Twitter has become a giant in the world of social media, and this is largely due to the constraints imposed by the platform. By limiting messages on the service to 140 characters, Twitter has created a compelling experience by making short, manageable updates the norm. These constraints make updating Twitter an easy task by default, creating the phenomenon that was the media has termed "micro-blogging".
But while most users are willing to work entirely within Twitter's imposed constraints, many power users want to extend Twitter's functionality. As with many of the large social media platforms, Twitter has given rise to a solar system of orbiting services, some more useful than others. Many Twitter services have come and gone, but here are 5 services that have some staying power, and may be worth a look if you are looking to do more with Twitter.
Instagram gained notoriety via its explosive user growth, ultimately resulting in attention and apprehension from social media juggernaut Facebook, who acquired Instagram for approximately $700 million. Since the acquisition, the user base has still been strong, and it remains a heavily trafficked service over Twitter. Instagram allows users to take photos over their mobile phone using a variety of artistic filters. Instagram is largely a mobile application, and the popularity of a mobile photo sharing app was appropriately worrying for Facebook. Instagram is a great option if looking to share photos via Twitter.
Vine is a relative newcomer to the Twitter ecosystem, but it has captured the attention of many Twitter users, particularly a number of power users who are potential influencers in the community, who could allow a product to go viral. Vine is a product launched by Twitter itself, and it introduces Twitter's principle of constraints to the concept of sharing videos by allowing users to post videos of only 6-10 seconds in length. These videos are then displayed in a loop on the application. This format has allowed for new and interesting forms of expression in shared videos, and this uniqueness has been a big part of its early success. Vine is a great option for video sharing, provided you can get accustomed to its constrained format.
Favstar, found at favstar.fm, is a service that allows you to arrange your tweets by popularity, based on mentions, favorites and retweets, giving you a comprehensive view of your messages that have had the most impact. Furthermore, you can view other users tweets ranked in the same fashion. This can be a valuable tool for providing a quick look into which of your messages are finding the most impact with your audience, and perhaps offering some insight into how to better provide your audience with what they'd like to see.
Tweetdeck is one of many, many clients for the Twitter service, but it is one of the oldest and most full-featured. It provides a number of advantages over the web or mobile app, from managing multiple feeds, to scheduling future tweets to monitoring and filtering messages. Many of the third party Twitter clients provide similar features, so its worth researching to find whether a particular client has a mix of features you need, but as a default option, Tweetdeck is a long-standing, reliable choice.
IFTTT stands for "If This, Then That." It is a web service designed to schedule and deploy "recipes"; sequences of events that are triggered and execute as a result of previous web actions. IFTTT has a lot of options for integrating with Twitter, allowing for automation of tasks such as a welcome message to be sent to every new follower on Twitter, or email or SMS notifications when certain Twitter messages are received. IFTTT allows for automation of tasks between many web services, allowing you to control many aspects of your online life via Twitter and vice versa.