Three parts to the post:
A) The best ‘overall’ tools
B) The best ‘supplementary’ tools
C) The best ‘advice’ (courtesy of @mattsingley)
This post has been cobbled together out of frustration.
Put simply, most of the tools I’ve used of late that are supposed to make my Twitter account easier to manage have done the exact opposite.
The problem? Too many tools trying to do too many things (probably), but also many of these tools are created by one-man bands for free and aren’t subsidized in any way, which means maintenance is challenging.
On January 15 2010, Twitter altered some rules which don’t allow for tools to provide bulk ‘unfollow‘ functionality which is / was the main benefit of these tools.
I’m getting to a point now where I’d happily pay for a tool that is truly robust and reliable, and brings together the key features important to me (*nudge* to anyone who wants to create a bespoke tool of this kind – I’m currently testing out SocialOomph which is a powerful ‘all-in-one’ tool…it might be the solution).
Anyway, I’ve compiled a list of some of the better ones that I’ve used, and categorized them by the type of Twitter user you might be…hope these help…
Part A) The Most Useful Twitter Follow / Unfollow ‘Complete’ Tools
It calls itself ‘a geekier, faster way to manage Twitter’ which is pretty accurate.
I like this because of the level of sophistication and detail it provides, but for some it may seem ‘over-complicated’.
Main functions: Geeky Follow (suggests people to follow based on activity patterns), Flush (identifies users who do not follow you back), Reciprocate (lists people following you that you are not following back), Cleanup (a look at your entire list, supported by stats, allowing for informed decisions to be made)
Who is it for? High Volume users.
By far the most useful and practical tool of this type around.
Main functions: Once logged in, it breaks down your contacts into three categories (your followers, people you follow and everyone).
A further level of sub-categorization is then applied i.e. location, date of last tweet, number of followers etc
And this is all housed within the one, easy to manage list, which allows for following / unfollowing at the tick of a box.
Who is it for: Mid-High Volume users.
This tool is easy to use, and gives you the best indication of how you are using Twitter i.e. if Twitter is supposed to be a conversation medium, you can see who you are talking with (ideal, but not always possible / practical), only talking to and only listening to.
NOTE: You’ll never be friends with ‘everyone’ on Twitter, and in some cases you only want to ‘hear’ what they have to say rather than actively talk ‘to’ them – the key, which I often stress via this Blog is to follow ‘topics’ first and ‘people’ second.
Main functions: Once logged in, it breaks down your contacts into similar categories to the ones provided by My Tweeple (all, only following, only followers, all friends, all followers and mutual friends).
This is great for getting a picture of your ‘Twitterverse‘ but without the bulk ‘unfollow‘ option robs it of it’s most useful element.
Who is it for: Mid-Volume users.
It’s at this point that my frustration with these tools kicks in – this is where the more ‘niche’ tools often appear, which although helpful, don’t give me an ‘all-in-one’ solution.
However, there are a couple, which used in conjunction with the ones above, are quite helpful.
Part B) ‘Supplementary’ Tools
http://www.untweeps.com – identifies ‘stale’ Tweeple i.e. ones who haven’t tweeted recently
http://whofollowswhom.com/ – another great supplementary tool, this identifies which followers you have in common with other people and is a nice way to build your network
Part C) Some advice on following and unfollowing
As I eluded to earlier, Twitter is a topic driven medium, and this should shape your ‘network’ – the best explanation I’ve come across regarding why and how to follow on Twitter is courtesy of @mattsingley who featured these two useful posts on the subject this time last year: