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Social Media: Twitter Utilities, Part 1
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Social Media: Twitter Utilities, Part 1 - Executive Leadership Articles

Social Media: Twitter Utilities, Part 1

Executive Leadership Articles

Social Media: Twitter Utilities, Part 1

For good or ill, and whether we use it personally or not, Twitter is a part of the daily conversation these days. What was once (and is still for many) a platform for personal engagement has grown past its how-can-I-make-money-from-this and become an avenue for public figures—musicians, actors, athletes, journalists, and yes, elected officials—to communicate directly with the public. Twitter is still good for all of it, and contrary to popular doomsaying a few years ago, it’s not going anywhere.

In August 2018, Twitter made drastic changes to its API (application program interface), the code that allows third-party apps to use Twitter’s functions. Where it was once wide open, allowing for literally hundreds of third-party, standalone mobile and desktop apps, it now restricts certain access, decreasing functionality for out-of-house apps. For now, there remain many connectible utilities worth taking a look at, for practicality or whimsy. Here’s a look at some we like.

On the whimsical side, there are still a few good web-based apps whose simple offering is a detailed look at a user’s profile. There’s really no super-useful reason to know your (or someone else’s) Twitterversary, the day on which you first signed on to Twitter, but it can be a fun topic of conversation. The web apps have come and gone, but one we still look at on occasion is MyTwitterBirthday.com, which doesn’t require an access authorization. Simply enter your account name, and the web interface tells you the exact time and date of your Twitter account’s “birth,” plus the number of followers you have and the number of Tweets you’ve put out. You can share this fun info on Twitter or Facebook by clicking a button and connecting your accounts.

SparkToro.com offers free utilities related to reach and following. One is its “Spark Score,” which rates you (or someone else) according to the influence and reach of your followers on a scale from 1 to 100. Its detailed insights can help you with your social media strategy, but we really like another of the website’s free services: the Fake Follower Audit. Entering an account gives you an “estimated percentage of inactive, spam, bot, and other fake followers.” This rating is used as part of the Spark Score, but it’s mostly useful for giving you an idea of how much of your reach is legitimate. It even provides a neat graphic showing you what percentage of your followers is of a certain quality, based on its articulated definitions. The website seems to be something of a ghost town now (and its Twitter account shows zero tweets), but the functionality it’s left behind is still useful.

Getting rid of fake followers may not be of utmost importance, but if you strive to keep your social media engagement as real as possible, it can feel good to block fake accounts. A web app at fakers.statuspeople.com examines your followers and tells you how many fake accounts, how many inactive accounts, and how many good accounts are following you. Your fake list lets you examine each account flagged as fake, and block or unflag each account as you see fit. An auto-block feature will automatically block all your fake followers (which can take days if you have thousands). Be cautioned that this website also seems to have been ghosted; its blog hasn’t been updated in two years and its Twitter activity never was very robust.

Any time you grant access to a third-party app, you add security risk, so use these (and any) tools with prudence. If you haven’t looked through your Twitter app authorization list lately, do it now. At Twitter.com, click your avatar which goes to your profile and settings. In the left panel, click “apps and devices.” You’ll probably be surprised at how many apps have access to your account. If you no longer have use for (or don’t even remember!) the app, revoke its access. If you just connected an app to try it out, or if, as in some of these examples, you have reason to believe the app is no longer maintained, revoke access. You can always re-authorize the app if you want to generate another report or use a third-party app to do a quick purge of non-followers.


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Social Media: Twitter Utilities, Part 1 - Executive Leadership Articles

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