Sometimes, it’s not what you know but who you know that counts — and that certainly is the case on social networks these days. One of the best features on Facebook is the way it shows you all of the mutual friends you have in common with someone who wants to connect with you. Unfortunately, this is a missing feature on Twitter, but there are several third-party web apps that can fill the void. Here’s a rundown of some of the better tools available today.
Twitual has a simple interface. It does require you to enter the Twitter username of each person you want to check mutual friends for, which takes a little time and effort. It’s not so bad if you only want to check a couple of new followers, but if you get a bunch of new followers every day then it could require a lot of work. Besides that, it’s also very slow, because it pulls a tremendous amount of data for each user it analyzes, such as people that follow them that they don’t follow, as well as those they follow but don’t follow them back. There’s also a similar service called MutualTweeps, but in my tests the results were generally very disappointing, sometimes only showing one mutual friend when I knew there should’ve been hundreds.
Ul.timate.info is a Firefox add-on that offers the ability to display the mutual friends you have in common with any Twitter username you hover your mouse cursor over on Twitter.com. This is much easier than typing in usernames, but it does require the Firefox browser.
Twtfrnd offers a decent solution even though you do have to enter the username of the user you want to check, as well as your own Twitter username. The results are very good, though: You get a page view of Twitter profile photos that reveal useful information for each user when you move your mouse cursor over their photo such as their Twitter bio, number of updates (perhaps indicating how much traffic their tweets will generate in your stream) and when they joined Twitter. I do wish it also showed each user’s follow back ratio by displaying how many people they follow and how many follow them.
Refollow might be the best tool in this roundup. It doesn’t just provide a list of mutual friends — it also allows you to filter things just about any way imaginable. To display mutual friends, enter the username, then select the check box that filters their followers to just show only those that you know and follow. You can also choose to display only the people that follow this new follower and see if anyone you know and like feels this new person is worthy of a follow back. You can even pick and choose several at a time to follow back with a single click.
What are some other tools that you’ve used to find mutual friends that we missed here? Please share them in the comments.