Today marks the highly anticipated release of Tweetie for the Mac by atebits, developer of the iPhone version of the same app. Tweetie has enjoyed tremendous success on the iPhone, and for my money is far and away the best mobile client for my web workflow. Which is why I was first in line to download the new Mac client it this a.m. and see if it might be an improvement over Nambu, my current desktop Twitter solution. Olly Farshi over at our sister site TheAppleBlog has a full review, but I wanted to look at it specifically with web work in mind.
Things started off well, since Tweetie offers a full-featured, ad-supported free version in addition to a $19.95 (currently on sale for $14.95) ad-free version. I can live with one ad per hour in my tweet stream in exchange for a great free program. Heck, half of the tweets of those I’m following are probably ads anyway.
Let me just say right away that Tweetie’s interface is gorgeous. It looks and feels like a Mac app, and it has a commitment to minimalist design that I very much appreciate. If you’re looking for desktop eye candy, Tweetie is definitely your client. I especially like the scrollbar and the way it handles multiple accounts in the left-hand sidebar. There are lots of other advantages as well:
Global Shortcut for New Tweet
Another big plus is the ability to set a global shortcut for composing new tweets. My MacBook is now set to open the composer whenever I press Shift+Command+T, which helps me get tweets out much faster than with any other program.
Easy Image/Link Sharing
I also love that you can drag image files to the composer window and Tweetie will automatically generate yFrog, TwitPic, Twitgoo or Posterous links for it. You can also set your URL truncation service, with the ability to choose from five different providers.
Quick and easy access to threaded conversations, both public and DMs, is another nice feature. Clicking on an @reply will show you that public conversation thread, in the same window and without any other tweets. DM conversations look like iChat sessions. I appreciate the visual distinction between the two because it helps me know what kind of conversation I’m viewing at a glance.
Despite these and other things to its credit, Tweetie just doesn’t have what it takes to replace Nambu as my primary Twitter client from a web working perspective. The reasons are many, and though some might seem minor, taken together they draw a clear distinction between the two apps:
No User Groups
Tweetie 1.0 doesn’t support custom user groups, which is a must for a Twitter client if you’re following more than 100 people, especially if a fair number of those people tweet with any kind of frequency. Without dedicated user groups, you’ll miss out on important stories and links, and you’ll have a much harder time compartmentalizing your Twitter usage.
No Copying Text from Tweets
This might only be handy if you’re a blogger or writer looking to collect quotes from Twitter, but I’m sure there are other reasons a professional might want to do this. Having a built-in retweet button is great, but I want to be able to select text from directly within my Twitter-stream and copy that so that I can save it to another source. Ironically, I realized I was missing this feature while preparing to write this article.
One thing that I got used to when using TweetDeck, and was pleased to find Nambu also maintained, was a column view option that let me organize different types of filtered tweets next to each other in the same window. Sure, with Tweetie, you can view searches (though not @replies, unless you search for your own @replies) in a new window, but it lacks the clean organization of a multi-column setup.
So what do I really think of Tweetie, in the end? The design snob in me wants to love it, declare my devotion to it, and never look at another Twitter client ever again, but the pragmatic web worker in me can’t justify using it for more than casual purposes. If you’re only following a few people, and you use Twitter for personal rather than professional purposes, then by all means, get Tweetie. But if, like me, you care more about what’s under the hood than the bodywork, stick with Nambu for now.
Have you tried Tweetie? What did you think?