How I Twitter

I’ve been finding over the past few months I’ve been using Twitter more and more. I have used it for quite a while, but recently I’ve found both more friends and colleagues using Twitter, and have found more people I wanted to follow. There has definitely been a surge in interest over the last six months, and it’s being seen in more surprising places, such as a Twitter joke on the election night Colbert/Stewart show, or on one of the many mobile phones of Stephen Fry.

So I thought I’d write about how I use it, seeing as I’ve been doing so for a while, and found myself a nice set of tools to help me.

First thing in the morning

I like to update both Twitter and Facebook first thing, so to kill two birds with one stone (actually a few other social networks too) I use Ping.fm . This allows me to subscribe to multiple social networks, and post my status to all of them from one place. They did also have a Facebook application I used for a while, however this has been broken since about the time the new version of Facebook launched, and they haven’t updated it to work yet.

On the move

Until recently I used a Nokia N95, and so I tended to use the mobile version of ping.fm from a browser. Now I’m on an iPhone, I’m using that for posting, and the Twitterrific application (link to UK iTunes store) for reading other people’s tweets.

On the desktop

I’ve used twhirl for a little while now, as it is an Adobe Air application, it runs nicely on all platforms including Linux. In an ideal world I’d like something that combined Twitter nicely with IM and other social networks, and although several applications have come close, nothing is quite there on the Mac yet. My only real gripe with twhirl is that I’d like to size the window a bit smaller, other than that, it has a lot of functionality, and displays incoming tweets rather nicely. I’ll post on twitter mostly from there in the day and evening.

Sharing links on Twitter

This may not be the most obvious route, but to post a link on Twitter I use the Mahalo Share Firefox extension. You’ll need an account on Mahalo, which if you haven’t come across it, is trying to be a human version of Google, with user-submitted links reviewed by their staff. Once a member, you can set up the extension properly, and have a single button in Firefox you can click whilst on a page to submit the link to Mahalo, and to many other sites in one go. I mainly use it as a quick way of saving links at Delicious, but I have it set up with several accounts, so I can also post the link on Twitter, Facebook or elsewhere too. A series of checkboxes allows you to choose which service(s) each link is posted to.

Adding tweets to my blog

I had been doing this by a more tiresome method until recently, however I’ve just discovered the Twitter WordPress Sidebar Widget. Don’t be put off by the fact it hasn’t been updated for a long time, it’s nice and simple, and works fine with my WordPress 2.6 installation.

Sites I read about Twitter

There are a couple of Twitter new sites that have started recently, Twitip and Twitterrati. I’m subscribed to the feeds for both, and have found them both useful. In fact this post was inspired by a recent article at Twitip. I’ve also used Twitterlocal and Twitter Grader to see who else is twittering near me, and how I compare to other Twitter users.

So there you have it: a little insight into the various ways I interact with Twitter. How about you?

Spicebird 0.4 available for download

Spicebird is an open-source collaboration suite. Simply put, it is built on Mozilla’s Thunderbird code, and also includes calendars, instant messaging, notes, contacts, feed reading and an old-school news reader. It look nice, is well put-together thus far, has a lot of integration with Google applications such as gmail and calendar, and is shaping up nicely. It isn’t there yet, you can only use Jabber (including Google Talk) with it thus far, you can only import Google Calendars thus far, but I’m in the market for something that I can stealthily replace Lotus Notes with on Linux, and this has some potential.

I’ve tested Spicebird out quickly, it works on 64 bit Kubuntu without much complaint, it seems fairly intuitive, and definitely has a lot of potential. If I could have all my IM accounts in there (so MSN, AOL, Yahoo, ICQ, IRC as well as what it does at the moment) I’d be interested. If it could do social networking like Flock does, I’d be very interested. If they could build Firefox into it, so all my desktop tabs mixed with my web tabs, I’d be incredibly interested. All these all possible, I just wish I could sit down for the next few weeks and write them myself (if only).

EDIT 2014 update: Spicebird is no more, but some of its ideas are availbable as plugins for Thunderbird, and Mozilla even now offers its own IM client, Instantbird.

Gmail and AIM – together at last

So now Google Talk within Gmail has support for AIM. Google ask that other networks get in touch with them if they are interested in being included. Well what about the networks and systems that are available already? How about Jabber as a whole? Seeing as Google Talk is based on Jabber, surely this would be easy to offer? And for a bigger ask, what about IRC for us oldsters that have been around a while?

I’m hoping against hope for Jabber and MSN to be added. I’m really not counting on the latter happening any times soon, but it would be so good. I currently use Meebo to be logged into my IM accounts on my browser, as it seems to do this the best out of the things I’ve tried, but if Google Talk could add a few more systems for me, I’d be very tempted to move over.