10 Twitter Tools For Fun


twitter-plane We've covered all the serious topics about twitter. Now it's time for the most important aspect of twitter. Having fun. These tools are for fun and mostly just feel good stuff!

If you're twittering and not having fun, then dude? What are you doing on twitter in the first place?!


1. Twitemperature

Want to know how 'hot' you are on twitter? Check your twitter profile temperature at Twitemperature. When I checked mine a couple of weeks ago I was a hot 85 degrees and Twitemperature had the following to say to me:

"Let's put it this way: if Twitter were Middle Earth, you'd be Aragorn, always in the fray."

Did one just now and I'm a cold 49 degrees. This is what Twitemperature had to say to me:

Remember how Alf ate cats? Yeah, well you're the only one who cares. Stop boring the rest of us!



2. Twitterholic

Twitterholic is a stats tool. In their words "We're in your twitter pages, reading your stats". They list the top 100 twitter users based on the followers. Barack Obama still leads the way.

Moi? Since December 3rd, I've gone from 36 followers to 429 and from 69 updates to 1,186. That's approximately 14 tweets a day. I need to get more active on twitter! No wonder I'm a cold 49 degrees!


3. Twitscoop

Twitscoop tracks buzzwords on twitter in real time. Well almost real time. It updates every 20 seconds. You can put in your username, keyword etc and track conversations or topics. You can also tweet about the most popular buzzword to attract more followers.

This tool mostly serves to satisfy my curiosity. Yes, I did a scoop on myself to find out what people were saying. What? You've never stalked yourself?


4. Twitzer

Twitzer is a sneaky little FireFox add on that lets you use more than 140 characters. Install the add-on, ignore the negative word count when typing your tweet and once finished with the update, right click and select 'Twitzer Text'.



5. Twitblocker

Ah yes, the very cool, very hand and so very very sneaky tool that comes in the form of a greasemonkey script.

To quote Twitblocker:

Are you being overwhelmed by twitter friends who can't stop talking, but they're like... still your friends?

Install this greasemonkey script, then double clicking the chattering peeps will temporarily remove their tweets from your timeline. Restart your browser to get them back. Simple eh?


6. Twitter Grader

Twitter Grader is fun and a great way to discover people in your area of interest. Based on its calculations, it gives you a grade out of 100 (I'm a 97.7), display your tweet cloud and list other twitter users based on your bio.

They also have the ultimate feel good ---  called the 'Twitter Elite'. They calculate the twitter elites according to users, locations, cities, US states and countries. So if you're in the US and can't find yourself in twitter elite for your state, type in your neighbourhood and you're sure to be there.

Of course to be in the twitter elite in the first place, you've got to be twittering regularly!


7. Tweetworks

You love twitter but wish there was more of a community feel to it? Tweetworks lets you do that. Sign in using your twitter information and join in conversations and group. I jumped right into 'All things WordPress'. It's nice to know other people are new to it too!


8. Tweetparty

You know how all the cool kids in high school had their own little soirees and parties that made you feel so left out? No? Well then, you're obviously one those 'cool' kids. Phooey on you!

Tweetparty lets you sort your twitter users into groups and even lets you send direct messages to those groups. Yep, make your followers feel special (or left out) by sending direct messages to only the group members.

Planning that party already?


9. Portwiture

This has got to be my favourite! Twitter status in Flickr images. Portwiture scans your latest tweets and finds pictures from Flickr related to it. Cool, simple and a very easy way to discover great pictures.

I fell in love with 'Gravity is only a theory'. The picture screams of fun and laughter. And since I live in the UAE, I know places where I can defy gravity too!


10. What Is Your Tweet Worth?

You're spending all that time twittering, talking to people, linking to great blogs and sites, engaging in conversations, endorsing brands and people. In short, you're spending precious time doing PR stuff that no one is paying you for. Of course you're having fun and increasing your social network but it still a lot of fun to know how much you're worth on twitter right? Even if no one's gonna pay you that amount it's a nice feeling to know that you twitter effort is worth cash!

Find out how much you're worth on twitter through What's your tweet worth?

I'm worth $44.93/month.

Gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside!

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Top 5 Twitter Desktop Applications


Once you start twittering, there's really no stopping. Before you know it, you're fighting to keep abreast of all the updates, @ replies, DMs and RTs. It's a crazy world out there! Luckily for us, there are crazier apps that make our twittering lives easy.


1. TweetDeck

TweetDeck_128 First up is my favourite adobe air application. I've used TweetDeck for a couple of months now and I couldn't be happier! Its best and award winning (well it should be!) feature is the option to sort your twitter users you're following into groups. TweetDeck lets you group users into separate group that you can follow simultaneously.

Their latest version has a new channel for stocks called 'Stocktwits' and another one for Hashtags. It also lets you follow/un-follow, email, translate/un-translate, favourite, add to a group, view profile etc from within the tweet itself.


2. Twhirl

twhirl-logo The next best thing to TweetDeck is Twhirl, also an adobe air application. All it's lacking is the group option - which is where it loses big! Twhirl isn't only for twitter though.

Twhirl released it latest beta version recently and has been getting rave reviews! While it still doesn't have the one option that has made TweetDeck such a hit, it's come up with an excellent search system. The search option in Twhirl is powered by search.twitter.com and opens them up in tabs. Not only that, it gives you the option to 'activate' the search after which it will keep updating it (after the initial search) as more tweets are posted regarding the search topic.

You can also record video in the new Twhirl from within the app. What's more? Their website says they're working on getting the grouping option up and running! Now if only they had a maximize button...


3. Twitterrific

BlogPictureTwitterificBirdThis one's for Mac only and comes with a free version as well as a paid one. The free version has most of the same features as the paid one but comes with ads. If you want an ad-free experience, you can buy Twitterrific for $14.95.

Since I don't use a mac, reviewing the application wouldn't be fair. Twitip however has a detailed review of it.

Check out the Twitterrific Review.

4. Twitterified

twitterified_copy1 This application holds a lot of surprises. It has a unique interface and offer a few options that other applications do not. The biggest surprise was being able to preview Twitpic pictures in the tweet. 

While this application has a lot of options that others don't, it's still in it's beta version which means that it reserves the right to act up at times and naturally has a few bug issues.

Other options include,

  • Minimizing tweets.
  • Hovering over the picture of a twitter user displays their profile information.
  • Clicking on the user picture slides open a tab on the left with more options.
  • You can ignore and/or block a user through Twitterified.
  • Post links to picture or snap one right there from within the app through your webcam.
  • Displays friends and followers in separate tabs.
  • Has an option for viewing the public timeline.
  • It tracks your @ replies as well as your own tweets in a separate tab.

Did I mention that it gives you a preview of Twitpic pictures linked to within the tweet?


5. TwitterFox

This isn't exactly a desktop application but a Firefox add on. If you feel applications like TweetDeck and Twhirl distract too much or you're too busy to open a new program and tweet, TwitterFox is for you.

Update your status from within Firefox (you do use Firefox right?) and read new updates of your friends. You can also retweet, open a tweet in a new tab, mark all as read etc from it. Updates are shown in a pop up balloon at the bottom right of the screen.

It can handle multiple accounts and can be used through keyboard shortcuts as well.

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Hired to Blog


I maintained a personal blog for almost 4 years. In those years I had no clue that you could actually make money from it. Without realizing it, I had a skill that now pays me for it. Blogging jobs make up for a substantial part of my work and they're also the most fun.

The realization that blogs generate great buzz and do well in search engines have led to the formation of companies that offer blogging services.

The good thing about these companies is that blogging pays (relatively) well and is a great way for beginners to get experience.

Hired to Blog is one such company that offers website marketing services through blogging. They hire bloggers who complete given assignments and are paid for it.

If you're new to paid blogging, companies such as Hired to Blog are an option worth considering.

[This is a paid review]

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Realizing My Limitations

Every now and then I get ideas - big, lofty, ambitious ideas. Unfortunately, my mama instilled in me an inherent (and apparently false) belief that if I put my mind to it, I can learn and do anything.

After a week of pure torture, in which I pretty much gave up on everything except twitter, I've come to the conclusion that I have no head for web designing. I do not have the stomach for the hair pulling frustration that comes after trying something for four hours and continuously screwing it up with no idea as to what I'm doing wrong.

I have also swallowed the bitter pill and accepted that as far as designing goes - I have no imagination. Give me words and I can spin a tale that have put my youngest sibling to sleep many a nights but hand me a designing software and I can't even design myself a blog header.

The urge to list all the things I've tried to master (and failed at) over the years is strong. But there's only so much butchering I can do of my own esteem. Hence, I'm going off to mope in a corner for a while.

Ever gone through a time when you want to learn something so much (!) yet you have no talent for it? Please tell me you have and share it with me and help make me feel a little less dumb.

Update: You didn't think I'd give up so easily did you? A good night's sleep restored my faith in my abilities. I may lack imagination but it's not something that I can't overcome. I'll learn enough to satisfactorily design a little for my own projects. I've set aside 5 hours every Tuesday to work on it. It will take me time, but I will learn and make that blog header I've been meaning to.

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It's All About the Numbers


If you've read even a single article on how to increase blog traffic or make a post search engine friendly, then you must know how every one says blog posts with lists are one great way to do it.

Every one does them. Me too, only I'm obviously doing something wrong. Because even though my search engine results have spiked, blog participation is a bit fat zero. This week, it's time to share the love with list posts.

  1. 49 Tips to Become a Better Blogger
  2. Zen Blogging - 5 Benefits to Getting Started
  3. Top 100 Books for Freelance Writers
  4. The Top 30 Blogs on Writing
  5. 3 Easy Ways to Write With Style
  6. 100 Freelancer Writers You Can Outsource Your Blog Content To - I'm at number 26! (muhaha! =P)

And keeping tune with this week's theme, I've numbered the links too!

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10 Twitter Tools


The sheer amount of tools out there for twitter offering different services is practically insane. From running a poll, to posting pictures, to... I'll just get on with the list of tools and let you find out for yourself.

1. TwitPic: Where there's social media, there's pictures. TwitPic lets you share pictures on twitter. There's no sign up and no program installation. All you have to do is sign in with your twitter username and password and upload pictures and post them. They'll send a tweet from your account about the photo. Easy peasy.

2. TwtPoll: Twitter followers are great for polls. If you're running a poll on your website, running a similar one on twitter can get you more participation and help you gather more data. Using TwtPoll is a breeze. Enter your username, post your question, list your options and click on 'Create Poll'. It'll give you options of posting it on twitter, Facebook or your website. Choose the one you want and your followers are ready to poll!

3. TweetLater: If you're an avid twitter-er or are working on a marketing campaign where you want to tweet regularly through out the day about something then tweetlater is for you. You can schedule tweets through it - so even when you're sleeping, tweetlater is tweeting your preset tweets for you. Keep in mind not to schedule one promotional tweet an hour to avoid becoming a spammer. Remember, just one.

Tweetlater also lets you track keywords (my favourite), send automated DM's (my least favourite), and also gives you the option to auto follow your followers among others.

4. Qwitter: The nifty little service catches your twitter quitters. After you sign up for this service (only requires your twitter username and email), qwitter will send you an email every time someone stops following or un-follows you. Not only that, it will also tell after which tweet of yours did the follower quit on you.

It's a great service and lets you find out which tweets of yours offend people but don't get obsessive over every single quitter. Of course, if you lose 50 followers over night, then it's something to look into.

5. TwitterFeed: You've RT'd enough tweets and promoted countless links by tweeting about them. It's only fair that you promote your own blog. Enter twitterfeed. Submit your blog URL in twitterfeed and let it post a tweet for you every time you update your blog. Depending on your posting frequency, you can set up a timer for the service to check if you've published your blog. This blog post will be tweeted about 30 minutes after it's published.

<6. TweetVolume: Tweetvolume lets you put in specific words and runs a search to tell how many times the words have been used in twitter stream. The time period is since twitter's birth. Tweetvolume is a good tool for keyword comparison and a great way to find out how much 'buzz' there is about a topic, brand, campaign, person etc.

Check out the comparison I did between freelance, writing, blogging, social media and clients.

7. Tweetag: This tool let you browse the twitterverse according to the most popular topic. Their homepage lists the 40 most frequently discussed topics. So if you want to know what the buzz is about at twitter. You can also search for any topic you want.

A search for 'Twestival' (tell you later what it is) came back with 1518 results out of which 695 tweets had links in them, 164 were questions, 779 were replies and 171 were retweets.

8. BubbleTweet: If you're a video blogging fan, you're going to love this one. Bubble tweet lets you add a video message to your twitter profile in the form of a very manageable bubble size. It's an excellent way to add a voice and a face to your profile and overcome the limitations of the bio line in your profile. There are currently only 651 tweeple using bubble tweet, so if you use it, it's still going to be unique.

9. TwitterSnooze: If you follow a lot of people, there is bound to be someone who is a little too 'verbose'. So if their chatter is distracting you or hindering you from following other conversations or tweets, twittersnooze lets you mute their tweets out for a specified period of time.

All you have to do is enter your username, password and the username of the person you want to hit the snooze button on.

However, twittersnooze has a downside to it. Every time you unsnooze a person, it sends them an email alerting them that you're following them again. Not so feasible if you want to mute people out quietly.

10. Twellow: Want to find people in your industry or area of interest? Twellow lets you search users according to categories. Freelance, blogging, Photoshop, SEO etc are some of the categories of interest to me. Unfortunately, searching through category had little success for me, but searching under 'all people on twellow' yielded very interesting results.

To turn up in searches in twellow it would be better to get listed there. A search for my username brought back a tweet from 3 weeks ago and still lists my followers as 155 whereas my followers have grown since then.

It isn't the best of services, but it has the potential to be a great one. I'd be keeping my eye on this one to see if it better develops.

For a service as simple as twitter, tools like these add all more value to it. These are just 10 of the countless twitter tools/metrics out there.

What twitter tools do you use? How do they add value to your twitter experience?
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The Start-up & The Intern

Starting out, we all struggle to find work. Whether it's giving up a job to freelance or being fresh out of college desperate for our first break - paying jobs are hard to find. Which is why the saga unfolding at the My Punch Bowl blog piqued my interest and reminded me of how it feels to be desperate for work.


My Punch Bowl posted an ad on Craigslist for a marketing intern. They received dozens of applications. Matt Douglas, founder and CEO, was going through the applications when the subject line of an application caught his attention. As he opened it, he realized that there was a typo in the in it. On principle, he could not consider the candidate but she had a great resume. On a whim decided to send the applicant an email telling her why he was rejecting her as he wanted to see what her response would be.

The Applicant's Response

The reply he got to his email was something he probably wouldn't even have dreamed of. The hopeful applicant sent him a scathing reply and blasted him for ruining her chances because of a typo.

Matt instead of getting up on his high horse, liked the spunk of the girl. Even though she'd been rude, disrespectful and downright unprofessional, something in her email resonated with him and he emailed back inviting her for an interview.

The Interview

The interview went well but she had to do a 24-hour test and send in a blog post response explaining her side of the story and respond to the numerous comments that had come in when Matt posted about the incident.

The Decision

The jury is still out on the decision but Matt posted the applicant's response.

Regardless of how this story ends, as struggling freelancers, this incident has brought home a few things.

What are your view on this? What lessons have you derived from the incident?

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10 Twitter Tips and Tricks


icon_a According to Twitstats, about 32% of twitter users tweet through their browsers. All of us start off by using twitter through a browser. Its only as we follow more and more people and engage in more conversations that we start to feel the need for an application as the browser can no longer keep up with the constant updates.

For those who're still twittering through a web browser, figuring out shortcuts can make their twittering lives extremely easy. Even though the scale of tweets makes it viable for us to twitter through app's, there are some things that twitter does best through a browser.

1. @ Replies

The first and most common function of twittering is replying to a tweet. In a browser you have the option of clicking on an arrow to reply to a tweet. Typing @ before the username of the subject does the same. There is no space between @ and the username. Example: "@username This is how your reply would look".

Note: @username is counted in the 140 characters. The longer the username the lesser number of characters you'll have to type your message.

2. Direct Message

Popularly known as a DM, direct messages are private messages sent to you or vice versa. They are also 140 characters long and can only be seen by you and the user they're between. Instead of clicking on the DM option on the left sidebar menu on your twitter homepage and the selecting the username, it's easier to send a DM directly from the message window.

To send someone a direct message, type d, hit space and then type the username before typing out your message. It would look like: "d @username type your message here".

3. Re-tweet

If you've been on twitter for more than a day, you must have seen tweets starting with 'RT'. RT stands for retweet and is a way of promoting someone's tweet. To retweet, type RT followed by @username and then copy paste the tweet you're retweeting. Once done, it would look like this: "RT @username paste your tweet here."

4. # Tags

Hash tags took me the most time to figure out. Twitter is pretty basic. You can't group together users, or turn your followers into groups. One way of separating tweets about a particular topic or by a particular user is by adding # in front of it.

If you're talking about cricket and/or a certain tournament, adding a # before cricket would form a group. Now every time someone would tag cricket, the tweets would be grouped together. A hash tag for cricket would look like "#cricket".

To keep track of your hash tags, follow @hashtag. It will automatically follow you back and start tracking your tags. For more information, check out the Twitter Fan Wiki.

5. Twitter Search

Not only does twitter bring you in contact with people outside of your immediate circle, it lets you search it for specific topics too. Twitter Search is a great way to find out who's talking about the topic of your interest in real time. You can also search for hash tags through twitter search.

6. Following conversations

Twitter offers three options regarding the @ replies.
@ replies to the people I'm following: This is the default setting and only lets you see the tweets between people you follow. For example If A & B are having a conversation, you'll be able to see it because you follow them both. But if A was talking to C, you wouldn't see that conversation because you don't follow C.

No @ replies does not show any @ replies at all.

All @ replies: This option shows you all the replies of people you follow. If they're replying to people you don't follow, you'll see those too. All @ replies is the way to go if you want to be effective on twitter. It'll let you follow different conversations and help you discover new people. It will also make you more visible to the followers of the people you're conversing with.

To enable All @ replies go to Setting --> Notices --> Show me all @ replies.

7. Twitter Backgrounds:

Twitter offers the option to change backgrounds to make your profile more interesting. Go to Settings --> Designs. Choose from any of the 12 designs already available on twitter. You can also change your background image to one of your own and customize the colors according to your preference.

8. Twitter With SMS

If you're going to be away from your computer, twitter lets you stay connected by sending tweets via SMS. This option is less feasible as texting rates apply. Also now there are twitter app's designed for cell phones but when twitter first came out, this option was very popular as it lets you receive tweets on your cell phone too. If you want to enable this option, go to Settings.

9. Twitter Badges

If you have a blog or social networking profile (and I really hope you do) then you can publish your tweets on them through twitter badges or widgets.

10. Public Timeline

Want to know what the twitterverse is talking about at any given moment? Find out through the public timeline. To be honest, this one seems like a cool idea till you realize that people are tweeting in other languages too. Ones that I don't understand.

If you're a twittering noob, I hope you found this helpful. My next post "10 Twitter Tools" would be up on February 11th. If you have any questions and would like an answer to them, feel free to contact me.

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Blogger Widgets for WordPress Plug-ins


Another week is at an end and it's been excellent so far. Somebody decided to give The Base a boost by stumbling a post :D Thank you, whoever you are.

This week I'll be posting links to better customize your blogger blog through widgets and other ways.

  • 'What Would Seth Godin Do' is a great WordPress plug in. What's even more great about it is that there is a blogger version of WWSGD too - which I installed today. What does it do? WWSGD monitors your cookies and lets you put up a welcome message. And not just a welcome message, it lets you set up separate welcome messages for new and returning users. How cool is that?
  • On my WordPress blog, I use the Sociofluid plug-in for social bookmarking options on every post. Even though it has a blogger version, I couldn't figure out how to put the icons in every post. The widget was putting the icons on my blog but not in separate posts. So a search led me to Blogger Plug-ins where I found my perfect answer.
  • The past couple of weeks, I've been thinking about removing adsense ads from the blog (homepage) and adding them to my posts. Since I'm a novice in all things designing and customizing, I had no idea how to do it. Even though I haven't yet made the decision of adding ads in my posts, I found my answer in How to add Adsense inside single posts only. It's not a widget but it's definitely worth knowing.
  • While it's easy to optimise WordPress blogs for SEO through plug-ins, Blogger blogs have no such widgets to help. Reading SEO Tricks in Blogger Blogs and Blogspot and SEO takes care of this drawback to a great extent.

If you have a Blogger blog, and keep thinking that it's very limiting, you might want to reconsider that after reading these. I know I am! Hope this week's themed links help you as much as they have helped me!

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(Re)Discovering Twitter


I started Twittering after attending an online writing conference. Everyone there was giving out their twitter id for contact rather than email or website/blog! So I dusted out my old twitter account which I had forgotten I had and started following people. Suddenly, people were recognising me from the conference and I had conversations going on.

Great Writing Exercise

It wasn't until I got active on twitter that I realised what a great writing exercise twittering is! It can be the perfect case study for concise writing. Having just 140 characters to get your message across in an effective method is not an easy task. Yet, millions of people are doing it every day.

Productivity Booster

If you're looking for something, tweeting about it can have great results. As a writer, I find I can't work on one article/blog post etc at a time. When I'm writing, I have at least a couple documents open so that I can jump between them. Working out of MS Word made too much of a clutter from having too many windows open. So I tweeted,

'I wish there was a text editor that would open up docs in tabs! Working 5 inter related articles and it sucks to have so many windows open.'
In a short while, I had a lot of replies telling me about programs that had the tabs option in them. Most of them were for Mac but someone recommended 'IBM Lotus Symphony'. I looked it up and it was everything I needed. Working has been so much easier and faster since then!

Promotional Tool

Twitter is a great promotion tool. It also helps us discover the best of the web. When people tweet about blog posts or websites they found interesting or helpful, droves of users click on it driving traffic to the site. Similarly when people publish posts on their own blog, they tweet about that too (it's only fair) which drives traffic to their post. This results in a lot more feedback in the comments and more readers.

It has also been used to promote products and campaigns. Social Networking is effective. More so, twitter is effective. A big reason for Barack Obama's successful campaign was social networking. His team knew how to work the Social Media and for a long time (at least till it counted) he was the most followed person on Twitter.

Finding People In Your Geographical Location

I moved to UAE early last year. I had no family here and no friends. Through twitter, I started discovering people who live in Dubai or Sharjah and suddenly I know people! I'm making friends and finding out about events of my interest. Since my bio states 'Freelance writer in the making', people from the publishing industry have found their way to me and through them I discovered even more. Of course, it could just be because there are so few twitterers from UAE that we tend to find each other... but it's good to see social media alive in companies in this part of the world.

Giving Back What You Receive

For any social networking medium to work. It has to be a give and take relationship. You can't just keep expecting people to answer your call of help if you don't help them back.

  • Make it a point to engage in conversations with people
  • Answer questions that are asked
  • Re-tweet an article if you like it or simply if someone asks
  • Share interesting links often - at least twice more than you do your own
  • Tweet about blog posts of your readers
  • Make it a point to send direct messages to your followers. Stay away from automated welcome DM's though.
The only way for twitter to work effectively for you is if you give back what you receive.

How has Twitter shaped your online networking? And if you don't use twitter then why not?

P.S: Leave your twitter id's in the comments. I'd love to connect with you guys. Mine is @samarowais.
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Social Networking The Twitter Way


I rediscovered twitter a few months ago. Unlike most people, I knew there were a lot of benefits of using it - I just couldnt figure out what. I had issues with the whole 140 character thing. How will I fit in my message in 140 characters? Why would I want to update people about what I had for lunch?

In the beginning twittering was exactly that. Telling people when you woke up, when you were heading out and what you had for lunch. In short, twitter was a stalker's paradise.

As I started following people, some of them prolific bloggers and other social media personalities. I started noticing the different ways they were using it. It was no longer about lunches and loo trips - it was about building a community and helping people out while promoting yourself.

I'll be doing a 5 part series of articles about twitter here at the base.
  1. (Re)Discovering Twitter - How I use twitter and you should too.
  2. 10 Twitter Tricks - Small tricks that make twittering easy and effective.
  3. 10 Twitter Tools - Tools that enhance your twitter experience and make it effective.
  4. Top 5 Twitter Apps - Applications that let you use twitter outside your browser.
  5. 10 Twitter Tools for Fun - Feel good twitter tools just for the fun of it.
Stay tuned!
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The Magic of Wordle


Sometimes you discover really cool stuff. Wordle can be a great way to promote your blog. You can enter a Url and get a word cloud. Mine looked like the one below. Pretty cool I must say! There are also plenty of editing option. You can change the color scheme, language, chose which words to omit and if you don't like the placing of words, you can re-arrange the lay out as well.

When I entered the URL for The Base, this is what it came up with.

Cool huh? Then I decided to play with the name of my blog i.e "The Writing Base". This is what I ended up saving.

Wordle: TWB3Wordle: TWB5Wordle: TWB4Wordle: TWB2

The last one has to be my favourite. Of course, there are no option to place certain colors on certain words. Else the two middle ones would have had different colors on the words.

You can put up these images in other blogs (link them) or post them up a on social networking sites. This could be great if you're launching a blog and spreading the word about it. For e.g if you make a facebook event out of it, you can use these images as a picture etc.

And now that I've wasted so much time on Wordle, it's time to get back to work.

Has it ever happened to you? Have you found something cool on the net that's sucked the time out of your workday? Read more ...
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Triumph & Trial Report for January

Now that January is over, I can safely say that this month has been great! Of course, this was also the month I was ready to pull my hair out and bang my head against the wall - neither of which I did by the way.


I'll begin with the trials. It was a strange month to say the least.

Blogging everyday: Yes, it's a trial. I attempted NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) back in November. The idea was to post every single day. I attempted it along with Sal, and managed to do great. Then for some god forsaken reason, I wondered out loud about attempting it again in January on my personal blog and before I knew it I was posting everyday along with a friend. I had no inspiration and absolutely no wish to blog everyday after the first week. I had too much work and what used to be an outlet became a frustration.

Sal warned me against it but I'd already given my word. I stopped after day 28th. Completely. I know it was just three days short but I couldn't bring myself to spew dribble on a blog that used to be my haven.

Deadlines: I had trouble meeting deadlines this month. Not that I was late. But meeting a deadlines was a trial. I had to push myself really hard to complete the work on time. Has it ever happened to you guys?

Working on side projects: Because my work wasn't on schedule, I felt guilty even thinking about my personal side projects. Yet they seemed so much more interesting! They still do! I can't wait take them live!


Payday: In my short freelancing careers, this month has been the biggest earner. And no I'm not earning anything substantial but its still more than I've earned in the past months so I'm feeling very proud!

CSS: I couldn't make head or tails of it. Then I decided to just do it. I bought a domain, hosted the blog with the guidance of a friend and uploaded a theme. Another friend made me a header which made it look uber cool and suddenly everything just had to be perfect even if it meant I had to learn it from scratch. I read countless tutorials. Bugged designer or CSS savvy friends till I learned enough to tweak/customize a template on my own.

Learning SEO: January has been a month of learning and pushing myself. I took a risk and bought Remarkablogger's WordPress SEO Secrets. And have to say - so far I haven't been disappointed. It's money well invested.

Got rejected: I applied for a gig for an e-learning blog. Since it's something I'm interested in and felt I was qualified for. Outside of school and college, my learning has all been online and I'll also be taking a few courses online, so I knew I could do a good job of it. I sent them an email pitch and haven't heard back. But thanks to Google Analytics I know they checked me out. That  feels like a triumph. It tells me I made it past the initial stage. They decided to check me out. The fact that I didn't get chosen is of no consequence. There is a huge chance of someone applying who had a lot more experienced than me.

But they checked me out! :D Why am I taking it as a triumph? Something in my pitch must have been interesting to them for them to not just delete it. I now have some idea of how to write an email application that would attract potential clients.

That's the summary of my month. How's yours been?

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Clients: The Lifeblood of a Freelancer


Clients are on everyone's minds these days. Or maybe they're just on mine. For this week's link love, I'll be highlighting blog posts that cover various aspects of our work's lifeblood: Clients.

Freelance Folder had an excellent open thread post. Mason asked 'Where Do You Get Your Clients?' He narrowed it down to three questions that his readers answered in the comments. If you're looking for ways to find new clients, the comments on this post is a good place to look.

Freelance Switch posted '6 Ways to Follow-up With Prospects Without Being Creepy'. If you're wondering when or how to contact a client you had initial talks with but haven't heard back from, this post is your answer.

Another blog post from Freelance Switch outlines time-tested sales techniques to win clients.

The Wealthy Freelancer listed '4 Simple Rules for Getting More Repeat Business & Referrals'. Returning clients or recommendations are the best way to grow your business. A testimonial from one client is worth more than payments from five when you're looking to expand your work.

Chrisblogging has a trio of blog posts related to clients that I found helpful.

Cedric from Your Article Resource shares (not so secret) Secrets to Keep Your Freelance Clients Happy.

To wrap up the topic of clients, Jennifer Mattern from All Freelance Writing shares a client-from-hell story. Reading 'Dealing With Abuse as a Freelance Writer' is important for every freelancer. While some of us are lucky to have great clients, it is only a matter of time before we come across a bad client.

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