With Twitter gaining momentum everywhere from on the field to in the classroom, I thought some tips might prove helpful.

Call it link bait, call it hypocritical, just don’t call it a comeback.

1) Be a Good Twitter Citizen
If you have a
primary ID, name or handle that you use for email or social networks,
use the same one on Twitter so you’ll be easily recognized. And
in your profile be sure to link back to your Web site, blog or socnet
page so folks know who’s following them. The more context you can
provide the better – especially if you’re like me and
don’t update every single day.

And remember that, while it offers the immediacy of SMS texting, Twitter offers the permanence of blogging. What you say on Twitter stays on Twitter.

2) Send Direct Messages Faster
Sending private
messages directly from Twitter’s web interface can be a pain if
you have to scroll through a long list of mutual followers. Pressing
the first letter of the person’s ID while you are in the DM
dropdown allows you to page through names quickly and easily. If you
want to spam, er, DM a group of people at once, check out Twitter Groups.
Just use it sparingly as we all know how it feels when to get too many
group messages. For folks using Twitter via IM, there are even more
helpful commands.

3) Twitter Karma
The simplicity of Twitter’s interface can sometimes be its curse. To figure out who’s following whom, check out Twitter Karma. Twitter Karma makes it easy to see your overall follow status and add folks as desired.

4) Gauge Topic Traction
Want to see if the Twitter community is chatting up or linking to a certain topic? You should check out any combination of Twitterverse, Twitterbuzz, Twitstat, and/or Tweetscan.

5) Visualize, Data Mine
There are a couple of ways to quickly visualize your Twitter information. Twitter Blocks allows you to visually navigate your Twitter community of friends and followers. Tweetstats is like Twitter CSI. In a few seconds, it makes it easy to assume that Robert Scoble probably used Twitter via the Web to send a note to Eric Rice early on a Sunday morning in November. Or does that read like the game Clue?

Much like Google, Twitter is always tinkering with its platform so be sure to follow their blog to keep up with the latest tweaks.

6) Fun with Twitter
Most of these
“twicks” are thanks to Twitter’s API. Some of them
seem to be created purely for the (nerdy) fun of it. Twittertale and Tweetspeak are perfect examples of this. Then there’s the guilty pleasure of Twitter Confessions. Or check out Twitterholic and Tweeterboard to see if you know some folks that might need a Twittervention. Yep, two jokes in one hack. Not my first (or best) attempts at Twitter humor.

More productive fun can be had on Twitter, using it to hone your writing skills.

7) What Does Twitter Look Like?
A Flickr search shows a ton results for Twitter and there is also a Twitter Group on the site. But Photophlow takes this a step further and mashes the two sites together.

8) Save the World
Twitter has potential in
helping people get targeted information at a point of need. The
Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s
Health uses Twitter to broadcast health messages (via Canuckflack).

The American Red Cross has established Safe and Well through the efforts of Ike Pigott. Safe and Well uses Twitter to notify friends and family of your status in the aftermath of a disaster.

A Reuters
article points out that “these technologies all have a possible
role to play in the aftermath of a natural disaster or human attack,
when the danger is over, but not before. Why should anyone trust their
lives and those of their families and friends, to systems which they
cannot and do not trust even their credit card details to?”

9) Know the News. First
You can subscribe to plenty of news sources on Twitter, including Reuters, The New York Times, Google News and CNN Breaking News.
Twitter tends to be an early warning system when it comes to breaking
news and you’ll see many stories there before you will on
mainstream sites. Reporters are seeing benefits to this.

10) Take Twitter with You
You can push your Twitterstream to Facebook to replace your update and serve it up on your blog as well. This is good as folks are seeing Twitter cut into the volume of blog posts out there.

Twitter by the Ton
There are a metric ton of good Twitter tips, tools and hacks, with new ones being published almost daily. These are just a sample as folks see new uses for Twitter. If you’re on Twitter let me know what your favorite tip is and I’ll add some to this list.