Twitter continues its march of social networking dominance, spurred even further into the spotlight thanks to a recent high profile race to a million followers between Ashton Kutcher and CNN, and Oprah Winfrey’s decision to sign up this past Friday. Along with its massive increase in popularity comes a growing library of useful third-party Twitter tools. Here are four new web apps that offer unique features that could be especially beneficial to web workers.
twi.bz: Better Name-Dropping in Shortened URLs
URL shortening is a necessity when using Twitter thanks to its strict 140 character limit. Some URLs exceed that limit by themselves, even without any context. The problem with most URL shorteners, though, including bit.ly and TinyURL, is that they mask the site of origin of the story, so you can easily be misled by tricky taglines or overlook something you may otherwise have clicked on.
twi.bz offers URL shortening that preserves the root domain name, so you can still show your followers, and Twitter users in general, where your content is coming from. For example, “http://webworkerdaily.com/2009/04/18/how-i-made-a-standing-workstation-for-1999/” becomes “http://webworkerdaily.twi.bz/b”. It’s great for bloggers and other people who want to promote a company’s name as well as its content. Corporate clients will be especially impressed if you’re running their social networking for them — you can preserve their branding as much as possible on Twitter.
localtweeps: Make Twitter More Relevant by Bringing it Closer to Home
The global reach of Twitter makes it a great tool for online work, but sometimes you or your client need to reach local customers in order to be effective. That’s harder to accomplish on Twitter, as geography takes a backseat. Some iPhone clients let you search for tweets according to proximity to your current location, but it’s harder to do on the web.
Localtweeps allows you to list your Twitter account in their database and attach a zip or postal code to it. Other users can then search for you using their own zip, or browse by city, state (or province). That way you can connect with other local businesses in your area, which might be very useful, depending on the type of work you do. So far only the U.S. and Canada are supported, but they plan to expand service to include other countries down the line.
tweefind: Twitter Search Un-Democratized
Part of Twitter’s appeal has been that people who are relatively unknown can become respected authorities using it. That may change as more and more celebs begin tweeting and seeking followers. But sometimes the democracy of the service makes finding useful tweets using Twitter’s search facility tricky.
Now you can run a search that takes into account user rankings and puts results from more powerful users (those with the most followers) at the top, instead of ranking results by most recently posted.
It’s not clear exactly how tweefind’s search algorithm works, or how they’re ranking users beyond follower count, but it’s a good way to see what info about a given search term is reaching the widest audience.
TweetLaw: Twitter for Lawyers and Law Students
TweetLaw is a specialized web-based app that delivers tweets focused at the legal community. It provides a general stream of all law tweets, and different categories so that you can drill down your results even further. For example, you can concentrate only on copyright and fair use law. It can be very handy if you’re working in the legal field, or need to take the pulse of the professional community. Hopefully similar sites will spring up for other professions.
As Twitter continues to grow, the veritable cottage industry that has sprung up around it will keep expanding, too. Chances are, if there’s something you wish you could do with Twitter, someone has or will create an app that does just that. Of course, we’ll continue to keep you up to date with news and reviews of the latest Twitter apps. Follow us at @webworkerdaily.
What Twitter apps do you use?