Twitter is a web-based application interface that allows users to feed the data stream with their own generated input. Because the Twitter data stream is so large now (75 million accounts by end of 2009), there are plenty of useful ways to navigate that data.

Clearly the Twitter interface can be used to add your own input for any of the following reasons:

  • To simply participate in the new phenomenon of tweeting
  • To communicate with your followers or group
  • To communicate with the World-at-large
  • To archive your online and/or offline activities
  • For branding a product or service
  • Because it’s required by a school assignment

There are many tools for adding your own content either directly via’s interface, or by using any host of apps that enable multiple posting inputs such as or that allow for a single post to enter the Twitter stream as well as update your Facebook or Linkedin status, your blog, your photo sharing app, etc.,, others like them, offer the ability to time-delay tweet postings as well as automate replies to new followers, etc. Apps like and enable the formation of private groups for both input and output benefits.

These multiple input apps are attempting to simplify the needs of active Internet users. Is it a sustainable model? Time will tell but for now, it’s necessary as the crowd filters out the superfluous and drills down to the preferred mechanisms for communication.

However, an important alternative to merely adding to the data stream (input) is the myriad of ways people are using Twitter to monitor the output. There are many ways to listen to the data Twitter is streaming. Reasons to listen include:

  • Simply to watch the stream as it flows by
  • To stay informed
  • To monitor trends
  • To mine data as its own resource

Actually, new apps being developed every week enable more ways to listen to the babbling data stream. helps focus on crowd sentiment based on user-chosen keywords. Useful for businesses who want to know what people are saying about their product, their industry, or even their competition, apps like Twendz can become powerful tools in the hands of marketers who realize the market-hive is always abuzz with the hum of communication. allows location-based, real-time monitoring of what’s being tweeted in specific places. Take a look at the homepage and see what you can determine just from the U.S. map in general. It could be a useful tool in the classroom to teach critical thinking skills such as higher-order extrapolation. uniquely allows the viewing of real-time tweets according to specific keywords and displays them in a nice page that includes photos, news, and the most popular links related to that keyword. Here’s an example using Haiti.

Both TweedGrid and Monitter allow users to create dashboards of keyword-specific twitter feeds that update in real-time. There is an ever-increasing host of apps that are seeking new ways to mashup the Twitter data stream and output in some unique fashion. With Geo-location API’s added to the mix, forthcoming apps should prove to be quite interesting, to say the least.

Augmenting our daily routine, whether personal, social, academic or business, is the new reality we all face. Fresh views of what’s going on around us in real-time, is sure to open our eyes to mundane experiences we’ve been taking for granted. What cool, new twitter apps have you been using to augment your real-time learning?