In this lesson – we’re going to learn more about how to use Twitter.   We learned previously how to get a Twitter account and received a basic overview of how the Twitter website looks and works.  But there are better ways to make use of Twitter.

It’s about your work flow.  And this lesson introduces a service that allows you to use Twitter and minimize the interruptions to your work flow.  Here’s Ed Dale’s video:

The Best Twitter Client Is Twhirl

The Flock Browser already has a built-in Twitter client.  You can open your “people” sidebar and see the latest “tweets” from people you’re following. (Like Ed, Dan and Bob – you know – from that last post…you did follow them like you were supposed to, right?)

Aside from getting news quickly from the people you’re following, you can also send your own tweet and update your Twitter page right from Flock’s built-in Twitter client.   One other function built-in is the “post a link” option.  Ed doesn’t use it – it can be a pretty big workflow interruption, and he shows how in the video.

To post links, we’ll use one of the add-ons we loaded in this earlier post:

Preseason 03c – Extensions To Install In Flock

Let’s get going with TwitterBar – assuming you’ve already installed TwitterBar, you’ll need to do some set-up.  For whatever reason, Flock doesn’t seem to think TwitterBar is compatible with Flock.  But it does seem to work, at least for Ed (and me.)

In the video, Ed shows how to do this on a MAC.  I have a PC, so I’ll show you the steps to set up your TwitterBar.

On a PC click on the <Tools> menu – then <Add-ons>.  From there, find “TwitterBar” in your Add-ons menu.  Click on the <Options> button.

On a MAC click on the <Tools> menu – then <Add-ons>.  From there find “TwitterBar” in your Add-ons menu.  Click on the <Preferences> button.

Up pops a dialog box.

TwitterBar Dialog Box

1) Ed leaves his in “secure mode” – so did I…

2) Fill in your Twitter username and password.

3) You can type in your own message in the “Before URL” field – the default is “Currently Browsing:”

At this point, there’s no compelling reason to change this.

4) “Open Twitter in a new tab” – leaving this unchecked helps keep you IN your work flow, that is the point, right?

5) Last option – “Hide addressbar button” – but we want that displayed.  Having that button up in our address bar also helps us minimize work flow interruptions.

And that’s it – you should now be able to post to Twitter directly from your browser address bar.

In the video, Ed shows us how to post a link that points to the Twhirl website – it’s really a simple, quick and effective way to let your Twitter followers know about a page or URL that you’re looking at.

One additional item worth mentioning, Twitter posts (Tweets) are limited to 140 characters, like a text or SMS message.

To re-cap, you can view Twitter and post to Twitter from the “people” sidebar built-in to Flock and you can post interesting links to your Twitter account right from your browser address bar.  Two ways to use Twitter without going to the Twitter website.

If you’d like to practice, go up to your address bar and post the link for this page to Twitter – right from your address bar. 🙂

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Onward to Twhirl…

Twhirl - A Twitter Client

Twhirl is an exceptional Twitter client application.  It’s built on the Adobe Air platform, which means it is compatible with MAC, PC and Linux systems.

Adobe Air

So – let’s download and install Twhirl…

Download Twhirl

Once it finishes downloading, just follow the prompts to finish the Twhirl installation.

Twhirl - Installation Dialog

Once installed, your Twhirl application will open up.

In the video, Ed touches on another application called “FriendFeed” I’m sure he’ll be covering that in a later lesson.

Ed also mentions “The Trouble With Twitter” – yes, they’re experiencing some growing pains.  Over the last few months the Twitter user base has expanded on a pretty massive level. There’s been some questionable press about it – but Ed makes a valid point about other internet technologies like e-mail and early ICQ and instant messaging apps.

They went through growing pains too.  I suppose if there were a mass exodus, maybe the technology would fade out – but it’s very unlikely that will happen.  Micro-blogging and Twitter-type applications will just get more popular over time, just like e-mail and text messaging.

You will have to do some set-up to integrate Twhirl with your Twitter account.  Here’s how:

1) Go to the “Settings” menu – it’s the little button in the upper right that looks like a wrench.

2) Enter your Twitter username (and password when prompted)

That’s should do it – you’re set up with Twhirl.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to capture screen shots of the Twhirl application – it fades out when I try to do a screen capture – sorry.  Thankfully, there’s still the video for reference…

Ed mentions the possibility of multiple Twitter/Twhirl accounts for personal, private and/or “marketing persona” purposes.  But for now, unless you’re an experienced veteran – let’s keep it simple.

To re-cap on Twhirl:

1) Download and Install Twhirl

2) Enter your Twitter username and password into the Twhirl settings menu.

3) Make sure you’re following Ed, Dan and Bob

4) Since you have Twirl open – type in a quick post, maybe something nice about the thirty day challenge – or this blog – or just answer the question; What are you doing?

Bonus points if you tweet about hugging your kids… 🙂

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