There's no doubt that micro-blogging service Twitter is hugely popular and certainly addictive. It's also remarkably rich, thanks to an array of third-party applications and services that make it more convenient, more powerful, and more enjoyable.
Here are ten handy tools (plus one bonus) for Twitter novices and diehards alike, including some of my personal favourites and several that got hearty recommendations when I asked my 4,900 Twitter pals for nominations.
I asked my Twitter pals to tell me about the tools they use, and they responded with a profusion of raves for TweetDeck, a client for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Its three-pane interface shows your friends' tweets, replies sent to you, and your direct messages all at once; other features include a notification pop-up that alerts you as tweets arrive, the ability to create and view subgroups of friends (such as one for family members), and Tweetshrink, which cuts long tweets down to size by rmving chctrs from wrds.
If you love Twitter, love Firefox, and love to keep things simple, chances are you'll love TwitterFox. This slick Firefox extension crams all of Twitter's basic functionality (plus the ability to manage multiple accounts) into a pop-up window that sits in the bottom-right corner of your browser window. It informs you as tweets arrive, and lets you easily read your buddies' latest missives and respond without leaving the web page you happen to be on.
There are so many iPhone Twitter clients around that you could spend weeks trying them all out. Or you could simply install fan-favourite Tweetie, which manages to be both powerful (it supports multiple accounts, for instance) and sleek (flick your finger across a tweet, and you can access options such as the ability to reply).
Tweetie costs $2.99 (£2.10) and is worth every penny, but if you're feeling impecunious, try the fast, friendly, and free TwitterFon.
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