Took a week off to attend to business trips and meetings and other matters, but now I am back! I have been wanting to jot down some thoughts about Twitter and my new strategy for bringing it under control. A large piece of that strategy is a phenomenal app for iOS called Smartr.
Anyone who has read my ramblings in the Studio for any length of time might have a sense of my “love” / “hate” relationship with Twitter. It is a fantastic broadcasting and publishing tool, it is a decent tool for communication (although not my favorite), but I have struggled mightily with it as an efficient information source. The tech experts respond “Make Lists!”, to which I retort, there is still a lot of drivel-ous material to be found in those lists. The time it takes to find the links of value and follow them to get the content is better spent in my weighted RSS readers, Feedly and my6sense.
With Smartr, however, I have seen the light. Smartr finds and shows the links, the whole links and nothing but the links. You can quickly peruse the list of links and, if you see something you like, click on it to get a full text version in a very readable format.
Download the free app to your iPhone or iPad and enter your Twitter account information. The app then displays only messages that contain links to webpages. Even better, the tweets are “formatted” – they show the article’s title and a thumbnail, with a short blurb from the article. Gone are tweets without links, with pictures and Foursquare check-ins.
Of course, you can retweet or save for later without opening, but you can also do more when you open a “tweet”. Send links to Instapaper and Read It Later. Pull to refresh and watch as previews load as you move down the list of tweets. Tweet from the app, and switch from the timeline to lists and back again. Create and manage lists directly from the Smartr app.
The full articles are so readable, I can tear right through them. Within the article, retweet, mark as favorite, publish to Tumblr, Posterous, or Facebook.
It is solid as a rock. I have had very few glitches with it. Occasionally, it takes the app a while to load the lists, but I am certain that is somewhat dependent on my connection.
Now, here is my tip: head over to Listorious
and find some fantastic Twitter lists to follow. I have beefed up my tech and web list subscriptions, using their top 140 lists. These lists serve very well within Smartr to keep you well-informed on all the top, real-time, breaking news in the areas you are working in. Or, if you have curated your own Twitter follows effectively, your own lists will serve as a fantastic source of information.
For your Twitter conversations, craft your top peeps list to include the people you enjoy conversing with. If you use these lists within your Twitter client of choice, you can stay on top of your favorite Twitter discussions and for your searches. Then, turn to Smartr to view your information-based lists and see how quickly you can blow through the links and stories, keeping your real-time chops as current as possible.
Many of the reviewers are comparing Smartr to Flipboard
, calling it the Flipboard for iPhone. I don’t see it that way. Smartr is all about the tweets with links, whereas Flipboard is all about formatting tweets, links or not, and many other sources in a magazine-like format. Don’t get me wrong – I love Flipboard. But Smartr will pull you through your Twitter timeline even faster than Flipboard can. I think the Smartr look is a far better utilization of the iPhone screen than Flipboard would be.
The only downside right now is that it is iOS only. They need an Android app (and Windows 7 and Blackberry so that they can hit the broad audience). Hopefully, different versions are in the making.
I have a whole new outlook on Twitter and spend a great deal more time there than ever before. Thanks Smartr, for making me Smarter.