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 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.