Tweet smarter (Part 2)

Recently we ran an article on interfaces to improve your Twitter experience. For you tech whizzes (and generally smart people out there) who have already figured out and tired of the options provided, we’re back with more.

The most vibrant Twitter management option available is definitely Twimbow, a web application that specializes in color-coding your Twitter activities. Twimbow works with a dashboard system similar to TweetDeck and HootSuite, and builds up new tweets much like the standard Twitter site does. However, it’s particularly well-suited for visually-oriented users (or just folks who like a splash of color) because it arranges tweets to you, tweets from you, and so on, into different colors. It also allows you to tweet and view tweets in different colors, which can be useful or just a lot of fun.

Twimbow is a colorful alternative to the native twitter website. Screenshot by Brian Hollingsworth.

On a less-colorful but still very useful note, Twimbow also provides a simple collection of data above the “personal buzz” feed (your interactions, in other words) showing how many mentions of you are left unread, how many times you’ve been retweeted since you last checked, and so on.

The downside is that Twimbow’s future is currently uncertain, due to some new regulations by Twitter. The app should remain functional for several months, however, until Twitter comes out with a new version.

Last, but certainly not least, comes TweetChat. TweetChat works a bit differently than the other programs here because it’s not a dashboard-type program for managing different parts of your Twitter experience. Instead, it’s designed to make participating in Twitter chats a whole lot easier.

Twitter chats are where a group of Twitter-users get together at a specific time to discuss a specific topic, keeping track of each others replies by tagging each tweet with a predetermined hashtag. Obvious difficulties with this include remembering to put the hashtag in, having to pull up a compose tweet window every time you want to reply, and having to type out retweets when the conversation is moving at the speed of people who spend a lot of time typing. TweetChat takes care of all these things by automatically including the hashtag at the end of your tweets, implementing a non-popout compose tweet window, and modifying the retweet process to be quick and customizable. You can also block users you don’t want to converse with, or favorite users whose tweets you want to appear in an especially-noticable format.

TweetChat is great for participating in Twitter chats. Screenshot by Brian Hollingsworth.

As stated in Tweet smarter (Part 1), HootSuite also has the potential to work nicely for Twitter chats because of the refresh mechanism and the unobtrusive compose tweet window. TweetDeck’s update system makes it more difficult to keep up with the conversation (sometimes it takes a few minutes before new tweets start coming in, at which point the conversation has moved on), and Twimbow’s compose tweet window is just too large and bulky to be functional in such a rapid environment.

Regardless of which (if any) of these applications you settle on, each one has the potential to make your Twitter experience richer and more engaging than it would be just using the default option. You don’t have to be a hardcore Twitter-guru to dig these apps (though you certainly can be), just a little bit adventurous.