This post was originally written by Carrie Royce.

Twitter’s rapid growth is showing no signs of slowing. Even though the social network seems like a communications tool built just for oddly obsessed foodies and short attention span narcissists, it plays host to more than 300 million accounts today and is growing at a rate of close to three-quarters of a million accounts daily. Yep, 10 more accounts are signed up every second. We can’t all be loonies, can we?

(…Don’t answer that, it’s rhetorical.)

That’s delightfully validating for me. I’ve been an eager beaver tweeter since I discovered Twitter last year, thanks to a mouthy new hire named Tom. I won’t bore you with the basis for my fixation here, but if you have a spare hour and are aching to know the many reasons I think Twitter is supernifty for local business communications, you can read my novella Twitter for Self Storage and Movers.

Many things have changed since I wrote that, including the golden ratio design, a few key features, the vacillating line of integrated apps, and tweet trending. But one thing has not changed: I almost never tweet what I’m eating. Urp! Nosh tweeting, gold-tooth natter and auto-messaging are, in my never humble opinion, worthy of flagellation.

Tweeting what I’m drinking, on the other hand; that’s another story. Mmm, mojitos…

Where was I? Oh yeah: 300 million accounts. That doesn’t necessarily mean 300 million individuals are out there yacking away into the cloud. In fact, it’s almost impossible for Twitter to gauge exactly how many unique users it hosts since it doesn’t independently confirm people like Facebook does. Heck, I manage over a dozen accounts myself for varying purposes. Any chimp with opposable thumbs and an email address can open Twitter accounts.

What Twitter can gauge accurately is how many tweets are circulated: about a billion tweets are sent every week.

I don’t know about you, but to me the epic increase in accounts and tweets makes it harder and harder to sift content, assess tweeters, and entice followers. What’s worse, it seems like the less time I have to use and manage my social networks, the more time pesky spammers have to get in my way. That’s why I find tremendous value in simple tools and techniques that make the whole process easier.

Last I read, several hundred “helpful” apps are floating around out there in the Twitterverse. Don’t believe it? Google something like “find Twitter followers” and watch the sales pitches roll in. And given that social network mania sidles right alongside the millennial startup craze, hundreds more apps are probably underway in messy dorm rooms across the country. I predict that most of them will be christened with such twittarded names that they could sprain Gene Simmons’ tongue. Twubs? Try saying that 10 times fast.

The problem with so many apps hitting the market is, most of them prove to be redundant or extraneous. Over the past year I’ve tried quite a few myself, with a mixed bag of reviews from “inspired convenience” to “what the heck?”

In the end I found that they largely amount to just one more URL I have to key in. For example, I don’t need to point my browser to FollowCost to find out that Guy Kawasaki broadcast-tweets way, way, way too often. I actually read my timeline, uhthankyou.

After a while I managed to filter out all but those apps that help me communicate efficiently and effectively without being an automated jerk. Since I’m a relatively small-scale tweeter and pop culture trending / sentiment analysis aren’t really my bag (my goals are to meet, greet, laugh, learn and sometimes gawk in awe), my daily Twitter toolbox has been reduced to just 10 tools.

So without further ado, _ Here are the Ten Simple Tools >> _

Note that I’m sharing this toolbox in a neighborly effort to help normal communicators, not spammers or paid tweeters like Kim Kardashian at (Holy Bubble Butt Batman!) $10,000 a tweet. Seems like they got it all figgud’out.