20 cool things you didn't know Twitter could do

11. Get things done

As easy as it is to waste time on Twitter, it can be helpful too. Sign up to a service like Remember The Milk and if you're glued to Twitter all day long, at least you'll be given reminders to be productive.

They come as direct messages, so you'll also get them via email, on your phone or however else you've opted to receive them.

12. Wash your mouth out

Here at PC Plus, we never ****ing swear. **** no. But if you're having trouble minding your ****ing manners, ****ing head over to Cursebird to see how ****ing rude you really are.

If the report fills you with shame, you can start ***ing your **** ***** out immediately.

13. Stream everything

For many people, Twitter is replacing the blog. You can post links to anything you like, but many services are making that process automatic. Tie Twitter in to Flickr and you'll tweet about your favourite photos; add YouTube to post automatically about videos; and link up Xbox Live to share your latest achievements.

If a service doesn't do it automatically, there's probably a plug-in somewhere. You'll want to make sure it's switched off for anything you don't want friends to see, though…

14. See the world

Want to know what's going on around the world? Visit www.twittermap.tv and watch as tweets from every corner of the Earth pop up onto your screen.

This is largely pointless, true, but it's a great way to kill some time and see what everyone's talking about.

15. Wear your words

Every now and again you find a tweet so perfect, so beautiful, that letting it slip into the archives would just be a crime. Why not get it on a T-shirt?

At www.tweetshirt.me you can do just that. Immortalise any tweet you want, whether it's your own or someone else's, and wear the Twitter format on your chest with pride!

16. Get some perspective

How many real people are following you? Who's following you back? If you're going to spend time every day shouting words out into the void, it's good to know there are actual people listening instead of an illusionary audience of naked Russians, SEO parasites and people pushing real-estate on the periphery of a no-doubt charming sewage plant in Kennebunkport.


This is where services like Refollow come into their own – they show you your social graph in an easily sortable form. For clearing out the rubbish from your lists, try www.stoptweet.com.

17. Track packages

When you're waiting for something exciting to arrive, there's little worse than constantly having to log into the courier service's website for updates.

With www.usetrackthis.com you can fire and forget, getting the latest news pinged straight to you. We hope every service offers something similar in the near future.

18. Interact with fictional characters

Not everyone on the internet is who they say they are, but some admit it. Hunt around and you can find Twitter accounts for every fictional character from Darth Vader and Superman to True Blood's Sookie Stackhouse and Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother.

These account aren't usually official, and they occasionally get clamped down on – as happened with ABC when it found viewers tweeting as the characters from Mad Men – and tend to be parodies rather than actually trying to 'be' the Joker online.

fictional characters

Still, they can be fun – as fans of Peep Show will have experienced when the 'characters' live-tweeted the newest series.

19. Build a bot

Want to create life of your own? Twitter bots are easy to create thanks to www.botomatic.com. Using a simple rule-based system, you can build up a list of how you want the bot to behave when it receives messages and gets new followers. Then just give it a name and a description and unleash it on the world!

These aren't the kind of bots that can actually conduct a conversation with a human being, but they're great at passing information on request or automating systems capable of posting onto websites.

To see some of the bots people have made for Twitter, visit www.twitter.pbworks.com/Bots.

20. Thank someone

In the real world, you often thank someone by saying 'I'll buy you a drink'. This is another reason why Twitter is better than reality – with Foamee you can keep track of how many you still owe, and if anyone owes you a drink, you can redeem it without sounding like a grabby so-and-so.

You can offer people either a beer or a coffee and then mark the drinks as redeemed when your taste buds are satiated or your conscience is clear.

If you want to receive a soft drink, though, you'll have to stick with the old fashioned way of grabbing a free beverage – hanging around at the pub, letting whoever owes you a drink get a round in and then somehow slipping away right before your turn.