I have a love-hate relationship with Twitter. Ever since the mainstream has gotten hold of it, it’s become another medium in which people can use it for good and for stupids. I certainly love all the good that has come out of it, from the people I follow who have given me links and tidbits of answers to questions I wouldn’t have asked to the things I can do with it beyond what it was designed for. Yet I also hate the fact that Twitter has become a pooling soup of noise, proving once again that human beings waste more time on useless endeavors and thoughts than they do on more functional aspects of life.
Maybe it’s because I’ve used Twitter ever since the early days of its release that microblogging what I’m eating at the moment and turning my replies into a chat seems so young, so green, so passé. To which brings me to this. I thought that after a long while, I could probably come up with more than a few things you can do with your Twitter account that’s more effective just ranting and chatting. These are the things I actually use Twitter on a daily basis. Not as much the social waste of time, as a productivity boost.
- Use Pidgin As A Twitter Client – Pidgin is a multi-platform Instant Messaging client. Sort of like an all-in-one jack-of-all-trades of instant messaging. It can connect to practically all the IM clients out there. MSN, Yahoo, GTalk, AIM, ICQ, Facebook, IRC and plenty more. One of the features of which is a plugin that allows you to access your Twitter account as an IM. A feature that’s sorely missed after Twitter had to shut down it’s IM support due to excessive server usage. With Pidgin as your Twitter client, your tweets are updated every minute (but it can be change) and you can instantly check any replies to you. While it’s not as feature packed as full scale dedicated programs like Tweetdeck or DestroyTwitter, it gives you exactly what you need at the touch of your fingertips without having you install more programs to bloat your system. The result? Fast Twitter access along with all your IMs you have, all in one single program.
- Use Twitter As A Reminder – I am a big fan of reminders and scheduled tasklists. With Twitter, you can set reminders for you do things and be reminded of them through your Twitter. It can be as simple as Twitter Timer in which you set how many minutes until Twitter sends you a message on what you have to do. Or like me, you can integrate other programs into Twitter. Remember The Milk
- Use Twitter As A Notepad – If you’re like me, Twitter’s 140 character limit does force you to be a little creative with your words and the way you share your information. More often than not, you’ll find snippets of information you might want, words of wisdom you might create or bookmarks you might have received from others. What better way than to store the things you want down. Evernote is a universal note taking program. It’s functions as an access anywhere digital notepad are limited to your imagination. Like Remember The Milk, it also has Twitter integration. Whether you send yourself a note or file the ones you find worthwhile on Twitter, Evernote’s Twitter integration makes your Twitter stream more worthwhile.
- Use Twitter as a Blog Aggregator – If you’ve been on Twitter long enough, you’ll notice some people actively promoting their blogs on Twitter. This can be very effective if you’ve got loyal followers or you want to increase the amount of people who read your blog. While you can paste the link manually, people who use blogging platforms like WordPress or Movable Type can add plugins which automatically posts to Twitter as soon as you post. In fact, there may be a chance you might have come from Twitter yourself to read this post. If so, kudos to you, which shows that this way of using Twitter really does work. However, I have yet to find a way for Blogger blogs to automatically post to to Twitter. I’m sure it has to exist somewhere. In this case, Google is your friend. Do please tell me if you’ve found such a way.
is one of the most versatile task managers out there. It also has Twitter integration which allows you to Tweet your task and set specific times and date for you to be reminded. In fact, if your friend has an RTM account too, you can also send them timed reminders of what they are supposed to do. Never forget to bring home the milk again, especially if you’re tied into Twitter all day.
There we have it, the 4 heavy duty ways to expand your Twitter use to make your life easier. There are plenty of other smaller things I didn’t really write down because they are more of a feature-candy than anything else. I might put them down later on if I feel like it, but for now, this would have to be it. Remember, Twitter is just another medium, like blogs before it. You can either be part of the masses and live your Twitter existence telling the world about how you had something stuck between your teeth while on a date, or you can take it to a whole new level and use it to make your life and the lives of others a whole lot better.
No prizes for guessing which group of people I usually follow from my Twitter. I do hope you’ll join me there. I don’t like to see good potential go to waste.