The Twitter globe won’t stop expanding anytime soon. It only takes a quick observation of the fine print underneath each of the tweets to reach the conclusion that the applications for accessing and managing Twitter accounts are growing by the minute. The question is, which Twitter client is the one you should be using? Like anything else, it’s a matter of what features you require, and which application you’re most comfortable with.
Generally speaking, the Twitter clients are divided into four main categories:
- Desktop applications: Software that is installed on your local machine, allowing you to access and organize your tweets easily. Usually very customizable. Example include TweetDeck (which I have previously reviewed), Nambu, and Seesmic (which I take a closer look at below)
- Web applications: Those are websites that store all of your needs online, meaning you can access from any computer with an internet connection, and be able to manage your accounts entirely online. Check out my post on HootSuite
- Mobile applications: At first overlooked, but now very few could argue that the powerful community lifting Twitter is doing so thanks to the numerous applications offering them full access from their cell phones and hand-held devices. There’s Tweets60, Tweetie and Twibble, to name a few
- Extensions and Plugins: There are dozens of very powerful Firefox extensions, as well as libraries or WordPress plugins all aiming at integrating Twitter’s services with other websites and applications. They don’t usually offer the full features that you would find via their desktop counterparts, but get the job done nonetheless
One of the Twitter clients that has stood out and reached millions of Twitterers worldwide is Seesmic. Just like TweetDeck, Seesmic is a free AIR application that can run on any of the operating systems. In fact, it is very comparable to TweetDeck as they both offer many of the same features, it’s the little things that separate them.
Note: The video talks about version 0.4. The latest release, at the time of writing, is 0.6, but the points raised in the video still apply.
Seesmic can be used to manage multiple Facebook and Twitter accounts, but it is safe to assume that the huge majority of users are operating the French invention exclusively for a single Twitter account. Within the same window, you can create your columns based on the groups of people, as well as hash tags, that you would like to follow. Handling tweets is a breeze, and a URL shortner, tweet shrinker and image uploader are all natively integrated. It is an exceptional Twitter experience on a large display.
When comparing to TweetDeck, the following are the differences and thus, the advantages. But then again, it is a matter of personal preference:
- Resizeable Columns: In TweetDeck you have the option of wide or narrow columns. In Seesmic, however, they are dynamically-sized to take advantage of the full screen, and each column can be dragged to the preferred width
- Notifications’ Options: You can control how long the notification lasts, and whether or not it is accompanied with sound. Personally, a one-second notification is more than enough, and the fine line between a short message to let you know of something, and an obnoxious whiner that drags forever is only two seconds wide
- Fixed Single/Multiple Columns: You can have the window be the exact width of the “Home” column showing all of the tweets. Alternatively, you can choose to keep the home fixed, and have the remaining scroll horizontally behind it
Unfortunately, there are a couple of points that might push people away from the Twitter client. The first is the difficulty in which users can add Twitterers to favorite groups. When you create a group, you have to go to one of the desired person’s tweets, click on the options icon, and add him or her to the list.
The second issue, which is also found in TweetDeck, or any AIR application for that matter, is the lack of support for Arabic and non-traditional languages. This is obviously a huge drawback, and it seems that, on a Mac, a web application is the only way around the lack of Arabic support. Perhaps Adobe will upgrade their runtime to allow for Arabic and Asian scripts, but in the meantime, if the majority of the people you’re following tweet in Arabic, you are better off going “web” and using an online application, such as HootSuite.
Otherwise, a neat AIR application that it light-weight, easy to use, and gets the job done. And comfortably so.