Ten Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do With Twitter

Twitter has taken off in a larger way than perhaps even its founders ever imagined. Personally, when Twitter first appeared, I felt it had only limited appeal, at least in the way it was rolled out and marketed. Of course, Twitter has evolved and grown. Oh how it was grown.

Twitter logoBut did you know that Twitter can be used for more than just reading tweets about “Winning!“, keeping track of trends or breaking news?

Here are just 10 unique, innovative and sometimes practical uses for Twitter that make great use of its popular API.

1. Control your PC with TweetMyMac – This is an application that lets you run features on your Mac remotely by tweeting to a dedicated account. There is a long list of features but the best two are probably taking a photo with iSight or making your computer speak the words you tweet – great if your Mac gets stolen! A Windows version is available here.

2. Look after your plants with Botanicalls – Featured in Wired, Botanicalls is a DIY gizmo that you put in a plant pot. Then, it tells you when your plant needs watering. Great for when you’re on holiday — it could even tweet your neighbor’s account for them to get a reminder. Kits are now available here for $100.

3. Turn your lights on and off – Couple Twitter with an INSTEON home automation light switch and you’ve got a remote application to turn your lights on and off. Perfect if you don’t want to get out of bed to turn them off or just want to scare your guests. This requires wiring a laptop up to some home automation hardware though — might be easier just to get out of bed.

4. Find recipes – If you’ve got a few random ingredients left in your fridge but don’t know what to make with them, then tweet them to #quieroreceta. The service will check its database and recommend what you should make! On the other hand, you could just follow the many Twitterers who tweet recipes in under 140 characters.

5. Make popcorn – Some guys managed to make a Rube Goldberg-styled contraption that listens for Twitter posts tagged #popcorn. When it’s got a hit, the gizmo starts up and makes you some popcorn! The video will explain all:

6. Tell you when your toast is ready – Another cool, but pointless, hack is called Social Networking for my Toaster. This is a DIY project that tweets when the toaster is toasting, and when the toast is done. Great if you’re, er, away from your toaster for two minutes.

7. Get your Tweets while driving – Ford seem to think that so many people are tempted to read their Tweets whilst driving that they reckon it’s safer to install a device that reads out your tweets to you. Hands free for Twitter, good idea or not? You decide.

8. Turn your toilet into a tweeter – HackLab has managed to make its toilet tweet in this DIY hack. There’s been a few problems recently but you can see on its Twitter account that it has worked well in the past!

9. Track parcels – Instead of logging onto the FedEx and UPS websites to check your parcels, all you need to do is tweet your tracking details to TrackThis, which will then tweet back when updates have been made to your parcel status — neat! This isn’t just limited to Twitter however — you can get phone, e-mail, and many other notifications via this service.

10. Lose weight - well, not quite, but Weight Loss Charts is a service where you can tweet your daily weight and it will compile the data into a chart and show you your progress over time, the idea being that this will act as motivation and inspiration. You can then share the chart to your followers.

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