Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Twitter: Beyond Tweeting

A few weeks ago, we talked about Twitter and how to use it beyond the mundane "I'm going to ..." posts. With the proliferation of "smart phones," and more specifically web-enabled phones, and the fact that 80% of Twitter usage is on mobile devices (imagine what that means for bad customer experiences!), it should come as no surprise that Twitter is being used beyond tweeting.

Twitter's open API (OAuth) allows 3rd party applications & services to extend the microblogging service beyond novice tweeting reinventing what one can do in a 140-characters or less. Once Twitter evolved from just a status updating platform, it was photo sharing that came to the scene next.
Twitter Media
Consequently, photo-sharing services will not be covered as an alternative in today's beyond tweeting list. This includes indirect photo-sharing services like FriendFeed, via SMS or email like Posterous & Twitxr or others out there. For those who are interested, however, here are a few of the direct photo-sharing services worth noting: TwitPic, TweetPhoto, Pikchur, Picktor, yfrog and Twitgoo. Another new comer is Flickr2Twitter, which was Flickr announced the end of June, 2009.

So ... what else can you do with Twitter; beyond tweeting, that is?

1. Exchange Business Cards

twtBizCard is awesome if most of your business contacts are on Twitter. The service lets you set up an electronic business card that can be easily tweeted to your contacts by sending them an @reply with the hastag #twtBizCard.

I can't say that I've had the opportunity to put the service to a real life test, but I'm very familiar with the concept --I use Contxts to send SMS cards, and I love it. iPhone users have at least 8 free options to send an e-business card from their phone in addition to using Contxts. But hey, this is about Twitter and how to use it beyond tweeting; remember? (I'm reminding myself)

2. Twitter As Someone Else

The addicting cTwitLike allows you to view Tweets from those being followed by a certain user. They've improved the interface quite a bit, but even before then, the service has proven to be very interesting and fun to use. Simply enter the Twitter name of anyone (celebrity-watching anyone?) and you'll see all the latest tweets from the tweople that person follows.

3. Social Bookmarking Anyone?

Bookmarking is not a new concept, obviously. And services like Delicious out there are plenty. I personally rely mostly on Xmarks (previously known as Foxmarks), and on my account (must be logged in) with Bit.ly.
Fleck Lite
To bookmark what you tweet, however, requires a whole new service. Namely one that combines the feature of a URL shortener like Bit.ly and the accessibility of Xmarks or Delicious. And for me, a bookmarklet is an absolute must. Enter Fleck (lite edition). If you share a lot of links on Twitter, like I do, and you want the option to remember them later, Fleck (lite) is for you. Here's a video that should help familiarize you with the service, if you're not using it already:

4. And Share Some More

I'm sure you already know that you can share pictures on Twitter (and I mentioned a few lines above), but how about sharing your music? Want to share your videos on Twitter? How about sharing any file you want (with a size limit, of course)?

Twitter Filesharing

That's right. There are services out there that do just that. Let's go down that list, shall we? For music, there are simply many out there. After all, it depends on what you want to do really. Blip.fm and Song.ly top that list based on my observations in the Twittersphere. One that should be added to that list, however, is Songza. Personally, I'm more of the type that listens to my own collection or a radio station that has a web presence. For my own collection, I stream it from my house without exposing what files I have and don't have using Orb.

For video ... I've honestly not used any! So I'm just going to list the ones I know of. It would be great if I got back some comments back on why one is preferred over the others.
It's my understanding that YouTube positioned itself as the way to share video inside of Twitter's status updates; but again, I don't have that confirmed. Other services include TwitVid.io, TwitVid.com, Tweetube, twitLENS, Twitc and Twiddeo.

As I previously mentioned, you can really share any file on Twitter. FileSocial gives you a maximum file size of 50MBs to share your heart out. With sign-up, which gives you 20MBs, you can send a person-to-person file privately using FileTwt. The downside is they don't use OAuth for authentication.

5. Train, Show, Demonstrate and Educate

Screenr allows you to record screencasts for your Twitter followers with their web-based tool, and without the need for any installation. This makes the web-based tool available on PCs and Macs. And the screencast will play on iPhones too. Screenr's seamless integration with Twitter makes it easy to post your completed screencast as soon as your done with it.
Screencasters have a few handy tools at their disposal including the bookmarklet, which allows you to click to record from anywhere on the web. We also like that users can opt not to tweet screencasts, one-click publish to YouTube, download the .mp4 file for personal keeping, and grab the embed code to share on the web. --Quoted from Mashable.com
As a bookmarklet freak, Screenr had me at "record."

There are many other things you can do with Twitter beyond tweeting. The above five are just a glimpse of the applications/services available out there at your disposal. Do you have one you'd like to share with the rest of us? Let us know in the comments.  ▣

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