Desktop twitter apps. A down-and-dirty review.
If you’re still using Twitter from Twitter.com, I have to say you’re making it hard on yourself and you’re not getting all you can out of it. Desktop apps are one way to make it easier to track followers, respond, organize and monitor your profile or brand.
I usually make an effort to try out Twitter clients as I learn about them. I won’t be reviewing everyone in this post but I will review most of the major ones.
I really like Tweetdeck‘s large and easy on the eyes user interface. It’s great for watching and posting to multiple accounts. For six months, I’d say it was my favorite app for both mobile and desktop hands down.
From Tweetdeck, you can post regular tweets, pictures, or even video, via 12seconds.
It also incorporates bit.ly and other popular link shortening services and can integrate with your account. If you’re a freak about metrics this is super handy.
Many people use Tweetdeck just for it’s search function which streams in your search into a handy dandy column. For example, you can enter your brand name and watch it aggregate results right in the column. It’s like having a social media dashboard rather than just a Twitter tool.
Seesmic Desktop offers similar functionality to Tweetdeck. Choosing between these two is mainly a decision about what interface you are most comfortable with. However, Seesmic appears to be moving to improve their desktop app. They recently bought Ping.fm a tool which allows you to basically post anywhere you want to at once. This technology will most likely find its way into Seesmic Desktop soon and make it even more powerful.
If you’re a Windows user, Seesmic for Windows is a native application which should provide better performance for you over the Adobe air application Mac and Linux users get.
Has a very nice UI and includes the option to use themes to customize it’s look. I really like using this app and it currently incorporates groups. Destroy 2.0 will also feature lists in the future which will make it a really nice option. However right now without multiple accounts and no Twitter lists, I wouldn’t recommended it for a power user.
A very nice functioning Mac twitter desktop app with a great user interface brought to you by the people who make one of the most popular iPhone apps. Unfortunately it doesn’t offer lists or groups in the desktop version. This makes it more or less useless for me. But if you have a much smaller lists of friends and followers maybe you it will work for you.
Skimmer was created by ad agency Fallon. Like the marketing coming out of the Minneapolis agency, it’s a slick and cleaver. I really dig the look and feel. It renders photos and YouTube video beautifully. I’m a little less stoked with it’s Twitter feature set. But then again it’s hard to do everything perfectly.
Twitteriffic, Twinja and Mac Lounge
A few more Mac apps. None of these appear to have been updated lately and don’t support lists. Twitterific makes a popular iPhone app but their desktop app feels neglected compared with the constant updates and rich features of Tweetdeck. Mac Lounge and Twinja both are are fine basic apps but offer little in the way of features compared to the more popular
A minimalist but very functional desktop Twitter app. If you like to post to lots of different networks this may be the application for you. It’s the opposite of Tweetdeck in that it occupies very little of your screen yet does a lot with that space. You can post to Twitter, laconi.ca, Friendfeed and Seesmic Video accounts and integrate several url shortners. Thwirl was bought by Seesmic and updates have slowed, none in the last several months. So while it’s currently a pretty neat tool, I wouldn’t bet on it being around forever.
Sobees and DigiTweet are Twitter desktop application to consider if you’re a Windows user – I’m not so I haven’t tried them. Sobees does support Facebook, Myspace and Linkedin as well and looks to have the richer feature set. Both are native .Net applications.
A word about Adobe Air
Most of these programs function within Adobe Air, an amazing platform that allows programmers the ability to create desktop applications that function much like mobile apps. Adobe Air is more or less a desktop version of Flash – I’m not a tech guy so excuse me if I’m over simplifying. This provides robust functionality but not always the best performance to weight ratio. Should a Twitter client really be using 264 mb of my real memory? Maybe. And if you’ve got a high performance machine with tons of ram and disk space, no worries. But if you’re running an older machine maybe a browser based client is more to your liking.
Browser based twitter clients are pretty darn robust these days too. And you should consider them as well. I’ll be posting soon on some major ones shortly. As well as mobile apps.Jimmy Gilmore