TweetCaster App Review

I opened up the TweetCaster app on my phone today after reading a few positive reviews of it last week.

Here are my initial highlights and reactions to the free version:

  1. Effortless news customization. If you are the type of person (like me) that is fascinated by watching minute by minute news unfold on Twitter, you should give TweetCaster a whirl. The best thing about it is the option to change between locations to monitor differences in local versus national vs. international news and trends ,all in real time.
  2. SmartLists. This feature is particularly helpful if you use one handle to follow a range of topics (i.e. professional interests and personal hobbies) that are often unrelated.
  3. It’s pretty intuitive. When it comes to reviewing apps for user experience and design, I would put myself in with the more critical. The mobile version is quite easy to get the hang of toggling between the bottom bar menu options. The web version is still in beta as of right now.
  4. The Bookmarks feature seems like it could be helpful in adding tweets as bookmarks (instead of favoriting every interesting tweet, only to forget it later). However, I can’t figure out how to “add a bookmark” and this seems to be a common complaint on the feedback page for the app.
  5. Unlike Twitter, most recent tweets self populate. So, no drag down screen-swipe to move on to the latest news. Some may find this convenient, but I find it pretty distracting. The human brain can only effectively process so much by the second.
  6. ZipIt is a feature I could live without. Given the amount of people and topics that most users follow, the speed of the Twitterverse makes it easy to ignore any trend, hashtag, or person that’s not applicable to building knowledge. Though I suppose this feature could help if you wanted to hide a person or organization’s feed without unfollowing them completely.

Overall, with a few tweaks, the TweetCaster app could be outstanding. As it stands now, it’s still an enhanced version of the original Twitter, and I’m currently using it as my main Twitter app.

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The Informational Interview

world-connect-people-community-internationalSometimes you really have to push yourself when it comes to setting up informational interviews. Though most people are happy enough to talk about themselves and their own unique career path, there is something about sharing these thoughts with a complete stranger that can be a little out of the comfort zone. Add in a busy schedule and the “what’s in it for me” element and it can be challenging to connect with those individuals who you have identified as sources of wisdom.

For the person on the other end, there is, of course, the pressure to ask the right questions. Personally, I make a point to develop an initial list of targeted questions after a careful scan of the individual’s LinkedIn page, though usually the conversation takes form more naturally.

Earlier today, I had the opportunity to speak with the talented colleague of a previous colleague, and I came away from our conversation feeling encouraged by his story. His career path had a few turns as do most. But it was his positive philosophy that colored some new thoughts on my own career journey. Some years ago, he was in a situation where his department was significantly downsized and the workload for the remaining workers increased considerably. Though many individuals would see this as a disadvantage, he saw it as a major opportunity to take on new skill sets and learn the workings of different functions. The ability to change a negative into a positive seems to be a common trait in leaders like this that successfully manage cross functional teams.

Informational interviews are valuable for any generation, especially millennials. They’re more than just a networking tool. They have the power to inform, advise, and in some cases, even inspire the interviewer with creative ideas that they had not previously considered. A recent article from Fortune Magazine brings up pertinent points on some good practices to follow. I would encourage professionals to make plans to conduct an interview with someone at least two levels higher than you often. Go out on the proverbial limb and you just might see a few branches above you.

What do you find to be the most challenging or rewarding aspects of informational interviews?