Twitter Tools to Increase Productivity

Up until a few months ago, I was convinced that Twitter was just another personal social media tool - a cross between instant messenger and Facebook. But after hearing a lot about it from all manner of people, and being invited by a good friend and colleague, I finally decided to give Twitter a try. To my surprise, Twitter has far exceeded my expectations and has become an integral part of my business life. The number and range of people I have “met” through Twitter and the wealth of information it has provided is astounding.

In just a few short months, my question has changed from why should I use Twitter to how can I make the most of Twitter. Twitter tools crop up every day, some better than others. That being said, here are 15 tools that I use frequently and have found to be essential to my writing, business and being more productive when using Twitter in general:

TweetDeck – A personal browser for connecting with your contacts in Twitter and Facebook. Allows you to stay up-to-date and organized with real-time tweets instead of constantly having to refresh your web page.

TwitterBerry – An easy to use, free application for Blackberries. Its interface is very similar to the online Twitter interface, making this quick to learn. An added bonus is that tweets are sent using the Blackberry data plan and not by SMS.

Tweetie – The Twitter user interface for iPhones. This tool allows you to do everything with Twitter on your iPhone as you could from the online Twitter interface.

TweetScan – You can carry out research on Twitter and TweetScan will send you updates on keywords that you select.

TwitterFeed – If you have a blog and use Twitter, this is definitely a must have for building traffic. Whenever you publish a new blog post, TwitterFeed retrieves the RSS feed of your blog and sends out a tweet at the same time.

Twittercal – With Twittercal, you can connect your Twitter account to your Google calendar. This way, you can update your calendar directly from Twitter.

TrackThis – Track packages being sent by UPS, Fedex, DHL and other couriers by using Twitter. Based on the tracking number of the package, you’ll be tweeted with updates as to its status.

TweetLater – A tool for increasing your productivity on Twitter. With TweetLater, you can schedule tweets for when you are offline, set up alerts and track keywords and automate many Twitter tasks, such as following those who follow you.

TwitBacks – With TwitBacks you can create your own Twitter background. With a personalized background, you can create a brand for yourself online.

MrTweet – Using MrTweet is a great way to expand your network to relevant followers. This tool analyzes your current Twitter network and then finds and suggests other users you may be interested in.

GeoFollow – With GeoFollow, you can list yourself geographically and categorically. You can also find Twitter users in a particular area, so an excellent tool for building up your local network.

Tweetake – Allows you to back up your tweets, followers and people you are following quickly and easily.

TwitPic – A simple way to share photos on Twitter.

Twellow – The yellow pages of Twitter.

twAnswers – Ask a question and have it answered by Twitter users.

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