How to Use Twitter During Office Hours
Some organizations have this policy that social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, etc. are a waste of time and therefore ban their staff from using such sites during office hours.
Then you also have companies that have no such rules in place and allow unrestricted access to the web as long as the employees are able to deliver what’s expected.
A. When Twitter is Not Allowed in Office
If you are working for a company that falls in the first category (no social media please), its better that you install a Twitter mobile app on your cell phone and not use the office computer at all for tweeting. After all, your boss will get a web usage report at the month-end and he will easily figure out which sites have you been visiting secretly during office hours.
If you don’t have a data-plan on your phone and cannot resist that urge to tweet ever 10 minutes, you may use tools like Posterous or Nutshell that allow anyone to send and receive tweets through regular office email.
There’s another option that will come handy if the twitter.com website itself has been blocked by your office firewall. You can use Twitter indirectly through third-party sites like Brizzly or Dabr.
These sites offer a fresh interface to your Twitter account with all the regular features (retweets, @replies, etc.) but the more interesting part is that they will work even if Twitter domain is inaccessible from your office computer. You can track up to 5 accounts with Brizzly.
Your Twitter friends’ timeline feed is protected by a password but you may still subscribe to it with a simple hack involving FeedBurner.
You can then follow tweets from your friends using Outlook or any other newsreader. Alternatively, you can subscribe to the friend’s feed directly with FeedDemon provided that access to Twitter is open in your office.
If you are allowed to use IM clients in Office, you can add email@example.com as a buddy in Google Talk and send tweets through IM. TweetSwitch is another free service that lets you send and receive tweets through popular instant messaging clients including AIM, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, Skype and GTalk.
B. Use Twitter Without Letting Anyone Know
Now let’s look at the second category – you are very much allowed to use Twitter at work but you still don’t want to give your boss an impression that you are a Twitter addict.
In that case, here’s what you can do to possibly hide your Twitter addiction from boss and colleagues.
You can probably find a gazillion desktop apps for Twitter but if you are looking for something that doesn’t scream to the world that its a Twitter client, try Quitter.
Quitter is a simple twitter client that runs through the command prompt or the DOS window. With Quitter, you can read and reply to tweets, follow /unfollow people or even manage your direct messages. All you need is a Windows computer and no one in the office will ever have a clue that you are engrossed in Twitter.
If you are a Microsoft Office user, Spreadtweet is another interesting option for you. This is a proper Twitter client but in the guise of a spreadsheet so your boss will think that you’re working on an Excel sheet while you are up there tweeting your heart out!
With SpreadTweet, you can send and receive updates, @replies and direct messages all inside an application that looks like a clone of Excel 2007.
The other great option for Microsoft Office users in TwInbox – you probably have Outlook open on your screen all the time and this free Outlook add-in will simply turn your Outlook into a powerful Twitter client.
You can handle tweets just the way you manage your Inbox and the add-in will even let you tweet email messages with a click. The service is integrated with TwitPic so you can tweet pictures by simply dragging them into Outlook.
There’s more – all standard Outlook features like search, mail archiving, categories, etc. will also become available to your Tweets.
Related: Do Interesting Things With Twitter
Google Developer Expert, Google Cloud Champion
Amit Agarwal is a Google Developer Expert in Google Workspace and Google Apps Script. He holds an engineering degree in Computer Science (I.I.T.) and is the first professional blogger in India.
Amit has developed several popular Google add-ons including Mail Merge for Gmail and Document Studio. Read more on Lifehacker and YourStory