I joined Twitter a couple of days ago (you can follow me at http://Twitter.com/niceguyted) and have been trying to figure it out in the little bit of spare time I have that’s not devoted to work, The Quixotic Jedi, and other stuff. A few minutes of Google searching yielded some pretty crappy results – I had to dig a bit deeper than I expected to really find some good stuff about how Twitter works and what the dos and don’ts are. There are a few links between my reviews below that you can check out, but I’ll give you the rubies I found in Google’s mountain of rocks first:
Twittercism – it’s a blog all about Twitter. And it’s brand-new. Twitter itself is probably around a year old, and most of what I found at the top of the Google heap is old – a drawback to Google (and the subject for an entirely different post), because the sites I found first have been clicked the most.
I subscribed to the RSS feed for Twittercism, and I suggest you do, too – if you have an interest in keeping up. Way to pick a niche, Sheamus!
If click those links and read that content, you’re pretty much home free. If you want to keep reading, great.
The only friend-finding search engine I’ve found for Twitter that seems to be of any use at all is Twubble. It searches for common people being followed among the people you’re following – e.g. “Jimmy and Johnny both follow Lance Armstrong, Robin Williams and CNN News” Not much good for those of us just starting out – it needs data to crunch and if you’re not following anyone, twubble has nothing with which to work. I found this here, which has a decent survey of Twitter friend-finding engines – though I didn’t find any of the other sites listed very useful:
- TwitterLocal searches for other users by geographic location (you have to download TwitterLocal Air, though – it seems a bit too involved for my beginner tastes).
- TwitterWho uses Twitter’s people search (which was apparently down when I tried it) – I don’ think this is very useful – it’s searching for email addresses and people’s names: in the age of usernames and cyber-egos, these unique identifiers aren’t the same as those we use in real life.
- Twits Like Me is idiotic: it searches for people with a similar username to yours. No matches for niceguyted “You’re just too unique!” I feel gross that my site now contains a link to it.
- TwitDir seems like a great idea – search for the topmost followed twitterers, etc – but the site was down when I checked it.
Another post I found with a Twitter friend-finder survey was this one here.
- Twitter Packs wiki – seems to still be realtively young, content hasn’t become unwieldy (yet, but it has the potential to do so very quickly – not much of an organizational structure), last updated 1 week, 5 days ago (not good for a wiki), organizes into groups of subjects/topics called “packs” e.g. topic, interest, location, etc.
- Tweetscan – dead link? wouldn’t load for me; again, another old post (04/2008).
My regular Google search also turned up TwitterTroll – “real time Twitter search engine” – very slow, received errors when I searched for “philosophy” and “da vinci” – not up to speed yet.
Nothing of interest via the Google Blog Search tool. Surprising?
The conclusion? Twitter itself is still new enough that the follow-up technology doesn’t have much with which to work, so it just can’t be that good. The best way to find friends on Twitter is already built-in to Twitter itself: follow the people from your address book that are already on Twitter, and invite those in your address book that aren’t. And mooch off your friends.
There’s also a “Suggested Users” tab on Twitter’s “Find People” menu – not a bad place to start either.
I signed up the day before yesterday and only pulled a couple of friends from my gmail contacts list. I found one or two others because I’ve heard them mention their “tweets” before and started following them.
As I mentioned earlier, I just subscribed to the RSS Feed for Twittercism – a blog all about Twitter. There’s also an interesting post on Twittercism about TweetDeck, which caught my interest because I’ve seen it mentioned in a few places (e.g. THE $@BS).
My next step: follow everyone that my friends are following (for a little while at least), then use Twubble to narrow down the commonalities (which will probably be big-time news engines like CNN or zines like Boing Boing), then comb through and get rid of the stuff I’m not interested in. I’ll need to spend some time following a shit-ton of people to actually figure out what interests me and what doesn’t.
I’ll keep you posted.