Better Twitter (and ROI) with Topify, Seesmic Desktop and

People talk about Twitter and ROI (return on investment) and how there’s no real definable way to measure success or use the tools to your best advantage. At least, not unless you put a whole load of time into it.

While that can be true depending on your needs, there are also plenty of ways to use Twitter more effectively as well as offer measurable ROI. Here are three of the tools I use – hopefully they’re as useful to you as they are to me.


Topify Email NotificationThe way Topify works is pretty simple – it takes over your email account from Twitter. It doesn’t hack into your existing email to do so. Instead, you set up your account at Topify and they provide you with a personal email address.

You then go into your Twitter account settings and replace your normal email address with the Topify one.

Once you’ve amended your settings, Topify starts to send you the same alerts from Twitter that you used to get, but to the power of ten. Now, you get to see the user’s bio, their followers/following ratio, when they joined Twitter, their five most recent updates, their website – basically everything you’d see on their Twitter homepage.

Topify then gives you the option of following that user by simply replying to the Topify email. No message needed – just hit reply. You can also send direct messages by replying with your message, or block unwanted users by forwarding that user to Topify.

By giving you all the options via one single email that it could take you several minutes to check out via Twitter itself, you can see why Topify is gaining popularity with Twitter users.

Seesmic Desktop

Seesmic Desktop PreviewUp until now, the reigning champion of third-party applications to help run your Twitter account has been Tweetdeck.

Its use of columns, groups and account management has been hugely popular. Now, its time as undisputed champ might be near an end, thanks to Seesmic Desktop.

From the same guys that gave us Twhirl, Seesmic Desktop is more than just a possible alternative to Tweetdeck – it’s better (to me, anyhoo). Here’s why:

  • Cleaner layout with fresh neutral colours as opposed to the dark Tweetdeck (although Tweetdeck’s colour options can be changed in the settings)
  • Multiple accounts, ideal for users who want separate personal and business accounts
  • Excellent Facebook integration
  • Better API usage – Tweetdeck limits how many updates you can have per hour, Seesmic seems to avoid this (so far)
  • Less memory suck on your system compared to Tweetdeck
  • Easier navigation between columns and searches
  • Remembers your preferences for URL shortening services and image uploaders

There are numerous other little tweaks – suffice to say, as an alternative to Tweetdeck, Seesmic Desktop comes up trumps. And then some. I love it.

Watching Firefox 3.1 Beta 3 on TwitterSince Twitter only allows 140 characters per message, you need to optimize your space and make sure you’re not wasting any real estate.

To help with this, there have been a host of URL shorteners that allow you to share a website link without having to post the complete URL. My favourite is

While you can use straight from the box, the really good stuff happens when you sign up for an account. Once you’re logged in, you can tweet your link and message straight to Twitter.

You can then track how many times your link was clicked, who by, what’s being said about your link and more. There are also a host of additional tools, including support for Firefox, Gmail, email, Facebook, mobile use and much more.

A really cool feature is’s support for Google Documents – you can create a Google Spreadsheet template and convert your links into an Excel report. Of all the URL shortening systems, is definitely my favourite.

So these are three great tools – but where does the ROI come into play? There are a few ways:

  • Better time management, allowing you to interact with more people, more effectively, building the relationships that could lead to customers/clients
  • Keep tracks on the searches that matter most to you, your brand and your customers/clients
  • See who’s discussing your links, helping you target warm leads for promotional or sales campaigns

Of course, you don’t need to worry about ROI if it doesn’t affect you.

But, if you’re trying to convince your boss (or client) why they should get on Twitter from a business point of view, and need to convince them it’s not a waste of time and does offer ROI, you could do a lot worse than the three examples here.

How about you? What are you using to better manage your time on Twitter and how are you measuring success?

  • Update Friday May 22 – Topify have very kindly released 100 beta invites to readers of this blog. You can get your invitation to try Topify by clicking here.

Creative Commons License photo credit: arikfr
Creative Commons License photo credit: adamjackson1984
Creative Commons License photo credit: Christopher Blizzard

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  1. says

    I’ve also switched over to Seesmic as you know and have been very happy for the most part. I haven’t tried topify but may have to give it a shot…I’ve been meaning to be a bit more thorough in who I follow back. I’ve used but don’t go to the site that much as it’s just so convenient to shorten the url right in seesmic. Would be really cool if they were integrated so you could post them through seesmic and still view all the stats on the site.

    • says

      The way that Seesmic update their versions, you never know 😉

      I hear what you’re saying about just shortening from the app – I just like all the information available to you from for analytics, it’s pretty in-depth.

  2. says

    Topify is buzzing. Twitter’s recent improvements on new follower and dm alerts is much nicer than before. You can now see avatar photo, followers, following and update numbers. Topify offers more information yet that could be a lot of reading. Since you tout it though that’s good enough reason to give it a look see.

    Seesmic Desktop has come a long way. I find it much more useful than Twhirl was. What ‘got me at the door’ though was not the aesthetics, which by the way you can custom tweak in Tweetdeck, it was the opportunity to manage multiple Twitter accounts. That gave it the edge in my book. If Tweetdeck would do likewise then I might be pursuaded back to their camp.

    I stumbled on even before I knew it was so cool. I guess there really is a law of attraction!

    Thanks for another brilliant piece and for sharing with us.


    • says

      Cheers, David, glad you enjoyed.

      I think I prefer Seesmic through the lack of tweaking, if that makes sense? From an out-of-the-box perspective, I like how it is easier for newcomers to work around. The API call and better memory use is a definite bonus, though.

      How are you finding Does it help you target people more or do you use it for other options?

  3. says

    Great post and thanks for the props on Seesmic Desktop. The desktop was intentionally launched early to get the instant and appropriate feedback, and so far, we’re really excited and doing our best to listen, learn, adapt and deliver. We’ll be coming out with our next update in a few days (if not sooner). I also appreciate the feedback in the post and comments – having a more integrated feature is something we’re looking at.
    If you have questions, please go to @askseesmic!

    • says

      Hey there Yama,

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your plans. It’s great to see there being more choice of third-party apps, and especially the jump you guys made over Twhirl.

      Look forward to seeing what you come up with next. Digg or Stumbleupon integration, perhaps? :)

  4. says

    thank you for your kind words and glad you like Seesmic Desktop, we have full integration coming soon and will keep releasing like crazy!

  5. says

    Great info Danny, I changed over to seesmic on mac and found it interacts with adobe air better. It runs less hotter and We hypothesized at Boston Media Makers Drinkup that it may interact with memory better also.

    Topify sounds like Goggle Analytics for twitter which is long overdue.

    Thanks always for sharing, You rock.

    • says

      Hey there Skip,

      Cheers! :)

      I don’t know what it is – whether Seesmic approaches the Twitter API better, or just uses it differently, but it does seem a lot more friendlier on performance that Tweetdeck.

      Mind you, as David Spinks mentioned to me on Twitter, Tweetdeck is long overdue an update. Need to get back in the game soon, they’re opening doors for Seesmic as it stands.

  6. says

    its a little frustrating when these things are talked about and there is no thing at the beginning that say “HEY DUDE..this is in BETA – you won’t be able to sign up for it yet – you can go sign up for an “invitation” but you can’t sign up for it yet.”

    Open. Authentic. Real. There are more articles about this new stuff that comes out w/ no indication that its in fact in beta and you can’t use the tool yet…

    • says

      Sorry James, that was an oversight (with the exception of

      However, you can download the Seesmic Desktop without an invite now and Topify are excellent at getting back to you with invites pretty sharpish. You just need to ask.

      With regards the “open, authentic, real”, not quite sure what you mean. Everything I ever write is open, and authentic, and real. An oversight is slightly different from a lack of transparency, no?

    • says

      James – Sorry for the private-beta thing – we just want to grow the service gradually, so we can make sure that we give everyone the best service they deserve.

      Meanwhile, here’s an invite links for you and the rest of readers:

      Danny – thank you for the great post! And we sure share the love for the same tools (as you can notice from the link) :)

  7. says

    Danny, I thank you for this post very much. As a die hard Twirl fan, the fact that you now like Seesmic was testimony enough for me. I appreciate that you say it’s a relatively easy app for newbies. I think that’s important. We want them to find the neat, new and fun way to use Twitter, so they too can embrace it and quickly grow with it.

    I think the Google Documents feature is tremendous, and the fact that one can convert it to an Excel spreadsheet is an excellent attribute you brought out. That’s a great way to sell it to management.

    Good work, my friend. Thank you, as always, for sharing your wisdom and insight with us mere mortals.

    Good day,

    ~ Lizz

    • says

      Hi Lizz,

      Glad you found the extra features on useful – I agree, the spreadsheet option is a massively understated feature and one that takes it from being just a URL shortener to a much more integrated business tool.

      Hope you enjoy Seesmic – I’ll check in on you and see how you’re doing. :)

      “Mere mortals”? Ha! I’m just as mortal as you, my friend, even more so – I’ve seen your reports and presentations. Clients must love you!

    • says

      Danny, thanks for this through post. I will take another look at, I agree with Lizz that the Google docs integration sounds great! Griff beat me to the “you can customize Tweetdeck colors to a lighter scheme, but agree that out of the box, easy & useful = Worth checking out. will do so soon.

      BTW – which WordPress comments plugin do you use. I was looking at them yesterday, and wanted one that allows peeps to be notified of follow-up comments, and missed it. Thanks

    • says

      Hi Ari,

      Yes, I should have mentioned that in my piece re. the color options on Tweetdeck – I’ll do a quick update. What I meant was straight from the box functionality – I (personally) prefer the cleaner view of Seesmic as opposed to the standard dark view of Tweetdeck, just easier on the eyes.

      With regards Topify, it’s really a time-saving tool. Instead of having to click on the link from your Twitter email alert to check out all the info about a user, you pretty much have it right there in front of you from the Topify email.

      Say it takes just 1 minute to check each new follower properly via the Twitter route. You get 100 new followers a day. That’s almost 2 hours of your day taken up just checking new connections.

      Now, instead, with Topify all the info is there. You can just hit reply to follow, or delete to ignore. You can send a DM via Topify from your email. You can block a user.

      That’s a major time-saver and one that I think any Twitter user can benefit from (but yes, heavy users and business users particularly).

      Thanks as always for stopping by, fella, and I’ll make sure I begin answering in audio or video too. :)

      • says

        Why do you want to check out all the info about a user?

        Someone follows you for a reason intrinsic to that person. And you should follow people for your own reasons. Why waste time looking at who they are?

        • says

          Hmm… at a guess, I’d say to check you have common interests? To see that you have a mix, as opposed to just connecting with someone for no reason other than they followed you?

          I’m guessing by that reasoning, the 192 people you do follow you’re not even interested in knowing, it’s all intrinsic semantics, and the 6,315 that are following you back are doing so without you being interested in who they are?

          If a tool isn’t for you, Ari, that’s fine. But to say “Who cares what someone is like?” kinda defeats the purpose of trying to make meaningful connections.

  8. says

    Late to the party…but it’s been a long day.

    Love Topify and am really excited about implementing it more into my everyday schedule. Surprised I hadn’t utilized it before to much. Just an awesome service. Thanks for the info Danny :)

  9. says

    Topify and Seesmic are on my To Do List. Thanks for the descriptions. has been a great tracking tool that I’ve been using for weeks.

    Will report back to you after I’ve dipped a toe or two.



  10. says

    I love TweetDeck and it’s the only one I need right now.

    But I love that you love Bit.Ly — I heart it too! What is especially great is that it keeps track of how many times someone has read something you posted.

    On the note of topify though — besides that 3rd part app. do you know any other ways to find out your Twitter registration date? I can’t remember mine and I’d like to know!

    :) Great post Danny!

    • says

      Hey there Sasha,

      Welcome – nice to see you here in the comments. :)

      You can use this web app. to find out when you started your Twitter account:

      The only problem I can see with it is if a user changed their username throughout, and that can affect the date. Apart from that, it’s simple and it works – so, ideal for me! :)

  11. Kari Rippetoe says

    Great post, Danny! I’m definitely going to check out Seesmic Desktop and Topify. I’ve always been pretty hot on Tweetdeck, but change is GOOD!

    I’ve been using for about a month in my new marketing role, but I have to admit I’m not terribly impressed. I’m pretty stuck on, and I just like the GUI better. I’ve also been frustrated with the pagination of the URLs created on You have to click through pages of 15 at a time to find previously created URLs; while on you can see all of your URLs in one big list on one page.

    • says

      Cheers Kari,

      I agree that can be a bit unwieldy – it’s why I like the Google Docs option to save onto a spreadsheet for reports, etc.

      I’ll have a look at though – didn’t quite get into it first time round, but like you say, change is good. :)

  12. says

    Huge fan of and Topify. The latter especially has immensely made deciding which new followers to follow back more efficient. Ability to follow back via replying to an e-mail lets me quickly and easily take care of that “task” while out and about on my iPhone. Twitter should really buy them out and integrate it into the default Twitter setup.

    I think a lot of new twitter users are overwhelmed by the new follower notifications and having Topify be the default would really help them out.

    I use Seeismic sparingly but think I’m on an old version. But with you and David Spinks touting it, will give them another shot but had a bunch of issues with the older versions.