Microsoft plans to release Outlook Social Connectors to connect Outlook 2010 with Facebook, MySpace, Windows Live, and more social network support but what about Twitter? Twitter is more like a messaging service yet TwInbox has you covered.
It is an add-in for Outlook developed by the same guys behind the Facebook Add-in. At first glimpse it looks like a basic add-in with limited functionality but is actually a complete twitter client with features to upload images, shorten URLs, and tracking keywords/groups, among many others.
Before you begin, create a new PST file (Outlook Data File) named Twitter. When done, head over to the Add-Ins tab and click New. This will open up a dialog window where you can set up Twitter in just three steps.
In the last screenshot above, hit Select Folder and choose the Twitter Data File you just created. Be sure to uncheck “Follow @TechHit” checkbox before hitting Finish.
In the Compose Update dialog window, enter the tweet and hit Update. If it contains a link, hit Shrink URL to shrink it with Bit.ly before posting the tweet. You will have to register and configure an account with this service(which can be done from Options) before you can use this feature.
Click the small arrow button to open up an advanced box where you can upload the image from highlighted email or from your local drive. At the moment only three image sharing services are supported; TwitPic, Posterous, and Twitgoo.
Once the tweet has been posted you will find it in the public timeline, where you will find updates from all people you are following, one at a time. You can direct message and RT a tweet in a click.
Hit TwInbox to bring up the menu and head over to Options. From the Setup tab you can add and manage multiple twitter accounts, the Preferences tab is where you will find the settings related to the the behavior of the add-in, the User Interface can be tweaked form the UI tab. If you want the URLs to be shortened via Bit.ly, you will have to enter the credentials in the respective tab.
To analyze twitter activity, access Display Stats from the TwInbox menu. The most useful options perhaps, is the Search/Track/Group. Here you can define groups of tweets to be tracked by their own Outlook folders. An example would be to create a group of Apple and enter keywords, such as, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, etc so that they can be tracked easily.
All-in-all, it is one powerful must-have add-in for Outlook power users.
Apart from Outlook 2010, it also works on Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2003.