Twitting without Twitter

I’ve a hunch Twitter has become the resounding success it is today not just because it’s an overly simplistic application in a world that has somehow misled itself into needlessly complicating everything, but also because of the rich assortment of clients that make sending and receiving Tweets second nature.

Amongst the dedicated Twitter clients, Seesmic for Windows is my personal favorite. Unlike Twhirl and other Adobe-AIR-based clients, it isn’t a memory and processor guzzler. Native OS clients are the most efficient, no issues on that.

But what happens if you don’t want to download another dedicated client for a trivial task? You use your current arsenal of software tools, of course! I use two fantastic tools that have made life oh so easy for me: Ping.fm and FeedDemon.

Ping.fm is a software service that allows you to send tweets via conventional email or instant messaging. All you need is a specialized mail id (which you get when you register with the service) to which any mail sent is automatically converted into a tweet. Otherwise, you can add Ping.fm as a virtual contact on your instant messenger (like Yahoo! Messenger or GTalk) and send tweets merely by sending messages. It’s that easy. Since my mail client sits on the system tray all day long waiting to grab any mail that comes my way, I generally prefer twitting via email to instant messaging.

Receiving tweets is done best via an RSS reader like FeedDemon. Twitter is clever enough to grant you a password-protected RSS feed of all the tweets sent by the folks you follow. Since the feed is password-protected, however, you can’t directly use a web-based RSS reader like Google Reader. There are other ways to circumvent this limitation, though this might endanger your account. You could also subscribe to password-free feeds of individual users, although this could mean more work.

The only problem with this approach is that you lose the ability to send direct messages or delete previous tweets. What the heck, if you occasionally need such privileges, you can always log into good old Twitter, can’t you?!

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