6 services that help you find, follow friends on Twitter

Want to find and follow friends on Twitter, but you don't know where to go to do it? Check out this list of six services that will help you do just that.

Finding friends on Twitter was simple when the service was in its infancy, but today, Twitter is home to millions of users. In fact, 70 percent of the entire Twitter community is composed of people who signed up in 2008 and 5,000 to 10,000 new users sign up each day.

That's why I've compiled a list of some great solutions that have helped me find friends more efficiently than asking for their usernames.

Twitter search

Maybe this is an obvious pick, but using Twitter search to find friends on Twitter actually works quite well. The feature allows users to search for a person by name and based on that information, it will return all the Twitter users who registered under that name.

Overall, Twitter's search tool is really fast, and will find the person you're looking for without much digging. That said, it has one severe limitation: finding people with common names like John Smith will take some time, and it's only useful when searching for a specific person.

Twubble

If you haven't tried Twubble out yet, it's time you give it a spin.

Twubble is simple and requires little to help you find friends. Upon surfing to the site, you're presented with a "Find some friends!" button, which when clicked, analyzes your Twitter account and finds people who you may want to follow. I was skeptical at first, but after clicking the button, the service returned a slew of colleagues and friends that I had no idea were on Twitter. I followed many of them and tried the button again. This time, it returned many of the same people and most of the users that I had already followed were displayed. Twubble realized that, though, and delivered a disclaimer saying it may not work as well the second time around if you follow many people.

Although the same results are returned multiple times, it's the first run-through that matters. If you want to find friends and colleagues quickly, Twubble offers a fine solution for doing just that.

Mr. Tweet

Mr. Tweet is similar to Twubble in that it analyzes your Twitter account to find other people that it thinks you should follow. But what it provides that Twubble doesn't is a host of stats with information about how you may know a particular person and how active they are on Twitter.

If you want, Mr. Tweet will even auto-follow all the people it finds for you, but it requires you to hand over your username and password to the service to do it--a major security issue, if you ask me. Regardless, it works extremely well and returned a nice list of people worth following.

I chose to follow them myself, though. I don't need any help from Mr. Tweet.

TwitterLocal

If you want to find people in your area that may be using Twitter, TwitterLocal is a great service to do it. Upon entering a city and state or ZIP code, you can quickly find all the people within a 40-mile radius that have recently issued tweets.

TwitterLocal doesn't analyze your Twitter profile like Twubble or Mr. Tweet, so the chances of finding a link between yourself and another person in your area are quite slim. But if you're sure that some of your friends are on Twitter and you can't find them through any other means, TwitterLocal will do a fine job of narrowing your search to your city. That said, you'll be hard-pressed to find folks you know. I tried multiple ZIP codes trying to find someone and each time, I failed. But if you're only looking to meet new people in your town, TwitterLocal is a great place to start.

Twits Like Me

Twits Like Me is a simple app that won't win any prizes for its design, but it skillfully finds other folks who share your same interests.

Once you input your Twitter username into the service, Twits Like Me searches through Twitter to find others that the app believes you will find interesting. It works well and I found a slew of people I knew by using the service. The only issue is that there's really no logic in how it finds those you may share interests with. As far as I can tell, it searched for people who tweeted about the same topics as I had in the last few days, but it didn't analyze those tweets to determine which topics I talk about most often.

In essence, Twits Like Me works great if you and your friends tweet about the same topics, but if you talk about tech and the buddy you're trying to find loves sports, you may have some trouble using this app.

TwitterPacks

By employing a wiki and allowing anyone to access it, TwitterPacks does a fine job of arranging Twitter users into groups based on their interests, location, company, or favorite topics.

The main attraction to TwitterPacks (and probably its biggest issue) is that it relies on the community to provide value. For anyone to find people who share interests on Twitter, they first need to join the wiki and place their Twitter profile under one topic, interest, or company. If the millions of Twitter users actually used TwitterPacks, it would be an invaluable tool to find others that share your interests or live in the same area. But because it's only used by a relatively small number of users, you'll probably have a tough time finding people you know. If you want to make new friends, TwitterPacks will work just fine, though.

Want to know where to find Don Reisinger on Twitter? Right here!

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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