In Part 1 I focused on the the basics of getting started with Twitter and finished with some of the options to send/receive Tweets (in technical terms “client options”). As there are a number of approaches available to you, I wanted to focus this blog entry specifically on this topic:

Before you read on:

Without diving into painful technical details that most people don’t care about, Kevin fleshed out the following diagram to demonstrate the Twitter clients that I will touch upon in this entry:

There are many ways to post information to the Twitter Network.

What is common across all of the solutions:

  1. You will use the same Twitter account for any/all of the solutions discussed.
  2. You can be logged into the same Twitter account in multiple clients running at the same time.
  3. Some clients may require you to create an account with that service.

So with that as a background/refresher we can start talking about client options.

Option  #1 — Browser Based Clients

I often encounter people that aren’t familiar with the term “Browser”. Browser is the “generic” term for the application you use to access the Internet (such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari or Chrome).

Regardless of the browser you are using, if you go to www.twitter.com and “Log In”, you will be using the native Twitter client. In terms of functionality, it’s a simple application, but it allows you to do the basics — namely send and receive tweets.

There are other browser based services that provide more functionality than Twitter. One site is called Hootsuite. Hootsuite provides you with significantly more functionality than the native Twitter client. For example, you could schedule a tweet (or tweets) at predetermined times. As Hootsuite is its own service, you need to first create an account at the Hootsuite site. Once you log into Hootsuite, you can then add your Twitter account.

Option #2  —  Locally Installed Applications

There are a number of applications that are available in this space. To run these programs you need to download and install a client onto your workstation. As an example, one client that I have been experimenting with is called Tweetdeck.

Option #3  — Access via Smart Phones

As I haven’t investigated all of the options, if you have a smart phone, such as an Android or an iPhone, you can download an application, usually free, that allows you to receive and send Tweets regardless of where you are. (I may cover this addiction in another post …). As I am an Android user, I have been using the Twitdroid application which works well.

What Approach Is Right for You?

The short answer — there is no right approach! It really depends on:

  • What you are trying to accomplish.
  • How sophisticated you are.
  • What your comfort level with the tools/services are.

A key consideration between “browser based” and “locally installed” clients is availability (or some might say convenience). Browser based clients are accessible no matter where you are (home, work, vacation), while locally installed applications can only be accessed when you are in front of that machine.

Also, there is nothing stopping you from using Hootsuite and Tweetdeck simultaneously (remember you can be logged into Twitter through multiple methods), so you should try each one and see which best meets your needs.

To finish Part II, some thoughts I would like to share:

  • Clients like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck allow you to have multiple accounts (that is something I will talk about in a later blog entry).
  • If you follow people that only describe their everyday movements, you will get bored quickly (unless of course someone has a very entertaining life).
  • A good starting place to find people to follow is search.twitter.com. This allows you to search for subjects of interest to you, and you can then follow the people you find interesting.