I’ve mentioned multiple times I’m a fan of multiple Twitter clients. I’m a big fan of TweetDeck due to its Twitter and Facebook support, the TwitScoop support, and groups and saved searches support. It’s also pretty stable and doesn’t kill my computer when I use it. I’m a big fan of Seesmic Desktop because it has group support and multiple Twitter account support (along with Facebook support). I love Tweetie because of its simplicity, lack of memory usage, native support for the Mac, and the iPhone version I like for the same reason. I also love CoTweet for its easy management of Twitter from a business perspective. However, I think you’ll be surprised to learn that I rarely use any of them any more. My new preferred Twitter (and even FriendFeed) client: Gmail.
Let’s face it, whether I follow all those that follow me and segment out my favorites into groups (in a client like TweetDeck or Seesmic), or if I only follow a select few, my responsibility is still the same. I need to know what is said about me, my brand(s), and any other interesting things people are saying that I need to know about. Frankly, I can’t do this effectively while only tracking the small numbers of people I follow using one of the traditional Twitter clients. There would still be people talking about me, or the topics I’m interested in elsewhere, whether I follow them or not. The whole follow/friend game is incredibly ineffective for this reason, regardless of the method you use – it’s one of the reasons I just auto-follow. At least you can DM me if I let those that follow me do so by following them back. I decided I needed a better solution.
As it turns out, Twitter search (when it works) is fairly effective at catching what I want to hear on Twitter. I can search for @mentions of my name, my old Twitter account, misspellings of my name, my company, topics I’m interested in hearing about, and more. It returns the data I want. The problem with that is that I have to keep checking back for it, and there’s no really good way to save searches. I could do it in TweetDeck or Seesmic Desktop, but even with those I need to continue checking to be effective. I think that’s a waste of time. Why not make the Tweets come to me?
Yes, there’s an App for that. Michael Jensen (@mdjensen on Twitter), a Twitter, FriendFeed, and iPhone developer (and Perl developer!) is the author of a site called TweetBeep. Louis Gray turned me onto it, as this is also one of the ways he tracks mentions of his name. All that needs to be done is to sign up for an account on TweetBeep, provide your Twitter credentials, and specify search criteria you want it to search for on your behalf. You can create as many alerts as you like, and it’s 100% free! Specify the frequency of the alert (hourly or daily), and now all mentions of the terms you want it to track, including mentions of your Twitter username, brand(s), name, and more will all be delivered to your e-mail inbox. It will also track domains, and automatically un-shorten various URL-shortening services so you can also track mentions of your domain name.
So now, with TweetBeep I am no longer regularly checking my Twitter client of choice to see if anyone else has said something I might be interested in. I have those delivered to me, in batch, via e-mail, and I have saved myself a ton of time doing so! Because of my use of Gmail and TweetBeep to manage Twitter for me I am very rarely needing to check Twitter any more. Now, if I could just break the habit of checking it anyway! I guess you could say I now truly follow, and listen, to millions of people – I just now have a way to sift through the noise.
Tomorrow I’ll be sharing how Gmail is also my FriendFeed Client – you’ll like this one so stay tuned…