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10 Cool Uses of Twitter


2007 was clearly the year of Twitter. The micro blogging platform has grown at the speed of light during the first quarter, and kept a steady progression ever since then. Interestingly, Twitter is now being used by many new online services using the micro blogging platform as a backbone messaging system. Other projects also capitalize on the popularity of Twitter to provide in-tweets search engine and link extraction.

Here’s a list of 10 cool and original uses of Twitter.

1. Botanicalls – Get a Tweet When Your Plants Need Water
How many times have you thrown away plants simply because you forgot to give ’em the one thing they need, water? True, if watering plants is too much of a hassle, you could switch to cactuses and this should increase green life expectancy under your roof. But there’s a better solution for you. How about getting notified when your plants are thirsty? If you can’t see it for yourself, the plants can tweet it to you. For those with electronics skills, Botanicalls is a do-it-yourself device that allows a plant to tweet its owner for water. Once it receives a drink, it’ll also say thanks!

2. Increase Your Life Expectancy
How the heck can Twitter help you live longer, you say? By using Qwitter, a free social tool that help you quit smoking. Quitter uses Twitter to record your progress and keep track of how many cigarettes you smoke during a day. You can also save a journal and get support from others in the same situation. Being supported during a difficult period such as stopping smoking is key to your success. Join Qwitter and drop this bad habit once and for all.

3. Become a Traffic Reporter
Commuter Feed is a service that allows you to consult and post traffic reports from your local area. If you get stuck bumper to bumper, you can tweet the information to Commuter Feed by using your city’s AITA airport code. While densely populated areas may naturally get more coverage, sending tweets from other areas will make the service a reliable source for traffic information. To log a traffic report, you need to follow a precise format to make sure your message will be tagged with the right metropolitan area.

4. Search Twitter with Tweet Scan
Looking for something you once read in a Tweet? Head over to Tweet Scan, a search engine that indexes Twitter posts. What’s neat is you can search by keywords, much like you would do on Google, but also by Twitter user account, and a combination of both. Registered users of Tweet Scan get access to a notification service. That’s useful if you wish to read everything that’s being said about a specific keyword. The service will email you the tweets according to the frequency you’ve set. To get more information about all the features provided by Tweet Scan, check out the Tweet Scan Blog.

5. TwitterLinkr
TwitterLinkr can be very useful if you are looking for a link you once saw in a tweet. The service parses tweets looking for links, and once it finds one, it collects the message, reverses Tinyurls into readable links, and adds it to its feed displayed on TwitterLinkr’s front page. It also collects stats from popular tags and lists most active users.

6. Desperately Seeking Answers?
Poor guy from Houston, Texas, is stuck in Toronto for a business trip and feels like eating a big juicy steak. No panic, this is where Twitter Answers kicks in. Ask a question and receive answers from other users like you. The service works even from your cell so you can get answers virtually anywhere. Once you’re back home, switch sides and reply to desperately seeking answer users.

7. Politweets: Get The Latest Buzz
If you follow the 2008 presidency campaign, then Politweets is for you. Using Twitter’s powerful Track feature, Politweets aggregates all discussions around presidential candidates in real time. The tweets are presented in a nice interface showing two columns, Democratic and Republican candidates. This is a powerful service for all political bloggers looking for the latest buzz in the presidency race.

8. Los Angeles Fire Department
These days, some people are still buying radio scanners or ham radios to get live feeds from their local police and fire department. LAFD has decided to join the Twitosphere by tweeting real-time alerts in its jurisdiction. Boring, you say? They had 541 followers at the time I was writing this post. That proves people are still passionate about police and fire-fighters’ emergencies.

9. Keep Track of who you owe a beer or a coffee to

  • Kevin dugg your last post
  • Since you dumped Vista, Steve taught you how to find your way into Mac OS X

The list goes on and on, and you forget who you owe a beer or a coffee to. Not anymore. Foamee is a fun way to help you keep track of your I.O.Us using Twitter. While your message is sent to the recipient’s Twitter account, it is also displayed in Foamee’s Pub. Show your gratitude to your best buddies with Foamee, and stop losing track of your beer and coffee debts.

10. Remember The Milk
Honeeeeyyyyy? Once you’ll be done stumbling and tweeting, could you please mow the lawn, walk the dog and take out the trash? Warning! You just received 3 tasks, and the last thing you need is to forget about ’em. Stay calm, Remember The Milk is there to help. Manage, assign, update, consult and get reminders for your most important tasks, all through your Twitter account. Now, at least remember to check your tweets once in a while! Note: the first one who finds out the inspiration for the three tasks listed in the example gets added to my RSS reader; use comments to reply :)

[tags] twitter [/tags]



17 Comments

  1. Azhar Says:

    OOooooo I love twitter, thanks for this post :)

  2. sir jorge Says:

    those are great uses for twitter, but i'm not sold on it yet.

  3. Brian Humphrey Says:

    Pat,

    Thanks for your kind mention of LAFD on Twitter! The alerts are also available (free of charge) to your e-mail, internet addressable device or RSS Reader by visiting: lafd.org/alert

    Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

    Brian Humphrey
    Firefighter/Specialist
    Public Service Officer
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    LAFD News Blog: lafd.org/blog

  4. pat Says:

    @ sir jorge: I was not sol either, but start using it and you'll see it's addictive :)

    @ Brian: thanks to you for the initiative, how did you find this post?

    pat

  5. jesie Says:

    Thanks for sharing. I forget my password and have problem accessing my twitter account. Any suggestion?

  6. Abhinav Sood Says:

    Awesome post, Pat. I really like twitter but still need to make the most out of it. This is a great resource about some very useful tools. Thanks :)

    @Jesie: Did you use the Forgot Password? feature yet?
    If that doesn't help you, nothing can! Go for a new account then.

  7. Brian Humphrey Says:

    @ pat: The Los Angeles Fire Department places a high value on shared knowledge. Combined with RSSbots, such allows me to not merely monitor, but actively engage in the near constant global conversation regarding technology and safety. I'm glad to have joined yours!

    Your readers might find this article as well as this interview to be of interest.

    Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

    Brian Humphrey
    Firefighter/Specialist
    Public Service Officer
    Los Angeles Fire Department

    LAFD News Blog: lafd.org/blog

  8. pat Says:

    @ Abhinav: thank you, I hope this will help you get the most out of twitter.

    @ Brian: let me tell you something, your internet integration is yeas ahead in front of other government/municipal services. hats off to lafd.

    pat

  9. Tinh Says:

    Great, I love this post too

  10. Patricia Skinner Says:

    I didn't think I'd like twitter--to be honest I'm getting thoroughly sick of social media for a number of reasons. But I love twitter to pieces. So useful in so many ways, and it's less obtrusive than other media--Facebook for example, which has started to drive me mad.

  11. Doug Says:

    Thanks for the Politweets mention. As soon as the race becomes more about two parties we have some plans to make it a little bit more interesting.

    For those who don't get twitter, don't understand or just want to learn more. The people from Common Craft (from there "In Plain English" series) did an excellent video on the topic. http://www.commoncraft.com/Twitter

  12. Marcus Goodyear Says:

    Nice. We've been looking at ways to incorporate Twitter into our nonprofit stuff. Some interesting possibilities in what you've presented.

  13. L.L. Barkat Says:

    I decided I would never Twitter. That was yesterday. Today, I'm hooked. Using it as a form of note-taking, on things I'm reading and want to remember and share. I guess you could call that "Social Notetaking" (yes, even talking to myself with notes is a form of social behavior I suppose!)

  14. Leah McChesney Says:

    Twitter is great, no doubt! Just learned today on twitter that car talk has podcasts and disney follows twitter at twisney...

    Just found you blog, good reading.

  15. Nikki Pilkington Says:

    Great article - and thanks for making me smile by alluding to Let's Get Rocked by Def Leppard :)

  16. pat Says:

    well, well, we officially have a winner! I never thought someone would find it. Yes, they are Def Leppard lyrics from Let's get rocked. I just subscribed to your blog.

    Thanks for commenting on the post.
    pat

  17. TheCHIMP Says:

    I really like getting Celebrity Sightings in real time to my phone.... @CelebSightings

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