When I learned that Alex Payne, a Twitter developer, is a fan of Unclutterer, I immediately asked if he would be interested in writing an article for our site. Alex has vast insight into the workings and possibilities of Twitter, and the following article explains how it can be used to help unclutter your communications.
Working on Twitter, I see all sorts of interesting uses of our service. Twitter is a great way to keep up with friends and family, but it can also be a great way to keep up with everything going on in your life without cluttering things up with sticky notes, emails, and other junk. Clever developers have come up with extensions to Twitter’s functionality purpose–built for notes, events, reminders, and even whom you owe a beer to.
Most of these Twitter “bots” work the same way: you follow a given user on Twitter, then you send commands to that user. Sometimes those commands are sent in public and sometimes they require a direct message (“d username this is my message”). Either way, you can interact with bots on the Twitter website, via SMS or IM, or with a client like Twitterrific.
TwitterNotes is a superb replacement for sticky notes or a notepad, especially when you’re on the road. After following tnotes on Twitter, just post an update prefixed with a plus sign like, say, “+ take out the trash later.” Don’t want everyone to see your notes? Try “d tnotes do super secret stuff.” You can then retrieve your notes on the TwitterNotes site, or subscribe to a feed of your notes. The GTDers out there will appreciate TwitterNote’s tagging abilities.
There are a couple of good options if you need to keep track of what’s coming up on your calendar. Timer is the simplest program: just send it a direct message like “d timer 15 check the laundry” and you’ll get your reminder back in 15 minutes. If you need something more full-featured, the popular online task management service Remember The Milk has excellent Twitter integration.
Ever forget who you promised some liquid appreciation to? You can use recently-launched Foamee to keep track of your sudsy debts. After following ioubeer, just send updates like “@ioubeer @crystal for answering Twitter support requests.” Collect your IOUs on the Foamee site when you’re back at your computer.
You can find a host of Twitter bots at retweet, a blog dedicated to finding the best in bots. You’ll also find other useful ways to interact with Twitter on our downloads page and on the Twitter Fan Wiki’s list of apps. It’s easy and fun to put Twitter to work for you, and always surprising what you can do with a simple text message.