Twitter is a great way to keep up with friends, family, online contacts, and even internet celebrities. It’s also a wonderful way to share news about yourself and your online exploits with people interested in YOUR story. A relatively new webapp called TwitterCounter [Broken URL Removed] can help you build a following and track your popularity over time.
TwitterCounter provides the Twitter community with a service that many other forms of communication already have. If you syndicate your own RSS feed, for example, Feed Burner is a quick and easy way to publicize and track the subscriptions to your feed. TwitterCounter is the Twitter equivalent of Feed Burner, automatically generating a counter for your site and giving you access to some fairly reasonable statistical data.
There are other ways to plug your Twitter account on your website. You can display an RSS feed of your account or install a widget that does the same thing. Unfortunately, the syntax and style of Twitter doesn’t lend itself to advertisement the way your site’s RSS feed might. Instead of each update leading off with a headline, tweets often include “@replies,” incomplete sentences, and other confusing information.
Since the feed of tweets itself isn’t a good advertising format, a better option is to display the number of followers you have. This is where I think TwitterCounter has it right. Their attractive (and customizable) chicklet can be seen here, in the midst of other chicklets. The internet is largely based on “the wisdom of crowds,” why not use that philosophy to sell your Twitter account: “If other people like it, you might too!” Check out TwitterCounter chicklet for MakeUseOf Twitter account.
Once your list of followers begins to grow, TwitterCounter has some interesting features to help you track that growth. First of all, there is a graph of the last seven days of statistics. I would like to see them offer a further look back, but it’s not incredibly necessary. Also, they have an interesting box of data that displays either past numbers or projected growth. The projections aren’t very complex (if you have a little bit of a dip it predicts catastrophe), but they are at least fun to look at.
Another thing TwitterCounter has going for it is popularity. More and more people are using TwitterCounter buttons on their sites, which means their recognition among your readers will probably also increase. Further, TwitterCounter has started a system to track the top Twitterers. While you are unlikely to actually end up there, it will give you an idea of who is really leading in the Twitter arms race and what kind of posts they are making.
Are there things I’d like to see TwitterCounter do in the future? Of course! I’m picky.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Build in the capacity to show more information about your Twitter feed (like how many people you’re following or even a mini-profile widget).
- Provide better analytical data for individual user accounts.
- Extend their service to some of the other popular micro-blogging services (such as Plurk, [NO LONGER WORKS] Pownce, or ).
Despite these added comments, I’d say TwitterCounter is a solid service that will hopefully grow bigger and stronger in the future.
Have you tried out TwitterCounter? What do you think? What would you have them add to their service?