Twitter apps

  • On July 24, 2009 ·
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I use twitter a lot because it’s flexible and an easy way to keep track of/contact a lot of people. I use it to update my Facebook status and it’s great for finding useful links. The home page is nice and useful but you don’t always want your browser open. So I’ve downloaded an assortment of different apps and I’m going to show you the ones I keep going back to.

Twitterrific sits in the menubar. You can click the icon to bring out a Heads Up Display to view the timeline of who you’re following and to post your own tweets. You can set growl alerts to show new tweets as they come in at your own discretion. It’s lightweight in the good way. It stays out of sight until you need it and the growls let you know if anybody’s saying anything you want to check out in the full timeline. My problem is I follow a lot of people and would like the ability to limit growls to just the group of folks I really want to hear from without having to look at everybody.

TweetDeck is the beastly do-everything app that uses Adobe Air to run across different operating systems. This is nice but it doesn’t make use of Mac-specific features like growls and it eats up space in the dock. I’m sure for a power twitter user it’d be awesome but it’s overkill for me and I’d rather use an app more native to my OS.

Tweetie is native as hell on the Mac and very sexy. It has a menubar icon that shows and hides it, though it still keeps an icon in the dock for some reason. Downside is it doesn’t use growl or groups. It’d be very nice for posting but not so much on the following.

Mac Lounge had an interesting beta, but that’s apparently between versions at the moment and you can’t use a version that’s expired. Apparently they believe giving you a screenshot is more useful than a less-than-perfect but usable release. (I thought that’s what a beta was?)

Nambu is interesting in that you can configure it in a lot of ways like Twiterrific. It supports groups, (and has a nice system for managing them visually using avatars) does growls, has a retweet button which boggles my mind that other apps don’t have, hides by clicking the menubar icon, even leaves the dock if you want it to. However there are a number of issues keeping me from using it as my main app. For example, whenever you remove the dock icon, you can edit preferences, but you can’t quit the app. The only way to do that is by restarting your machine entirely. And there’s no “load at login” option, either. Also whenever you click on a tweet for any reason whenever the timeline updates it stays on that one tweet, forcing you to scroll up. The only way to get around this is by clicking the top tweet, but that just starts the same problem all over again when new messages arrive. And although it has the best way to manage groups it gets very tedious when you follow a lot of people. Having to click their avatar, then right click, the going down in the group listing to find the specific group they belong to and selecting it, that wears you down. And if you don’t know you’re doing it wrong you can go through your entire list before realizing you haven’t changed anything. Then there’s the fact that, if you use Spaces, the window always reopens in the same Space, even if you’re on another one, and you get forced back. But the biggest problem with me is still simple growl notification. So I can make different user lists of people’s updates but I can only get growl updates for everybody. Why is this such a difficult feature that nobody’s been able to implement yet?

I know it sounds like I’m nit-picking here, but these are checkbox settings for an app I’d use all the time. Imagine if your IM client played an annoying sound every time somebody sent you a message and you couldn’t turn it off. It would get on your nerves pretty quickly. Since most of these are still beta-ish I’m hoping they’ll improve down the line so at least one will do everything I need. New apps and features come out all the time so eventually a solution’s bound to show up. I just thought I’d share some of the interesting ones I’ve stumbled across since there’s a boatload of ’em out there.