How to take Twitter to the next level

So you’re tweeting. Now what? It’s time to take a look at sites that are making the most out of Twitter’s ability to instantly transmit the news.

Instead of waiting for traffic updates online or via radio, some internet users are turning to Commuter Feed. The site lets Twitter users send updates about local traffic around the country directly to the site, where the feeds are searchable by city or metropolitan area.

Politweets tracks the political discussion happening in the Twitterverse by aggregating tweets about political candidates. The most recent tweets about Democratic candidates are on the left and Republicans are on the right. In the middle is a list of candidates positioned by how much they are being discussed (Barack Obama is currently at the top of the pile).

Because the web is all about citizen journalism, truemors is made up of news submitted by the average Joes and Janes of Twitter. It’s kind of like a micro social news networking site that aggregates the content that people care about from a variety of news sources. Twemes is also a great way of indexing what people are talking about online. The site is useful for searching tagged tweets on any subject, like, for example, John McCain.

Twitterers are already discussing major news events, including Super Tuesday and Sunday’s Academy Awards; it’s just a matter of major news organizations grabbing the opportunity and creating their own news hubs.

Did you know Twitter isn’t just for sending text? TwitPic and Twixtr both allow users to send photos either online or via mobile phone through Twitter. So instead of simply including links to new stories, anyone can add photos to accompany their tweets (and we know photos are a great visual attraction).

Twittervision combines Twitter and Google Maps to create a real-time visual idea of where tweets are coming from. The only requirement to appear on the site is a location and an image defined in your Twitter post. The 3D version is also worth a look, if only for the coolness factor.

Twittermap creates a visual display of geotagged tweets and can also be used to find Twitterers by location. Those familiar with data mashup editor Yahoo! Pipes can use geo twitter to get a geotagged feed of your Twitter posts, which can be displayed on a Yahoo or Google map.

There are a lot of interesting and useful sites based on Twitter and with the Twitter API up for grabs, there is no reason that journalists can’t be a part of the next evolution in news.

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