SocialToo Now Policing Twitter

Who’s job is it to police Twitter? Twitter? The users? Lately there has been a trend calling for the end of automatic direct messages. By using a service, such as Tweet Later, people can setup their account to automatically send a direct message to new followers. While I do not personally use the automatic direct message feature of Tweet Later, I can understand why people would use it. It could be a huge time saver for those that are on Twitter that have huge followings.

The campaign to end automatic direct messages is being lead by SocialToo, who up until February 28th was one of the main services doing automatic direct messages. I will not get into the debate whether automatic direct messages are right or wrong. They exist and are a part of Twitter. I do not mind the direct messages that I receive when I follow a new person. Some contain interesting links, some are friendly hello’s and yes some are blatant sales pitches. The problem with the campaign that is being lead by SocialToo is the way they they are going about it.

They have setup a new Twitter account, endautodms, that people can send a message to @endautodms with the name of the person they think are doing automatic direct messages. Endautodms will then follow that person and they are placed on “the list”. A tweet to endautodms would then look like the following:
endautodms

This method to police automatic direct messages turns into nothing but a witch hunt. They are welcome to create a blacklist if they want but making is a visible social blacklist can damage people and companies reputations. Automatic direct messages might have problems but shaming people into stopping seems to be more suitable to high school.

So who should be policing Twitter and automatic direct messages? SocialToo seems to think they should, what do you think?

Automate Twitter

Tweet Later logo
It seems like everyone is talking about Twitter. It appears that Twitter is becoming more mainstream. You can even find CBC News on Twitter. Have you ever wondered how some of those people manage to have 10,000 plus followers and how did they follow that many people in return? Well one of the ways to follow and be followed by so many people is to automate the process by using a website called Tweet Later.

Now some people might consider the use Tweet Later as cheating. After all isn’t the point of Twitter to connect with people and have conversations with them? That might be true, but I can see how Tweet Later does provide a useful service that can help save you time if you use Twitter. Just because you sign up for Tweet Later does not mean that you have to use all of the features that it provides. You can set it to automate only the things that you really want to have happen.

For example, you might like to automatically unfollow any one that stops following you. This can take time to fiquire out who has stopped following you and then unfollow them. With Tweet Later you can set it to automatically unfollow people that unfollow you. No longer do you have to sift through your followers to see who is no longer following you.

Of course there are other features that might appeal more to those that are using Twitter to broadcast themselves to a wider audience. You can set Tweet Later to automatically follow people that follow you, to send automatic direct messages to new followers, and as the website name implies, you can have Tweet Later tweet for you while you are away.

Aside from automating some of the regular Twitter tasks that people do you can do all of your tweeting and replying right from inside of Tweet Later. You can see who has replied to you, reply back to them, send a new tweet, retweet, and manage multiple Twitter accounts, in the event that you tweet for more than one organization. All that and it is free!

For those that do use Twitter more than just for personal reasons Tweet Later also offers a professional version that costs $29.97/month that allows you to do everything above plus things like integrate with Ping.fm, schedule direct message, replies, recurring tweets, and use it to help monitor topics that you are interested in.

I enjoy Twitter as a tool to connect with people, to learn about things that are going on in the world and to help others with their web problems. What I don’t like about Twitter is the time it takes to follow and unfollow people. I like to tweet and connect and I can see how Tweet Later helps people do that. It can also be useful for those that are looking at using Twitter to broadcast their message to a wider audience. Twitter can bring a significant number of visitors to a website and Tweet Later can help people manage that aspect of their website promotion.

If you are on Twitter you might want to give Tweet Later a try. They offer a free version and it does not take long to create an account. By automating some tasks on Twitter you can focus on just tweeting!

Don’t forget you can always follow me on Twitter if you want to know what I am up too.

Twitter Toys

I have been using Twitter for a while now and have found it to be a lot of fun to use. Not only is it a great way to connect with people, it has also been a great resource to get people’s opinions and suggestions. Using Twitter does not have to be all work though because part of the reason to use it is to show that you are not just some mindless corporate robot. You want to show your human side, and of course as human beings we need to play once in awhile. With that in mind here are some of the Twitter toys that I find amusing.

TwitterLocal

Since moving to Regina it has been fun to connect with some more local people on Twitter. Finding local people can be a little hard, since the Twitter search really does not give you many options for searching. TwitterLocal to the rescue! Enter a city, state or postal code/zip code and you can get RSS feeds of local Twitterers to follow. You can subscribe to the RSS feed in your feed reader or you can view the latest Tweets and click through to follow the people you are interested in. It has been great to find some local people to connect with. Someday maybe we could even get a Regina Tweetup going, who knows.

Twitter Grader

Twitter Grader is addictive, you have been warned. Face it you want to know how you stack up against all the other Twitter users out there right? It is fun to see how you stack up against the mob. I think I do pretty good, a 98.6 out of 100. Considering I don’t try very hard. They have badges you can add to your website/blog and they even have a Twitter Elite. Depending on what your location is. I have not quite made the Twitter Elite in Canada yet, but maybe someday.
Here is a sample of the badge you can add to your website/blog.

TwitterCounter

TwitterCounter does just that counts the number of followers you have and gives you a badge that you can place on website/blog. Similar to a RSS subscriber count it is a great way to show how popular you are on Twitter. Not only does it give you a button to place on you website it also predicts how many followers you will have in the future. You can see my TwitterCounter button over on the sidebar.

TweetValue

This is a new one that I just found today. Enter your Twitter username and it will give you an estimated value of what your Twitter is worth. Not sure if it is per tweet or the overall value of your account, but I suppose it does not really matter. My account came back at $445.00 today. If someone wants to give me $445.00 for a tweet let me know, I might be interested. 😉 Of course they offer badges for you to place on your website/blog as well.

twubble

Looking for some new friends to follow? twubble will help to find you some. It looks at the people you already follow and finds others that they follow that you might be interested in. You can even follow them right from the twubble page.

Twittad

If you are looking to make a few extra dollars before Christmas, Twittad might be for you. I have not personally tried this service but Twittad places advertisements on your profile background. It is not as intrusive as the new service called Magpie, that actually tweets ads on your account. At least with Twittad you can set your own price for your background. If you visit the Twittad website you can find some people that have actually sold their profile backgrounds so you can see what they look like. If I had to choose between Twittad and Magpie I would go with Twittad.

TwitterTag

I am a little biased on TwitterTag since I own a part of it along with Rhett. If you subscribe to my RSS feed, you might already be familiar with my TwitterTag. TwitterTag makes it easy for you to place your latest tweet using the badge that it creates. It is different than many of the other Twitter badge sites because it actually outputs an image and does not use Javascript. That makes it easy to use in the footers of RSS feeds, on your website/blog, on forums or other places where you can add an image. You can change the colours of the border, background, text, header etc.

Here is a sample of a TwitterTag with the default colours.

We have plans to add other sizes of images, maybe a top Twitter users list and a few other surprises. Just need to get some time to work on the site.

Those are my favourite Twitter toys, what are your favourite Twitter toys? You are also welcome to follow me on Twitter if you want to know what I am up to.

Twitter Toolkit

Twitter is everywhere these days, and I was sceptical at first but I have become a fan. It becomes a great tool to use to find out information from various sources. For example, today I have been considering ordering some business cards. I have not had any for awhile and thought I would ask people on Twitter if they

  1. Thought business cards were still important for online workers?
  2. Where do they get them.

I got several responses that were very helpful. Twitter was able to provide me with valuable information from people in a very timely manner. I have not ordered any cards yet, but I have taken note of people’s responses and will be looking into the places they recommended.

Everyone has different preferences for using Twitter, but I thought I would share my Twitter toolkit.

  • TwitterFox – I use my Firefox browser for everything. More and more Firefox is becoming the only application I load often. I use it to do word processing with Google Docs, email with Gmail, blogging, and so when I went looking for a Twitter client I went looking for a Firefox addon. I tried several and TwitterFox is my favourite.
  • Twitterfeed – I use Twitterfeed to post to Twitter when I have updated either this blog or Video Rambler.
  • TwitResponse – To be honest I have not actually used this service yet, but I have signed up. I like the idea, but it takes away some of the interactivity that I like about Twitter.
  • Twitter – I don’t log into the web interface for Twitter very often, but I have been spending more time using my Nokia 6275i and I have not found a Twitter client that works on it, so if I Tweet from my cell phone it is usually from the Twitter web interface.
  • Jott – This is another service that I am thinking of using to Tweet. Not only that but I am thinking of using it to blog with as well. I hope to write up a review of this service soon, but I think it offers some great possibilities to stay in touch on Twitter.

What is in your Twitter toolkit?

Of course you can follow me on Twitter and keep up to date with all the little tidbits that go on between blog posts.

Twitter Update

I have become a Twitter convert. I finally get it. I have had my issues with Twitter in the past (here and here) but thanks to Rhett I think I have finally gotten the idea behind it. Sure it is a way to broadcast what you are doing to people, but in someways it is like public Instant Messenger. Rhett and I have been using Twitter with Epiblogger, which messes up some people off because there are two of us using one account, but it has been a useful tool. Instead of emailing back and for all day long, we just check our Twitter feed and respond when we have time. It has been great.

With the Epiblogger Twitter going so well I thought I should start to use it as LGR again. So I updated my photo, removed some of the Twitterfeeds and installed Twitterfox so I can just Tweet from my browser. I was using Twitbin for the Epiblogger Twitter account, but TwitterFox makes it easy to switch between multiple accounts so I think I will use it.

To make Twitter more fun and to network with others you need to have followers and follow them so if you are interested in my ramblings of a professional web master or in getting links to videos that might not make it to Video Rambler come and follow me on Twitter. The more the merrier.

What Are You Doing?

Anyone that uses Twitter knows that question well. When I first discovered Twitter about six months ago I really did not get the point. Seeing the seemingly endless Twits made me almost feel sick. My first thought was why would someone want to broadcast their life like that.blank1.gif

I have to admit I do not use Twitter to its full potential. I hope to change some of that. I have been reading Caroline Middlebrook’s Twitter Guide and have already discovered some new tidbits of information. Her explaination of Twitter as a broadcast medium has helped me understand more about what Twitter is about than all of the other guides I have read.

Caroline also had this great video embeded in her Twitter guide, and since I am very much a video learner I wanted to embed it here.

I look forward to reading all of the Twitter Guide and becoming a better Twitter user.blank1.gif

Newbies Guide to Twitter

I am still not sure if I get Twitter, but I came across this Newbies Guide to Twitter over at chrisbrogan.com. I particularly liked this quote

Most people who see Twitter the first time either flat-out “get it,” or they say, “why bother?”

I have to admit I think I am in the “why bother” camp, but I am open to trying new things. I think I will give Twitter another look next week after my big project is done.

Twitter – Convince Me?

Everywhere I go I keep seeing posts and talk about Twitter. It was a post called “Get Your Content onto Twitter” that got me curious enough to check it out. I created an account, checked out TwitThis and twitterfeed and I was off and running.

I have to say, as first impressions go, Twitter has not made it into my good books. I find it full of useless, bit sized information. Sure you can find Digg and CNN on Twitter, but if I want to read Digg and CNN I can subscribe to the RSS feeds and get much more information quickly, instead of the little snippets.

Perhaps I just need to spend more time using Twitter before I can truly say I dislike it. After all it has not even been 24 hours. Is there a Twitter expert out there that can convince me of the value of Twitter and how to best use it?