Help Twitter! Use "server friendly" tools.
2 June 2008
I admit it. I'm as guilty as anyone. When Twitter goes down I throw up my arms in disgust and shake a fist at the west (cuz that is where Twitter HQ is in relation to me).
But I think it is time to stop complaining and start helping. How? What if we created a list of "well built" applications that use the Twitter API? By that I mean applications, tools, widgets, etc. that do a good job of not pummeling Twitter's servers with requests.
The A-list of Twitter apps
I'm not foremost expert on scalability - but I know a well-built application from a bad one. Any application, widget, or tool that does not use even the simplest form of caching, for example, will not make this list.
I will need your help. So please comment below with any applications or tools I have not yet linked to, I'll vet them a little, and add them to the list if it makes the cut. If you are a developer - please include what you do to help Twitter with your link.
- MW Latest Tweet - by Eric Meyer - A Wordpress plugin that shows your latest Twitter status anywhere on your Wordpress-powered site. In order to make sure that I am also helping Twitter, I've installed this here on my site. You can see it on the sidebar of my front page.
- Twitterrific - by The IconFactory - A Mac OS X application that allows you to view your friends timeline and post to Twitter. Twitterric only requests the Twitter API on a set interval (customizable, and I have mine set to every 15 minutes now).
- Twhirl - by Marco Kaiser and now owned by Seesmic - An Adobe AIR application, which means it runs on both Macintosh and Windows platforms, that lets you follow Twitter, FriendFeed, Pownce, and others. The highlight of how this application helps Twitter is that it has a requests-per-hour-slider. I've got mine set to 10 (but I only have it check for new statuses every 15 minutes).
Do you have any applications you think should be added to this list? Why? Leave them in the comments. As I update this, I'll notify people through Twitter, FriendFeed, and Pownce. "Follow" me if you dare.
A few tips and tricks to helping Twitter out, regardless of the tools you choose to use.
- Decrease number of requests. No matter what applications you use, increase the interval (or decrease the number of requests per hour) between requests to Twitter for updates. The common "side effect" of doing this is actually being more productive. Give it a try!
- Don't manually refresh after update. I've noticed myself doing this too. When you send in a new status, don't manually update. Chances are it will take a few moments for your latest status to appear in whatever application you are using. Send in the new status, if there isn't an error, wait for the next scheduled request. I can't imagine how many requests this could potential get rid of.