Ultimate guide to Twitter tools and resources for journalists

by Shawn Smith on January 18, 2008

Twitter page Finally thinking of testing out Twitter ? Online Journalism Blog posts why journalists should use Twitter , and I think new new media reporters could use a resource list. So grab your Twitter posse and start checking out these Twitter tools and resources:

What is Twitter!?!?!

Twitter is a micro-blogging service for messages of up to 140 characters that can be updated via SMS, Email, Web, Browsers, Desktop clients and whatever else. It can be used for telling the world what you’re doing, sharing insight, communicating with friends and associates and getting answers to your questions.

To truly understand Twitter, you have to use it. But to start, watch the video!

Get an Account

  • Twitter Home : It’s easy to set up an account and customize your page. Make sure you link back to your blog in your "about me" options.

Twitter Clients

  • Twhirl : By far the best Twitter client I have ever used. Looks slick and can dual post to Pownce. SWEET!
  • TwitBin : Put a Twitter client in your Firefox sidebar
  • TwitBox : former favorite Twitter desktop client. It even has experimental hashtags tracking (free).
  • Twitterlicious : First desktop client I used. Turned my Twitter universe upside down (also free).
  • Twitterific : Mac client. Mac’s also have dashboard Twitter widgets.
  • Twitter Flashlite : Mobile client
  • Tweetr : Mac/PC Client allows users to upload and share files and photos

Find Twitterers!

  • TwitDir : Find everything from most-followed users, to top posters to top 100 followers – I wonder who that is?
  • Twubble : Find popular twitterers that your friends are following
  • Twitterwhere? : Nice new app that let’s you find twitterers within 50 miles of you.
  • Twitterlocal : Annother web app to find local twitterers.
  • Twitslikeme : Find other Twitterers with your similar interests
  • Twitterwho ?: Find Twitterers by email address
  • TwitterAdder : Type in your account and randomly add 20 follows
  • TwitterSearch : Type in the term your looking for and find out who is tweeting about it!
  • TwitterMap : Find users in your area who are tweeting
  • TwitterVision : Worldwide tracking of Tweets in real time. You can even make this your desktop wallpaper background !

Tracking Memes

  • Summize : The most powerful twitter conversation tracker I’ve seen. Search for terms by user, language, attitude, tag, to and from user
  • Twist : Compare terms and get graphs showing how much that term was tweeted
  • Quotably : Type in any username and follow conversations in a threaded format
  • Tweet Scan : Find out who’s saying what, search for replies, words, whatever by user
  • Tweetmeme : Find out "what’s hot" on Twitter (Think Techmeme in Twitterland). Updates in real-time and looks spiffy!
  • Twitter Troll : Find popular terms used on Twitter in real time
  • #hashtags : Real-time tracking of tagged tweets organized though hashtags (example: #twittertools)
  • Twitigg : Twitter, Digg style
  • Politweets : Tracking tweets that reference presidential candidates (via OJB )

Twitter Metrics and tracking

  • TweetStats : Track your tweets per hour and month and your Tweet timeline
  • Twitter Quotient : Find out if you’re a Twitter hero or zero
  • TweetVolume : Compare the popularity of terms used in Tweets.
  • Tweetburner : URL shortener that tracks what happens with the links you post

Post Multimedia, Photos, Files

  • TwitPic : Post photos to your tweets – also integrated in latest version of Twhirl
  • Twiddeo : Post videos to your tweets
  • Mobypicture : Post photos to your Twitter and Flickr account from your mobile phone


  • PollDaddy Twitter tool : Probably the best polling Twitter integration. Would love to see this become a part of Twhirl with Google Docs capabilities.
  • Twittpoll : Opinion channel for Twitterers
  • Twitter Census : Surveys for Twitterers -1) Post a question 2) Get replies 3) See results

Join a Community

RSS and Tweet syndication

Twitterers to Follow

  • Shawn Smith on Twitter : That’s me! What’s wrong with a little self promotion?
  • Mich Sineath : Blogger and think tanker at AEJMC and his blog . I really like the way he uses Twitter to ask questions and interact with people.
  • Ryan Sholin : Innovative thinker and web worker for GateHouse Media. Also the co-creator of Wired Journalists .
  • Jack Lail : Smart guy doing some really cool things for Knox News.
  • Steve Buttry : Score some thoughts on training journalists for the new media revolution from Steve
  • Digi Dave : If you don’t know Dave, you better ask somebody. He’s got the moves for your social media habits
  • Popurls : Always something interesting, often cool items before they go bigg on Digg
  • Ann Marie Cox : Washington Bureau editor of Time online. Formerly of Wonkette. Has funny insights. (via BuzzMachine )
  • Breaking News On : Great Twitter feed of latest top news items.

Embedding Twitter Feeds – Twitter Badges

Fun Stuff

  • Twitsig : Make your Tweets into an image that can be embedded in forums or wherever HTML is allowed
  • TwittyTunes : Browser Add On that allows you to easily share what you’re listening to – integrates with Foxytunes Firefox add on

More Resources!!!

Twitter commands – via Koka Sexton (see great Twitter comics here too)

@username + message – A message directed at a specific user – be careful, everyone can see this!
D username + message – A direct message to a specific user that no one else can see!
WHOIS username – get profile info from any public Twitter user
GET username – see latest tweet of the specified user
NUDGE username – remind a twitter user to update their tweets!
FAV username – "marks a person’s last twitter as a favorite. (hint: reply to any update with FAV to mark it as a favorite if you’re receiving it in real time)"
STATS – returns your number of followers, how many people you’re following, and which words you’re tracking

Did I leave anything out that you really like? Let me know and I’ll add it to the list!

{ 65 trackbacks }

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Connie Reece January 18, 2008 at 12:52 pm

Shawn, I’ve recently started using Twhirl, a free third-party desktop client for Twitter. Really like its features, esp. highlighted replies & DMs showing up directly in my tweetstream. Thanks for this handy resource list — now bookmarked on my del.icio.us page.

Jevs January 18, 2008 at 10:14 pm

New Ning network Tweets oriented to web widgets and OpenSocial applications for Twitter

Jevs January 18, 2008 at 10:17 pm

Sorry, no url in previous post : http://tweets.ning.com/ .
Thanks for information! Already following your suggested persons.

Michael Jensen May 13, 2008 at 2:51 pm

Two more twitter tools for you:

Twitter Answers with TweetAnswers – Ask questions and get answers! Simple to use: “@tweetanswers #topic Your question”

LiveTwitting for conference and event coverage through twittering. Records all your coverage, includes speaker and topic organization through simple commands.

peter parker July 4, 2008 at 8:04 am

Dave Winer, father of RSS says “Twitter, as it was conceived, was never meant to live.”

“It’s very possible with better engineering its architecture might have gone on for a few more years, but eventually it would have hit this wall, where there were too many people posting too many twits to too many followers. The scale of the system as conceived rises exponentially.”

So is the end of Twitter getting near? I hope not. Twitter I hope that you are listening and you better start taking things more seriously.

Here’s my two cents.

For instance there are about 100m users of yahoo messenger and usually 2-3 of them talk at a time that means scalability of 300m conversations. On the other hand with 100m twitter users who usually send messages to 100-10,000 other users the scalability required is 10,000m to 10^6m I have never known any current architecture based on webservers to handle such a scale. So according to me Twitter was never meant to live. It is like a concept car that will never see production. Users of twitter don’t understand this and they don’t care.
They don’t know whats happening when the website is down. The sad part is that the best analysts claim that Twitter is a billion dollar company in one year of operations. There is an old saying before the days of when people understood permutation combinations. One peasant asked a king to give him rice equal to the total amount gotten by placing double the number of rice grains on a chess square than the previous square, starting with one rice grain. There are 8×8=64 squares. We seriously need to visit grade 7 mathematics.

I know of only one News/Messaging system that supports around 1 billion users sending messages to all 1 billion users each. Thats a scalability of 10^12m. It is not Web based but rather on a massively scalable serverless P2P architecture based. The team is soft spoken and when I last talked to them I was told that they don’t care about money or hype or fame but rather for just the passion of next generation global systems that will stand the test of worldwide use. Its called Mermaid News Mermaid

They have other softwares too but this post is about Twitter and Messaging. Once everyone comprehends basic mathematics that goes behind scalable algorithms they would go past the flashy screen and hype to actually want a system they can trust. To the analysts I would say it is easy to create a business plan, create a hype and raise $20m funding it is far more difficult to create something of use.

Kyle Ingrelli July 5, 2008 at 5:16 pm

One of the best resources for Twitter I have seen. Good work.

Dan Hollings August 2, 2008 at 7:28 pm

TwitterSplit turns the links in your twitter posts into “lasso-like” links returning your traffic back to your site and helping you promote anything you like. Increase FollwMe conversions too.


mantoggevanes August 2, 2008 at 7:38 pm

I agreed with you

Paul Kinlan December 11, 2008 at 4:14 pm


I have recently developed http://www.twollo.com/ which is an application that helps twitteres never miss out on a conversation. Twitterers tell us what they are interested in and we find users who are talking about your interests and auto follow that user for you.

I am activly seeking comments, criticsims and suggestions about twollo so that I can improve the service.

My personal twitter account is http://www.twitter.com/PaulKinlan and twollo’s is http://www.twitter.com/Twollo . One user has written an overview of the service off his own bat (http://www.twitter-howto.com/twitter-how-to/twitter-how-to-find-interesting-people-to-follow-and-get-more-followers-automatically) so you can get a feel for what it does without having to subscribe to the service.

Kind Regards,
Paul Kinlan

Traffic Mystic Secrets Tutorials December 19, 2008 at 3:51 pm

Some of the mashable twitter tools are cool.. specially the ones intergrating face book and twitter…

Only been using twitter for a few months and i must admit it is well cool…. :)

stefan May 9, 2009 at 1:07 pm

Nice Article. For my german fellows: Die 12 besten Twittertools: http://www.kunstundso.com/2009/04/22/die-12-besten-twitter-tools/

jane May 27, 2009 at 3:10 pm

http://textsnip.com is a good way to paste a large block of text into a tweet. no password, no sign up

Matthew Tommasi May 30, 2009 at 7:37 am

Very nice list!

I have also done up a list as well.

The Ultimate List of Twitter Tools @ The Social Media Guide http://bit.ly/zhXUv

Louis June 6, 2009 at 3:40 am


Thanks for the post. Sadly too many of this links are dead or the website never actually got going…

Elio Assuncao June 14, 2009 at 6:19 pm

Very nice list, many thanks.

Nelda July 19, 2011 at 10:17 pm

This is way more helpful than anything else I’ve loeokd at.

msjicxizso July 20, 2011 at 8:27 am

coLloW vptfmrwdsdtr

Allan August 29, 2011 at 3:49 am

Many thanks for the list! Nice tools but for me click.to is the best!

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