Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tweet This - Twitter That - Unhub it all!

I've been exploring the wonderful world of Twitter and Tweets for the past week, and yesterday, I learned about a new application to combine all our online presences: Unhub.com . Here's how it came about.

For many months now, I've largely ignored the Twitterati: Can you wonder why, based on the text on the Twitter home page? Do my friends and family really need to know each time I have a coffee, or what I eat for dinner, or any of the humdrum details of my day to day life? I think not. I hope not. That's what Facebook is for :-) but I rarely update my status there, either. But there is only so much drivel we can take.

And yet, this past week, I thought I'd see what Twitter could do for me. I set up a Twitter account, and found a wonderful network of travel writers, website owners, and travel news in the process. And with a 140-character limit on tweets, brevity is King!

Twitter Home Page
Here's the home page: Easy enough to set up an account. Then you start searching for other Twitterers you'd like to Follow.

Search Twitter
If you have a Facebook account, you will be familiar with Find Friends searches. As Facebook does, so Twitter will search your own online email accounts and identify contacts who are already on Twitter. Click on their Twitter name, and you can check the little 'follow' box. Then, whenever they make a post, their message will appear in your Twitter page when you are logged in.

I spent a happy few days playing around with this. I added some to Follow, and soon others were Following me. Of course, not all my Follows are in my own email contact list: some I searched out, to see what they tweeted and if it was useful to me: Matt Cutts (Google engineer), Google, and a host of travel writer colleagues are a great help; Others, who posted too many Tweets about subjects of little interest / use to me, I soon Unfollowed.

A few spammers - gosh they try everything, don't they? When someone follows you, Twitter sends you an email to let you know. You can then go see who they are, and what they have to offer. If you know them. or check out their website and like them, you can click the Follow button. The spammers who Follow you usually have only one posted update, and it's the usual Buy This, Get This etc that you find in your email spam. These Twitterers do not last more than a day - and all you have to do is Block them.

If you have a website or a blog, you can post it in your Twitter Profile and make it easy for new Followers to find your site(s). But if you have more than one site/blog, and a Facebook, YouTube, Myspace or a presence on any of the myriad social networking sites or photo sharing sites, it can be overwhelming to list them all. If you use a signature file at the bottom of your email, a long list of websites can set off spam blockers.

And so it was, yesterday, that I learned of a new app for combining all your online sites into one neat link: Enter unhub.com . Here's the resulting page when I use this 'UNiversal HUB' to list all my sites as one link so visitors to select which site they want.

Unhub Home Page
As with Twitter, unhub.com is pretty intuitive. I had a popup blocker setting I wasn't aware of, and so I had a glitch the first time I tried to set up my account, but the Help link helped sort it out fast. Then I added my links to various sites (except Facebook profile), and selected the Tweetree page link as my Home page. You can set your unhub home page to be any of your links.
Unhub Home Page
The menu / banner across the top shows all your other links. Choose from the drop down menu on the Account tab, and then My Links in the menu, and add away!

Writing this post has taken far longer than it would take to set up a Twitter account and an Unhub account, but there you have it!

Now, I think I will see if Oprah is on Twitter!

Oh my! Just searched Oprah and 23 results came back, with only one showing the official Oprah site: http://twitter.com/OfficialOprah with only two posts. Hmmmm - won't follow that one yet.

There's http://twitter.com/O_Magazine , which looks like it's her. The one below it claims over 5,000 followers, with no posts and no info. Suspicious for sure. Maybe I'll try http://twitter.com/BarackObama instead. The thing with following someone, you can read their Tweets first, to see if they interest you.

Maybe I will stick to my travel writing colleagues: Just today, Michael in Bangkok RT (re-tweeted) a good Twitter site Travel Safety. Now how handy is this???

More info at unhub.com and Twitter.com
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