One of the coolest, and most exciting features of Twitter is how good it is at connecting people – the user base is huge and full of interesting people you can connect with in a way only Twitter allows.
The problem, though, is that Twitter does essentially nothing to help you find interesting people. There was the whole @replies debacle, where Twitter took away the ability to see who your friends are talking to – that was almost a disaster for discovering new people.
Even after that was fixed, Twitter made it easy to search for interesting tweets but not as much for doing a Twitter search to find interesting people. That’s what TwitterHIT is out there to remedy. TwitterHIT is all about finding new people and new friends on Twitter, by providing some unique search options.
The first thing to do is log in – you use your Twitter account credentials – which always makes me nervous – but in a few hours of using it, TwitterHIT didn’t ever tweet anything or take information I didn’t want it to. It appears, at least for now, trustworthy. It does send one tweet when you follow people (a super-cryptic one at that), but it’s harmless enough, and easy to delete.
Once you’re logged in, you’re brought to the “start” screen (above). On that screen, you get two different boxes – a space for keywords, and one for locations. The keywords are essentially like any other Twitter search, but the location-based search is what makes TwitterHIT great.
Let’s say, you want to find people in your city who like to play squash. Type “played squash” or “playing squash” into the keywords, and then your location in the bottom field. All the people on Twitter who are near you will be returned to you, and they are the ones who have tweeted about their squash-playing activities.
TwitterHIT conducts a Twitter search, finds the results and presents them in a list on the results page, with usernames, pictures, and latest tweets all on that one page. It returns 20 results, and with an upgraded account – 200. The free account always did me fine, though. Browse the list, and toggle the checkbox next to anyone you want to follow. At the end of the list, click the “Follow These People” button, and TwitterHIT automatically follows them for you.
If you want to, you can then repeat the whole process. There are some seriously annoying ads that come up after each “Follow These People” session, but they go away after a few seconds.
Also part of TwitterHIT’s upgraded account (which you get either by paying $147 or completing a trial offer through an affiliate like Blockbuster) are several other tools – following back your followers automatically, automatically retweeting things with certain keywords, and the like. These all sound like ingredients for a spammy Twitter account to me, or may come in handy for someone who uses Twitter for business purposes – the free version’s got the one feature I really want to use.
TwitterHIT is great for making Twitter a more localized version of itself, and helping to bring you into contact with people you might actually develop a relationship with outside of Twitter. There are more and more people on Twitter every day, and TwitterHIT offers one great way to find the people near you who might actually be relevant to you both on and off Twitter.
How do you find interesting people, not just interesting tweets, on Twitter? Don’t forget to share with us in the comments.
Image Credit: the trial
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