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How To Twitter

Lani wrote an excellent post about twitter, an easy to understand how to. If you are unfamiliar with Twitter, read her post first.

Also see Lani’s “Twitter Tools” post with some specifics on how to use Twitter.

After people sign up and start using twitter, they start to ask what it is good for, I know I did. Twitter is a great way to network with others in the real estate industry and to learn from them but there is so much more to twitter. This post just scratches the surface, and is about some of my favorite ways of using twitter.

But Have You Tried…

Have you ever tried getting local? Check out Twitter local. Put in your location and find people in your area who use twitter. You can set it up to find tweets coming from a mile away, up to 20 miles away. The tweets are interesting, and it is a great way to meet people in your own town. I installed the twitter local adobe air application found on the twitter local site and now have it on my desk top. Now I get local news as it happens.

Speaking of adobe air, The Twirl application is a great way to use twitter. It is much easier to use than the twitter web site. I can click on a face when I want to reply to a tweet and don’t have to type in the “@” of the “d”. I highly recommend it. All the twitter functions work with the click of a button and the ability to generate a tiny URL is built in. There are other applications and web sites but I like Twirl better than any of the others that I have tried.

But There’s More…

Have you ever seen Twitter Vision? I watched the primaries on it last November. There is a map of the world and tweets pop up on the map. I saw the tweets as the polls closed and read peoples thoughts on the election and who they voted for. I learned early on that voter turn out was high as people discussed how long the lines were. A real time picture of what people are talking about. Honestly I can watch it for hours. Also see Flickr vision, a related product that shows flickr photos from all over the world as they are uploaded.

Twitter is text messaging and a mobile phone will send and recieve the tweets via SMS. For most, it is not an attractive option for keeping up with a few hundred friends and so we use programs for our phones or PDA’s to make it easier.

I am an old fashioned kind of gal and still use a blackberry. I love the thing and will give it up one day when it is pried from my cold dead hands. I wore out the first one, and so I bought the pearl about 18 months ago. I may upgrade next year to the curve, but I digress. If you use a blackberry try TwitterBerry. It was a lousy application when it first came out but I have to say the latest version really wows me. It is now so much easier for me to track the people I follow when I am away from my office, which is much of the time. Check Google for applications for phones and PDA’s, and let us all know if you find one that wows you.

One of My Favorites

One of my favorite sites is Summize. I can pick a topic, tag, hash tag, keyword or phrase and read what people are saying about it. I great way to learn more on a variety of topics.

I have also been using BrightKite, it is a kind of network with in a network. I am able to find other twitter users in my vacinity. I update my location and it shows up on twitter, when I upload a photo to bright kite it also goes out onto twitter. It has a bit more going on that twitpic which also allows me to upload photos from my phone and they they show up as “tweets” with links on twitter. TwitPic has a map just like twitter vision but it only shows photos.

And Many More

There are many more twitter related applications. The tools I mention are the ones that I use. Today I am looking for commentary on a local issue so I am using both twitter local and summize to get information. I am reading tweets, following links, and commenting on blog posts.

For those who have a little time this weekend, explore some of the sites I have mentioned and search for more twitter related products and services.

What are some of your favorite ways to use twitter?

Full time REALTOR and licensed broker with Saint Paul Home Realty Realty in St. Paul, Minnesota. Author of, Columnist for Inman News and an avid photographer.

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  1. Bill Lublin

    June 14, 2008 at 10:19 am

    Thank you – I feel lke I have only skimmed the surface of twitter, and the applications you mention are really handy – I used the local piece of brightkite, but I didn;t realize that Twitter had that same functionality.

    I’m googling to see if there is a twitterberry clone for the TREO (its a long story – I almost went over to the blackberry but there is a single application that I use that they don’t have so I’m staying with the TREO) ;-(

    Anyway great post – And Happy Birthday to Daisy 🙂

  2. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    June 14, 2008 at 11:10 am

    Teresa, Twitter has become my favorite tool. The great thing about social media marketing is that you can give all the “secrets” in the world away and not damage your own edge because social media is based on each individual’s personality meshing with others’ personalities- there’s room for everyone. I enjoy Twitter, but if it didn’t benefit our business, there’s a massive chance I wouldn’t even have a Twitter account, I just don’t have the time… I know that’s contrary to others’ Twitter use, but that’s just my own personal take.

    I use TwitLocal, I use twhirl, I have direct messages going to my cell phone, and we do lots and lots of offline meetups of fellow local Twits. I haven’t quite dug brightkite yet though… but it is on my mind! I use Twitter to disseminate AND collect information; it’s waaaaay faster than the RSS feeder 🙂

  3. Chris Griffith

    June 14, 2008 at 11:15 am

    Skimmed the surface, Bill? You showed up and immediately renamed me!

  4. Charles Woodall

    June 14, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    So is using a Blackberry really old fashioned? Crap…I just got one 🙂

  5. Paula Henry

    June 14, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    Teresa –

    I have used some of the applications for Twitter. I do use it to send out my blog posts and twit sometimes. All the new technology makes my head spin and the time it takes is well….lots for now.

    I do use twitter to find local people though – we have a group here of small business owners, Smaller Indiana, which has a group for those who twitter. I don’t think Twitter is going away – so I might as well learn it and utilize it. Thanks for the links

  6. Vicki Moore

    June 17, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    Charles – I’m with you!

    Shhh. Don’t tell anyone but I haven’t heard of any of these sites.

  7. Ravi Shah

    June 20, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Thanks for turning me onto TwitterBerry – I’ve been using the mobile version of Twitter in my browser but it wasn’t very user friendly. I just downloaded twitterberry and it’s a much better experience

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Social Media

Instagram makes IGTV videos more accessible with automatic closed captions

(SOCIAL MEDIA) This new feature for Instagram opens avenues for viewers who don’t or can’t use audio on IGTV videos, creating more accessibility for all.



Instagram live being recorded will now feature auto captions.

In an effort to expand accessibility efforts, IGTV videos on Instagram will now include an auto captions option. While its parent company, Facebook, has included auto captions on uploaded videos since 2017, this new-for-Instagram feature is expected to widen audience viewership and increase potential viewing by those who prefer watching sans-audio.

In a statement by Facebook, the company states: “While there is no shortage of information, not everyone can access it. It needs to be available to the hundreds of millions of people in the world who are deaf or hard of hearing. According to the World Health Organization, over 5% of the world’s population – or 466 million people – have disabling hearing loss, and that is projected to increase to over 900 million by 2050.”

Current events have made the need for auto captions even more critical for inclusion. “The rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic caused a spike in both the supply and demand of public health information. Several local and state governments, that were accustomed to holding live press conferences but didn’t have the resources, staff or technology to record, stream, and caption their live events, turned to Facebook Live. Several governments also discovered that video captioning was not just a nice-to-have, but imperative, especially in the absence of available sign language interpreters,” states the company.

Currently, Facebook provides auto captions for videos in 16 languages and has announced that Instagram’s IGTV will have access to the same features. The caption accuracy is determined by the video’s audio quality, although AI technology is constantly improving in both precision and speed.

Additionally, branded content ads are likely to see an increase in consumer interaction. Recently published data by Facebook shows ads visually designed for watching with the sound off have 48% more relevance to viewers and a 42% higher purchase intent. As auto captions normalize across social media, users can expect ad content to utilize this feature to the fullest.

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Social Media

New tool organizes your Reddit feed (and makes it actually usable)

(Social Media) Reddit’s UI hasn’t always been super intuitive. ‘Deck for Reddit’ organizes your feed into themed columns, making it way more user-friendly.



Deck for Reddit on display on laptop on desk.

Love it or hate it, the mass collection of forums on Reddit have some form of content for everyone. The simple UX design places content straight down the middle of the screen and the infinite scrolling feature allows you to view a limitless amount of content from cute puppy images to cringe-worthy videos. However, its simplicity isn’t very practical, and is something that I think should be voted down.

Yes, Reddit has come a long way from its previous text-heavy form, but there is still a lot to improve on. Charles Yang, a frustrated Reddit user, has created a web app that could change all that: Deck for Reddit, a desktop optimized, alternative way to browse your favorite forums.

“I built it to show as much content as possible at a glance, while respecting your screen real-estate,” writes Yang.

Currently, the web app is in open beta. With a very similar experience to Tweetdeck, this Reddit tool seems to hold some promise.

On the far left side of the website, there is a list of icons with all the subreddits you’ve subscribed to. Clicking on an icon will take you directly to that subreddit column. This is very convenient for users with a bunch of subscriptions. Additionally, by making several subreddits visible on the screen all at once, Yang succeeds in his goal of taking advantage of the vast empty white space that Reddit failed to use.

From this display, you can click on a post, and it instantly expands to show all the comments. Hit the back button, and the post collapses. Now, you are back to seeing all the posts related to that subreddit. And at the top of each subreddit, you can easily sort the content by what’s new, popular, and trendy. Engagement has never felt easier.

Along with everything else, this extension also adds another great feature in setting customizations. The theme can be switched from light to dark mode. Fonts, text size, and even the shape of the subreddit icons can all be adjusted. Preferences can be changed to hide viewed submissions and reduce animation motion. And if you’re slacking off at work or want to chill, you can set it to hide NSFW content.

Overall, Deck for Reddit makes the user experience smooth sailing, and it truly makes Reddit the “front page of the internet.”

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Social Media

Instagram now lets you create and share fundraisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) If you’ve been wanting to start a fundraiser for something you care about, Instagram’s new feature lets you do just that. Go check it out!



Instagram Fundraiser

Instagram announced last week that it has launched a test for a Personal Fundraiser tool on its platform. The feature will allow users to start their own fundraiser if it complies with guidelines or choose an existing cause to support. The launch began in some US, UK, and Ireland markets and is available on Android and iOS.

In its announcement, the company confirmed that since January, more than $100 million has been raised for COVID-19 across Facebook and Instagram (also owned by Facebook), citing that donations on Instagram have doubled in the US in the past 30 days. The announcement said, “from people raising money to buy medical equipment for Black Lives Matter protesters, rebuilding Black-owned small businesses affected by COVID-19 and funding educational resources related to racial justice, people are eager to mobilize around causes they care about.”

Personal Fundraisers are short-term and meant to serve time-sensitive causes, with the initial duration lasting 30 days with the option to extend for an additional 30 days. Users must be 18 to create a fundraiser and have a designated bank account in which funds can be deposited. Donations will be processed through Facebook Pay, which also powers Instagram’s new shopping features. The platform covers fees for non-profits, but not for Personal Fundraisers. Donors can choose to keep their information hidden from the public, but organizers will be able to see user names and donation amounts.

To start a Personal Fundraiser, users with access to the feature can tap “Edit Profile”, “Add Fundraiser”, followed by “Raise Money”. They can then choose a photo, select the fundraiser category, and write out a story to encourage donations. When approved, users will be able to raise funds.

Instagram says it will expand the number of users who have access to this feature in the months ahead, as well as give users access to share fundraisers both in their Feed and within Stories. Fundraising features already offered by the company include Donation Stickers for Stories and a Live Donations feature for live streams.

This feature is similar to the fundraising feature already available on Facebook, Instagram’s parent company.

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