So I’ve been staying away from the Twitter craziness for some time, primarily because Facebook integration was sketchy at best (the Twitter app used to add “is twittering” to your Facebook status so you’d look like a total ass) and because none of my friends were on it. But then I watched as the Intrigo folks commented on my post on Twitter, where I could see it and respond back and something appealed to me about the “open text messaging/IMing” concept. Allowing others to join in on a conversation is fun and, more importantly, a great way to find interesting people.

After I configured my account, it was time to make Twitter work for me, to the maximum extent allowed by the law. Here’s what I’ve done to make my Twitter experience a bit better, after the jump.

Firefox Integration
If you’re running Firefox like you should be, then you’ll want to take a look at TwitterFox and TwitterBar. TwitterFox is a tasty little Add-On that sits in your status bar and offers pop-up updates when your friends tweet. @replies are colored different as are direct messages, and you can of course set your status right from the box. I like this better than some of the sidebar-based add-ons mostly because I hate the sidebar concept in general.

You can have TwitterFox check multiple accounts and configure its update frequency and popup duration. Just what I’d want from a Twitter app.

TwitterBar is an even simpler way to post status updates. Just start typing into the address bar and click the green + instead of the blue arrow. Done and done.

Facebook Integration
This one’s simple: Browse on over to the Twitter Facebook App and get cracking. This app used to prepend your status with “is twittering” much to the chagrin of a good deal of users. Now there’s something of a schism, and two distinctly boring camps have formed. I’m in the “please don’t verb my FB status” camp, for what it’s worth.

An alternative used to be available called TwitterSync which allowed you to customize the prepend verb. Since Twitter deactivated their XMPP service for most API clients, this and many other plugins have stopped working. (That link discusses the possibility of them reactivating the XMPP functionality.)

Finally, you’ll need to ensure you browse to the privacy options and explicitly allow Twitter to push status updates through to Facebook.

Mobile Integration
Now you’ll want to set up your phone to allow you to post Twitter updates. By simply text messaging 40404, you can publish a status update to Twitter and to Facebook. Cool. You can also select if you wish to be text-pinged with direct messages.

For some reason that completely confounds me, however, Twitter does NOT allow you to be SMS-pinged with @replies. Since hardly anyone uses direct messages (relatively speaking), this smacks of obnoxiousness. What’s worse is that they acknowledge their own stupidity on this matter with the follow FAQ answer: “Unlike Direct Messages, there is no special setting for receiving @replies only, but if you’d like to see one, send us a feature request by selecting “idea.” Let me just say that if enough users have requested a feature for you to write an FAQ about it, perhaps you should build it instead of suggesting we file it as a feature request!

One Twitter user posts a workaround, essentially relying on the mobile “track” feature. Type “track {yourname}” and you’ll get all updates that mention that phrase. This totally sucks if your user name also happens to be, say, a word someone would use in their normal vocabulary. (It also seems to have a significant delay associated with it…)

Other Twitter Stuff
There are plenty of other Twitter features and fun times to be had including other mobile applications, desktop- and sidebar-based apps and more. Check out’s rather comprehensive breakdown of Twitter applications and plugins and get tweeting!

Posted in: Cool Stuff, How To