I have Twitter open on my desktop or laptop at least 10 hours every day. News, opinions, pithy comments and more continually flow by me and I need to be able to keep up, particularly on news and rumors surrounding Apple, apps and various startups. This makes me a de-facto Twitter power user and an instant fan of Bird Bell.
Bird Bell is a small application, available here in the Mac App Store that sits in the menu bar of your Mac. It quietly logs all of the follows, unfollows, retweets, list adds and favorites that the Twitterverse bestows on your timeline.
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The app is lightweight and unobtrusive, with integrated Growl notifications. A small bell icon sits in the menu bar for easy access to a history of all of the action on your account and the preferences pane. The pane allows you to choose which items get notified, letting you untick whether they show up on Growl or just in the pulldown menu. The menu gives you a nice icon-coded list of all of your events so you can quickly see your trends at a glance.
Using Bird Bell for the last week or so I’ve been incredibly impressed by how quickly I became used to its unobtrusive notifications and how gratifying it was to get near-realtime metrics on how my Tweets affected my follow/unfollow count. I don’t really care whether people unfollow me over a Tweet, I’m going to say what I want regardless, but it is still very interesting to see what topics gain you followers and which drive them away.
A decent number of my Tweets are automatically generated when I post articles so I can also see how they affect my follow counts and favorites.
Bird Bell also supports multiple accounts so you can track them all at once, which is cool for a blogger with a personal account and a ‘company’ account. The drop down menu isn’t just for looks either as it allows you to click on a name and be taken to that person’s Twitter or Favstar account directly. This will allow you to thank new followers or perhaps see their history of favorites.
The first version of Bird Bell that I tried was missing a lot of events and suffered from some instances where the notification box would stop showing new items. An update to the current version has fixed those problems for me and it’s now chugging along great. The next version will add a Spam filter for new followers, the option to show just Twitter usernames and some performance improvements.
Whether you’re obsessive about Twitter or just a regular user that wants to take the ‘pulse’ of your followers, I’d definitely give Bird Bell a whirl. It has quickly become an indispensable part of my Twitter landscape. Just remember to use your newfound power wisely and keep a thick skin, lest you start tracking down unfollowers and tearfully asking them why they left.