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Summary:

Part of me wishes people would stop making great Twitter clients for the iPhone so that I can just pick a horse and stick to it, but another, far larger part of me is thrilled to see TweetDeck (free, iTunes link) come to the App Store. […]

tweetdeck

Part of me wishes people would stop making great Twitter clients for the iPhone so that I can just pick a horse and stick to it, but another, far larger part of me is thrilled to see TweetDeck (free, iTunes link) come to the App Store. While I stopped using the desktop client in favor of Nambu, and later Tweetie for Mac, because I far prefer a native OS X app to an Adobe AIR one, I loved and deeply missed some of TweetDeck’s features, including support for custom user groups.

Which is why when TweetDeck hit the App Store, I was all over it.

Maximum Usability

With an app like this, I feel compelled to get right to the point: TweetDeck is the most usable Twitter client yet to appear on the iPhone platform. The key to that usability lies in their trademark columnar layout, which they’ve actually managed to successfully port to the iPhone version in a way that makes sense.

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Once you’ve entered your Twitter credentials, you’re presented with a screen that looks a little like mobile Safari when you zoom out to choose between your multiple open tabs or pages. These are the columns in TweetDeck for iPhone. By default, there’s one for all of the people you follow, one for @ mentions and one for direct messages. To this default set, you can also add specific keyword searches, user groups and favorites.

And columns allow for the best implementation of multiple Twitter accounts I’ve ever seen. Once you’ve registered another account with the device, all you have to do is choose that username in the “Add Column” dialog. Then you can rearrange the columns however you like, and have access to multiple account streams side-by-side. Easier than both Twitterific’s Source list and Tweetie’s account switching. Maybe best of all, when you’re composing, all you have to do is click your account name to switch.

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One of the neatest tricks up TweetDeck’s sleeve is the ability to move columns simply by holding your finger on any one in the zoomed-out view. The columns will then start to jiggle, just like icons on your main iPhone springboard, and you can rearrange them as necessary.

Tight Desktop Integration

Another big benefit of TweetDeck, for users of the desktop version, is the ability to sync back and forth. That means that you don’t have to set up your columns and groups all over again when you start using TweetDeck on the iPhone. All of those settings will be imported, so long as you have the latest version of TweetDeck and a TweetDeck account, which you can sign up for from the iPhone app.

Syncing is also automatic, and happens in the background. Not only that, but it’s a two-way street. If you remove a column or account on the Twitter version of the app, the change is likewise made in your Adobe AIR installation as well. That’s very handy if you use Twitter a lot for work purposes, like I do. It might even be reason enough to go back to using the desktop version.

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TweetDeck on the iPhone also looks and behaves like the desktop version, so there’s relatively little ramping up to be done. It even has “Growl” notifications, though I wonder about them using that name specifically, since the people behind Growl can’t have worked on the iPhone version, right? Still, they work, and they work well, although you might find the whole interface a little too busy depending on your aesthetic tastes.

Bottom Line

Is TweetDeck my new go-to Twitter client on the iPhone? Not exactly. Thing is, when I’m using Twitter from my phone, I’d say 90 percent of the time it’s just to kill some time. For that purpose, TweetDeck is overkill, and not really as suited for quick, casual checking as, say, Tweetie or Twitterific. But if I need to find a specific tweet, or I’m using Twitter on-the-go for work or research purposes, than TweetDeck is definitely my weapon of choice.

  1. Looks interesting enough but while I might try it out it doesn’t look like it will replace Tweetie for me.

    I find that most people (me included), only use the basic twitter functions and al the do-dads and gee-gaws like @lists and direct mentions and so on are confusing, irrelevant and sometimes redundant. 90% of the time (or more), I only look at one column, (the actual tweets).

    The essence of tweeting is following other tweets and tweeters and making your own tweets. All that other stuff is just twitter trying to be an IM client IMO.

    To each his own of course, but twitter “purists” like myself will probably stick with Tweetie.

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  2. TweetDeck regularly crashes back to my homescreen so I hope this is an issue that can be resolved with an update. This happened under 2.2.1 and now also 3.0. Then if they would just add landscape mode to the browser and add the ability to search for trends it could be a winner. Strange there is no bookmarklet to post links from mobile safari, but 3.0 solves this with copy/paste and TweetDeck does include a URL shortener. Right now I’ve gone full circle back to Twitterfon as my ITouch client of choice.

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  3. Maybe I’m missing something, but I can’t find any way to just look at MY tweets in Tweetdeck. To me this seems like a glaring omission. I can’t create a new column and select just myself, and there doesn’t seem to be any other way to view just tweets that I have made. Considering that Tweetdeck is supposed to be an advanced and highly customizable client, this strikes me as particularly odd.

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    1. Hi Joe – add a new column, of type “user group”, and choose “select users” – and simply choose yourself

      or even better, create a search column and add just your name – and use this inplace of a “mentions” column as it will show tweets to you and your replies!

      this will use less of you twitter api calls and you can set the update interval too

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  4. I know it’s my not-so-great eye sight, but without the ability to change font size, I’ll never use it — ’cause I can’t read a fraking thing on it!

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  5. I’m sorry, but using Twitter for research……lol

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  6. [...] online (NewTeeVee) Poll: How are you managing data on netbooks with other computers? (jkOnTheRun) Is TweetDeck for the iPhone the best Twitter client yet? (TheAppleBlog) Firefox 3.5 RC: stable and fast (WebWorkerDaily) Make your desktop do your bidding [...]

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  7. I still prefer Twitteriffic. I love the way that you read entries from oldest to newest. Why doesn’t Twitter and every other client realize that this is the only way to actually follow and join a conversation?
    It has everything I need, pictures, geotagging, open in safari.

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  8. TweetDeck’s UI is a total dog’s breakfast. Less can be more.

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  9. Of COURSE it’s the best. Been waiting for this for months! Twitterfon is getting lonely.

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  10. I have found that tweetdeck is regularly missing (or dropping tweets). I really like the platform on the desktop but find myself comparing tweets between tweetie and tweetdeck on my iphone to see if I have missed any. I am hopeful that an update will sort this problem out.

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