Once you've familiarised yourself with Twitter and discovered how its features can be best purposed to fulfil your requirements, whether that's serving as an information discovery tool, a broadcast tool, or as a conversation or networking tool, you''re ready to level up your Twitter use to make it more efficient and less potentially overwhelming. There is a wealth of Twitter applications out there, from desktop programs, to browser plugins, to mobile apps, but which of those is best suited to your needs is mostly a case of personal preference and what you aim to do with them. The following five are tools that can help you navigate your twitter stream and streamline your activities.
The power tool that has been around for ages. Originally a third-party application, Tweetdeck was bought by Twitter in 2011. This twitter app is available as a desktop app for Mac and Windows, as a Chrome browser app, and as a web app. Tweetdeck allows you to manage several accounts and timelines at once, monitor keyword searches and hashtags in separate columns and schedule tweets to be sent at a later date. It's a convenient way to see what's going on with your twitter stream at a glance. It also allows you to mute either people or hashtags, which is useful if someone is live tweeting a conference or event you're not interested in. Tweetdeck is completely free.
Tweetdeck's main competitor in the field of social media dashboards, is Hootsuite. This dashboard only comes in a webversion or as an app for smartphone or tablet, and works on a freemium basis. This means that you can get the basic features for free, but there are functions that require a subscription. While generally offering the same features as Tweetdeck, Hootsuite also allows you to share the same dashboard with several members and assign tasks, which might be of interest to a research group or a group blog, and offers analytics for your accounts. In addition to Twitter, you can also add a Facebook account or page to your dashboard and by installing apps (some free, some paid) you can integrate further services into Hootsuite.
Buffer is a great way to create a consistent posting schedule and spread out your posts during the without having to be online all day. In the free version you can connect one account of each of the supported services (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and app.net), in the subscription version you can connect 10 accounts in any combination of those services. It also shows you analytics for those posts you've shared through Buffer and allows you to create a custom posting schedule for any the services you've connected.
Not a social media dashboard for posting, but a powerful analytics site, that lets you analyse your Twitter account and your followers, to find people to follow by doing very precise Twitter bio searches, and to keep track of unfollowers. It breaks down your followers by numerous categories and also gives you an idea of when your followers are most likely to see your tweet and interact with it.
Short for If This, Then That IFTTT is a service that allows you to automate actions for numerous social media and other services using scripts. For example, you can use a recipe (the name IFTTT uses for their scripts) to have links in any tweets you favourite sent to your Pocket or Instapaper service. There are thousands of pre-cooked recipes or you can create your own easily. While it takes a little time to set up properly, the fact that you can have repetitive actions be performed for you automatically is a great time saver.