140.com. That service works much like Macaw, but via email: Select a few accounts and you'll get a daily email of the items those accounts liked and followed. You can track up to 3 accounts for free, or, optionally, upgrade for $5 per month to track up to 10 accounts.
Available on: iOS
The Threader app curates and helps you read and manage multi-tweet sequences. To make a thread easier to read, the app shows you the contents of the thread, but hides the action icons (e.g., reply, retweet, favorite, and share) and profile photo that the default Twitter app displays. You can also bookmark any thread you want to save to read or refer to later and adjust both the font and font size (Figure D).
The free app features several threads grouped into categories, such as: Tech, Life, Business, Society, and more. New threads are selected and show daily. A premium upgrade, for $2 per month (or $20 per year), shows you threads shared by accounts you follow. The upgrade also adds a dark mode and support for offline reading of bookmarked threads.
Available on: iOS
Charm, which is free, gives you a mobile-friendly way to gather and organize groups of tweets, also known as collections. A Twitter collection consists of a set of tweets you select and can share for any purpose. For example: When I teach a course, I have a public Twitter collection that I share with my students and add tweets to for them to explore and discuss (Figure E).
Charm makes it easy to search and filter tweets, then add them to a collection. You may also narrow your search to your Twitter favorites or your Twitter lists, among other criteria. If you're an avid Twitter user who wants to group and share sets of tweets, you should definitely explore Twitter collections. In a browser, TweetDeck lets you create and manage Twitter collections.
I use all five of these apps often--in some cases, daily. Have you tried any of these apps? Have they become a regular part of your news reading routine? After you've given these a try, let me know what you think, either in the comments or, of course, on Twitter ( @awolber).
Editor's note on Feb. 25, 2019: The Mendo app was featured when this article was first published; however, the references to the app have been removed because it is no longer available for download. According to an email from Mendo: "You will no longer receive Mendo emails going forward, and the app will no longer update with new content. All data will be deleted, so please save any bookmarks elsewhere. You may also want to remove our API access at https://twitter.com/settings/sessions."
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