Thursday, 19 August 2010

57 Twitter tools to make the most of your Twitter experience

I owe my presence on Twitter to my friend and colleague @mongkolroek and I cannot thank him enough for introducing me to this wonderful world.

Over the last two years, thanks to my interaction on Twitter, I’ve learnt some much, met some absolutely fantastic and remarkable people. I’ve made new friends and by keeping in touch with my peers, colleagues and friends and by mutually sharing our challenges and aspirations, I’ve had some good laughs and most importantly have been inspired by many in many different ways. I am now Tweetaddict! And I go proud of it.

Having received so much from this wonderful community, I thought it was time to give something back. Over the course of my Twitter experience, I’ve religiously hoarded lots of great links and useful resources. One of my summer projects was to compile a list of useful Twitter tools. And this is what I did. This list is by no means exhaustive.

I hope – as incomplete as it may be – you find it useful. Please feel free to share your preferred tools or resource using the comment feature. If you find this compilation useful, please retweet and share it with your peers, colleagues and friends. I just came across an interesting article on The Guardian entitled "Why Twitter matters to media organizations", which I definitely thought it was worth mentioning, if for nothing else, to show the light to the "nay sayers"  and make them understand if they do not embrace this new way of working, they will soon be out of business!

A big thank you to all my wonderful Twitter friends for such a rewarding professional and personal Twitter experience!

The 57 tools/resources are organized in the following 9 categories:

Want to keep your tweetgems?

What to know who is following and unfollowing you?

Want to manage all your social media from a single application?
  • Hootsuite [] is available for desktop and mobile devices. It’s a one-stop shop that allows you to be manage all your social network platforms in one go and of course it allows you to schedule your tweets!
  • TweetDeck [] is perhaps a real “killer” application and allows you to schedule tweets. If you’re not using it as your preferred application, make sure you give it shot. It is definitely worth the try and you’ll not give it up for anything else. Yes I am highly biased!

Need to schedule your tweets?

Dying to know who is saying what and who is what about you?

Want to tracking your influence and outreach in Twitterville?
  • Twitter grader [] helps you keep track of how “influential” you are on twitter
  • Tweet reach [] is a cool tool that shows you how many people potentially saw your tweets
  • Tweetstats [] allows you to find the behaviour of any twitter user. The statistics s include aggregate daily tweets, replies to top 10 persons you've replied
  • Twitteranalyzer [] is Google Analytics for Twitter users
  • Twittratr [] allows you to monitor whether tweets about a specific subject were received positively or negatively. You need to study the ranking because at time it gets confused :) and gives not quite the correct information.
  • Twitter rank [] tells you how you rank amongst in Twitterville
  • Twitalyzer [] provides various metrics ranging from influence score to your clout and retweet rates
  • Klout [] is an amazing tool showing your breadth of influence and clout
  • Twitinfluence [ ] allows you to find out your reach, social capital and know who are you first and second order followers

Share your Twitter stream in an on-line news and magazine format
  • [] allows you to create a daily on-line newspaper from your twitter stream by aggregating the tweet gems and nuggets in the most magnificent way. Must try. You’ll love it
  • Microplaza [] aggregates and organizes links from your Twitter stream. Has a cool feature “Being someone” which allows you to see into someone else’s world. Allows you to organize people who you follow in “tribes”. Promises to be a great tool. Right now is in beta

Check out the buzz in Twitterville on maps

Who says, the ultimate search is Google? Try one of these cools Twittsearch tools

Twitterville as a speakers' corner



Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Can members of diaspora be reliable and unbiased reporters?

It is hard to imagine media outlets of 21st century and internet era struggling to get first-hand and verified news. Yet, there are times where they are unable to get their people on the ground. So, how do they report and where do they get their news from?

More and more media outlets are encouraging and relying on citizen journalism. They should all thank the web2.0 revolution and courageous individuals who report in extreme situations allowing the media and their audiences to quench their news thirst. When web2.0 patron saints fail, they tend to rely on “sources” - be it a correspondent or a journalist or alternatively a normal human being just like you and I -  to provide them with the latest news.

Either way, it is almost impossible for them to independently verify the story and news. Because if they could verify, THEY would be reporting it in first person and not relying on a third party or a “source” – as “reliable” as it may be.

Why this long preamble? I’ve been reading a series of book about contemporary Iran and just finished reading Honeymoon in Tehran, by Azadeh Moaveni. I could not help but compare Moaveni’s book with Christopher de Bellaigue’s In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs and The struggle for Iran and the creative and innovative travelogue Drinking Arak off an Ayatollah’s bread by Nicholas Jubber.

Generally speaking, for the media Iran is like a hermetically vacuum packed box of pistachio nuts – there are no flaps on this box that reads “tear here to open”. Intelligence services, the media, think tanks and others are all starving and craving for FRESH and sourced news from Iran.

As the Time magazine correspondent, Moaveni was in a vantage position to report from her home country. While I admire Moaveni’s candidness and courage, however at the same time, I believe she could have used her privileged position to give a more balanced assessment of her country’s realities. I wish she had followed de Bellaigue’s reporting model which would have enabled her to cover a wider spectrum of Iranian society and at the same time give a more balanced economic and political analysis of contemporary Iran.

Throughout the book I failed to understand why as an Iranian she referred to herself as a “foreign journalist”. Was it because she was reporting for Time magazine? Or because she thought her "foreign" status wourld open doors otherwise closed to Iranians?

Instead of focusing almost exclusively on the upper-middle class society – with their 7 day a week parties, the tales of illegal satellite dishes being removed by law enforcement officers or  the woes of censored internet -  given her position of a “foreign” journalist, Moaveni would have done her readers a service if she had concentrated more on telling the “story” and the plight of the taxi driver who shuttled her to her various “appointments” and reporting about issues such as high unemployment rate or the causes of soaring inflation.

Her obsession to focus on issues that would make foreigners cringe or “make news” abroad, made it very clear that this was a book for foreigners or perhaps the Iranian diaspora living in the States who had never been back to their home country since the revolution. I must say, despite the descriptions of Iranian education, health system and the modern Iranian wedding planners, Moaveni’s political statements and analysis were not convincing as they could have been.

I believe that members of diaspora and people coming from upper-middle class are not in a position to give an accurate picture of Iranian political scene. They are too biased. Quite frankly, I do not think anyone - be it in the country or abroad – really knows how the country functions and what really goes on, much less, accidental tourists who decide to “get their hands dirty” until such time that the going gets tough and they opt for “safety above the story”.

I wish Iranian writers who decide to write about contemporary Iran would expand their outreach beyond the upper-middle class lives of Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz and other big cities. I wish they would travel to other cities and rural areas and talk with people from all walks of life so that they can give a more balanced and accurate picture and out of realities, challenges, aspirations and inspirations of Iranian people.