Random Thoughts

Get Twitter off the web and on your desktop

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Yes, I have once again changed my Twitter Desktop App…and yes I’ll probably change again in the future. That’s part of why Twitter is so much fun. You get to explore, try new ways of looking at your data, your searches, your stream of information.

Twitter is a playground to me. It has been since I started using it in 2007 (man that seems so long ago!). It’s been fun to watch it grow over the past couple of years and hit the mainstream in the past couple of months. I’m excited to see where it goes, but in the mean time let’s keep playing!

I downloaded the Seesmic Desktop Application a couple weeks ago and had a play with it. I enjoyed my time with TweetDeck and still haven’t uninstalled it, but after Kim had me try Nambu which is a Mac specific Twitter Desktop App, it sent me on a search for a new one.

Many people don’t get Twitter. Even after signing up for an account people still have a hard time understanding how it works, or why you’d want to use it. I think using a desktop app is the only way to truly understand Twitter and use it successfully.

Because Twitter has gone mainstream it makes it a nice news feed, friend feed, and information silo. Using a desktop app like Seesmic allows you to create groups of users, follow search terms, and keep track of a lot of different content easily. Seesmic has a great set of videos to get you started.

For example I have a column that follows any mentions of the Mariners (it is baseball season after all!). I have a couple different columns of users. People often ask me how I keep up with so many followers. My answer is simple….I don’t. I quit trying to keep up with them a long time ago and instead I’ve taken a data mining approach to Twitter and I’ve created groups that work for me.

I have a group called “My PLN” if you’ve in education and you’ve shared a link that I’ve enjoyed or happened across you get put into this group (2 clicks and 2 seconds). I have a group called “My Peeps” these are my close friends and colleages I work with. It allows me to keep a close eye on say Dennis Harter my colleague and what he’s tweeting about.

The other nice feature of Seesmic and most Twitter Destop Apps is that it allows me to easily unfollow or block spammers, making it easy to manage my profile from within the Twitter App itself.

Then there is the added bounce of being able to update your Facebook status within the same application, now if only they could add FriendFeed updates…they’d have the trifecta!

On my Mac I run Seesmic in a Space. It gets a space all to itself and simple runs in the background. I go to it when I need something, have a second to catch up on a conversation or need information on something happening in real time. I go there when I have something to share, when I feel like I can add to the value of others stream of information or when I simple want people to know what I’m doing….after all that was its original use.

TwitterCamp still has the most potential

TwitterCamp was the first AIR app that I installed and today I still think it has the most potential for use in schools, conferences, etc. I was glad to see that it was updated last November to work with the new and improved Twitter. I love that they have now released the code to the open-source community to help improve on. There is no other app that displays Tweets the way TwitterCamp does and it engages people when put on a big screen. Now that it seems to be working again (still testing it as I type) we could have some fun with this at NECC09. Now….were do we get one of those flat screen TVs? 😉

(Thanks to Brian Smith who captured this picture of Mark Wagner taking a picture of TwitterCamp running at NECC07. The first bloggers cafe and we hijacked the flat screen. Who’s idea was that anyway?)

I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


  1. Pingback: Susan Larson

  2. Pingback: Patrick Truchon

  3. Thanks so much Jeff, I have been tired of Tweetdeck for a while now, not sure why, but it was clunky and slow and not doing it for me anymore. I just couldn’t get exited about Nambu either, but this Seesmic looks like the real deal. I have just installed it, but I am liking what I see.

    Does it have a auto-fill for @ replies. So when you type @ it just gives you a name? I loved that feature on Tweetdeck, but oh well.

    Thanks again, Great post!

    • No…that feature is missing…for now anyway. I hated that feature at first in TweetDeck but got use to it…now I wish that Seesmic had it.

  4. Pingback: Godfrey Lee

  5. Jeff,
    What are your thoughts on students using Twitter as a teaching tool? I teach at an International School in Hong Kong which has been closed due t swine flu. I am looking at trying to innovate with how I communicate with the students now they are at home. Twitter seems like a great idea, fun, novel etc. My only concern is that on the Twitter stite they suggest that it shol only be used by 13 year olds and up. I teach 1 year olds. Any other suggestions about how I can innovate during this time.

    • Twitter has to put the 13 year old age limit on their site due to the COPPA law in the USA. Using Twitter with students has some advantages but not sure I’d use it as a main communication system with students. If you have their cell numbers SMS (text messaging) might be a better way. Or even setting up a class blog to have them give and get information might be easier. Just my thinking…keep my posted if you do use Twitter with them, could be a good experiment.

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