I’m very happy in my choice of Twitter clients at the moment. Tweetie is my weapon of choice for the Mac desktop, and it has served faithfully since its release. Doesn’t hurt that it’s free, either (though ad-supported). But I’m always glad to try out new contenders to the throne, and that’s why Twitt caught my eye today.
Twitt is a new, lightweight Mac Twitter client that has some interesting features I haven’t yet found elsewhere. Can it compete with perennial favorites Tweetie and TweetDeck, though? Using both those programs regularly has set my expectations fairly high, but Twitt definitely counts some surprising twists among its repertoire.
Twitt displays your Twitter stream like an iChat conversation. It’s an interface that’s familiar to Mac users, and it fully supports themes, including user-generated ones. It comes with two, the default iChat style and an iPhone theme that is much darker. I still prefer the look of Tweetie overall, but having options is always nice, and some users will value it over other UI considerations.
I also like that there’s a compose window at the bottom, which you can optionally hide. It’s preferable to me to always have a field for posting in view, since I find it actually makes me much more likely to actually tweet on a regular basis, something which I find myself doing less and less of since I started using Tweetie as my main Twitter workhorse.
Filters is another thing Twitt has going for it. The app allows you, via a preference panel, to specify terms that Twitt will then look for in your stream. It’ll then automatically hide tweets containing said keywords, effectively enabling you to filter out annoying trending topics or ongoing conversations you aren’t particularly interested in.
Not So Good Things
I’m hesitant to say “bad things,” because none of Twitt’s features are set in stone, and these can still be changed in later editions, but as it stands, there are a few failings the program has mean I won’t be changing horses anytime soon.
First of all, Twitt only supports one account at a time. That’s good news for people who want to keep things simple, I suppose, but if you have more than one Twitter account to monitor or manage, you’re out of luck with Twitt. For my line of work, that’s a dealbreaker. You can log out of your current account and sign in with another easy enough, but why bother when other clients offer much simpler account switching mechanisms.
Second, there isn’t any mechanism for in-line viewing of conversations that I can find. Nor is there a means to view profiles, follow, or do any of the other fun stuff that I’ve come to expect after using Tweetie and TweetDeck for so long. Without these features, I’m afraid Twitt will remain little more than a quaint alternative for Twitter amateurs, instead of a fully-fledged professional tool.
If you’re using Twitter as more of an IM client and less of an RSS replacement and/or brand management outlet, then there’s definitely something to be said for Twitt’s simplistic approach. Things work as you’d expect them to in an IM client. Clicking on someone’s portrait enters their username into the compose field, so that you’re automatically having a conversation with that person. Ongoing conversations between others are highlighted (orange, by default) and stand out from the rest of your stream.
For my purposes, and I suspect for a lot of other web workers, Twitt just isn’t powerful enough to play with the big boys. But it does have the advantage of being free and easy to learn if you’re just starting out. Once you get your sea legs, however, I highly recommend stepping up to Tweetie or TweetDeck.
Which desktop Twitter client are you using, and why?