Christian Long shared the website TweepML as his “geek of the week” in the February 11, 2010 Seedlings webcast / podcast. TweepML is:

…is an extensible, open standard format that allows you to manage and share groups of Twitter users.

Without saving your Twitter password or sending you Twitter messages / spam, TweepML lets you follow groups of people. You do not have to even create your own TweepML account to use the service. I used it today to follow folks who attended EduCon 2010.

EduCon 2010 on TweepML

I think it is VERY important to be careful using any type of application to which you authenticate for something like this, so it’s vital to consider the source. Christian is my source, and I trust him. Note TweepML is up for sale, however, so before using it (I have no idea when you’re reading this post) be sure to check out the site and confirm its continued integrity when it comes to using user data.

For at least the past 6-8 months, I’ve used the website Twitter Karma to identify folks who are following me on Twitter but I’m not following yet, to individually look at their profiles to decide whether or not to follow each one. There are a fair number of folks out there using Twitter for spam and marketing purposes, and I don’t have any desire to follow those folks. I recognize that to a degree, “we’re judged by the company we keep” both online and in the face-to-face world, so I want to exercise good judgement when “following” folks. I will generally follow anyone who is an educator and is interested in improving teaching and learning (as best as such a judgement can be made from past Tweets, a Twitter profile, and a website linked within that profile) but I am very wary of following others.

My thought here is: TweepML looks great and is a powerful tool, but we should all be careful of these types of services. In the case of this EduCon 2010 list (and the second list put together on TweepML by Jerry Swiatek,) I am very confident these lists are “ok” to follow en-masse. For other conferences and events, however, I will likely be more wary.

What are your thoughts about TweepML? Have you used other “follow en-masse” Twitter tools that you recommend?

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