I had intended to make Twitterology part of the “J-Term” focus for SMUG, but with the launch of Sharing Mayo Clinic I’m still behind both in the Twitter curriculum and in the evaluation of the pros and cons (and the step-by-step process) of moving from WordPress.com to a self-hosted WordPress blog.
Time to get started!
Tweetdeck and Twhirl are desktop applications for your computer that help you manage your interactions with Twitter to be more effective and efficient. Nine months ago, Chris Miller compared the two and though Twhirl was better. In this post I’m not attempting an exhaustive comparison, but just hopefully giving you a taste of what you can do, so you will be encouraged to explore the benefits of each for yourself.
One nice advantage of Twhirl is that you can have multiple little windows open for several Twitter accounts. I have, for example, @leeaase, @SMUG_U and, for work, @mayoclinic. So with Twhirl I can monitor all three simultaneously (and it also supports some other platforms like Friendfeed.)
If you just have one Twitter account to monitor, an advantage of Tweetdeck is that it lets you have multiple panes open in one big window. So on my @leeaase account I can have my @replies in one pane, my direct messages in another, all my friends in a third and a search for “mayo clinic” in a fourth. Then I can toggle between Tweetdeck and my other applications and see instantly if something new is showing up. And when I’m at my desk and have an external monitor, I can devote that monitor to Tweetdeck and just give a quick glance to see if there is anything new.
This screen shot shows the multi-pane approach for Tweetdeck (click to enlarge):
This screen shot shows how I can have both my @leeaase account and the @mayoclinic account monitored in Twhirl:
This is a case in which you really can’t lose. Both Tweetdeck and Twhirl offer significantly increased functionality as compared with the basic Twitter Web interface.
For your Twitter 106 homework, you need to get hands-on experience with Tweetdeck, Twhirl or both, and share your impressions with your fellow SMUGgles.
- If you haven’t previously, download and install Tweetdeck and/or Twhirl.
- Try some of the quick buttons that let you Retweet, Favorite, Reply, Direct and otherwise interact with your Tweeps. Compare how easy they are with what it takes to accomplish the same tasks through the Twitter Web interface.
- Share your impressions with your fellow SMUGgles in the comments below, or have a discussion using the #smug hashtag.