Anyone who knows me knows that I use Twitter a lot. To tweet about my business, my books, and random irrelevant information about my kids, my dogs, my travels and falling over in the mud in the dark (while trying to entertain said dogs).
The great thing about Twitter is that it puts you in touch, fast, with a lot of like minded or similar minded business and social people, with the downside, of course, that everything you do where social media is concerned carries the risk that the whole world may know about it - the things you want the world to know, and the things that you may not. My message there is be careful, always, and be prepared for the world to know. Don't say anything online anywhere that you want to keep private. There is always a risk.
And then there's spam, of course. Twitter has got much better recently about dealing with spam, but it will never be perfect - with the constant development in the Twittersphere how could it be?
So I hope that you already know not to open any links, shortened or otherwise, from people you don't know, or any that tell you there are quick ways of getting Twitter followers/making money online/getting your teeth whitened or anything that looks remotely like a standard follow. You may know all this already and if so I apologise, but I think some people don't, judging by the public timeline.
I rarely use the main Twitter page, and you again may already know about these two apps. If you do not, they are both indispensible. These are the ones that I use. There are many, many more and please don't hesitate to suggest others. My aim here is to keep this simple.
Tweetdeck is the one to download the minute you get on to Twitter but be careful, because it's addictive. You can see immediately what's going on on the general timeline, who is 'mentioning' you (and therefore you will want, probably, to get back to quickly) and who is sending you a private message. You can look up profiles, add and monitor your Facebook and My Space pages and much more. The link shortening facility is the best that I've found.
Hootsuite is more a professional application, but again indispensible for anyone who blogs, tweets regularly, and doesn't want things to stop just because they go away. You can do everything you do at Tweetdeck, although the link shortening facility isn't quite as instantaneous, load up your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts and decide with a tick who you want to post to. You can schedule tweets in advance, which is where I particularly like this app.
Provided you use their link shortening facility you can instantly see how many people clicked through and check your most successful tweets.
Now regarding mobile apps I'm a Blackberry user, so I can't comment on iPhone and other mobiles, other than to say that both Tweetdeck and Hootsuite have apps for the iPhone (wouldn't you know it?)
I use Uber Twitter which is very good for pictures and seeing all your tweets as one list, with mentions and direct messages highlighted. It's also the quickest way of checking on people's profiles on the move.
My favourite Blackberry Twitter app is without a doubt Tweet Genius, which starts you off with a swiftly uploaded view of your three main column headers so that you can see if people are contacting/mentioning you. It's also the most attractive mobile app to use, if that makes any sense. There's a small charge.
Trying to write this while the daughter gets herself ready for her gap year travels has been seriously difficult - blogging, twitter, backpacks and Deet do not go together, so if I'm not being as concise as usual please forgive me - there's a lot going on here!
Finally, and related to Twitter - I set up the Twitter profile page for the fab new restaurant 101 Pimlico Road, I'm really pleased with it. Let me know what you think. Head Chef Keith Goddard is an old (young) family friend with huge talent and a beautiful place to dine. Go and try it out.