Sunday, December 7, 2008

Twitter and Other Blogging Tools

While still recovering from discomfort related to the surgery the other day, I had a moment of inspiration between Hugh Hewitt's post and my frozen garage. I've already mentioned a bit of the history of this "blog", so why not describe what I'm currently doing and where I think I'm headed as well?

Lately there has been much buzz about Twitter. Like other things, I'd heard of it and then sort of back-burnered it until recently. Now I'm really getting into it and enjoying the new discoveries I've made with it. And since I signed myself up to be a mentor, why not have a little summary of what I think I know now?

I'm less of a "traditional" blogger and more of a linkburner:
Linkburner: I share what I like from my RSS feeds with Twitter (and vise-versa, and mish-mashed). I hope others might enjoy the items I share as well.
In part, I doff my figurative hat to the many folks who express themselves much better than I tend to by recirculating various articles that attract my interest via my own means. I had been doing that before I'd gotten into Twitter, so it became moreso an extension of what I was already doing. As I try to point out on this site, "It's the Feeds!"

Moving to Twitter

The feed that I consider to be the "main attraction" is my Google Reader Shared Items. I am most recently calling this my Linkblog. This feed of course is "RSS-able", meaning that it can be syndicated and subscribed to by anyone who might care to.

I have about 100 feeds (some of which are displayed in the Blogroll) from which I draw much of my material that I share. At some point I had come across a GreaseMonkey script, which I now note has been tweaked due to a recent change in Reader, that allowed me to tweet from a single click right out of Reader.

This was the precursor to my involvement with Twitter. Once I had gotten involved, I started searching the web for numerous Twitter tools and gadgets. And that brings us fairly close to the present.

Twitter Tools I Use

There are oodles of tools that turn up if I search on "Google Reader Twitter". Some I currently use or have tried out. Tailor your own search to your favorite existing tools and I'm sure that there is some common ground and some tools specific to your usage. Most folks have heard of TinyURL, which is useful on its own but especially so in the Twitter world: the 140-character limit makes using these "tinying" URL redirecters indispensable. I mostly use, (I like click-tracking), but there are many available -- SnipURL might be another popular one. For these couple I have mentioned, I like the bookmarklet sitting at the ready on my Firefox.

Another tool that has come into much use for me lately is TwitterFeed. Here is where I have automated tweeting from my Google Reader Shared Items feed to my Twitter account. It is more geared towards a blog feed, but any (or many) RSS or atom feed(s) can be set up.

[Click for full-size image.]

(There seems to be some issue with TwitterFeed returning to the logged-in state after logging in -- I make the seemingly failed attempt to login and then return to its home page and find myself logged in.)

Other Things

Following who seems interested in what I find interesting is something that Twitter seems quite good at. I like TwInfluence and TwitterGrader for that. There are some desktop applications, such as Twhirl and TweetDeck, both of which I have and make occasional use of; BrightKit also caught my attention recently.

But I'm mostly operating out of the browser, which for me is Firefox. I like the add-ons TwitterFox and PowerTwitter. Keep searching for "Twitter tools" and find new things. Just don't forget to have something of interest to tweet.

Just now I discovered TweetWheel, so I've got something new to check out.


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Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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