Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tweetdeck vs the Competition

I’m a fairly avid Twitter user but Twitter’s app sucks. No, it really does. If you look at what others have done with the Twitter API, the folk at Twitter should hang their heads in shame. Hopefully it’s because they’re trying to improve the stability of their feed, but maybe they don’t care. They know they’ve got a winner on their hands, and with current valuations at anything from $250m to $500m, maybe they’re just propping it up until they can make it Google’s problem.

My first choice option to the standard Twitter UI is Tweetdeck. After Twitter themselves, Tweetdeck is the 2nd most popular Twitter client after Twitter themselves. I love Tweetdeck, but there is some serious competition, and everyone should be aware of their options.

First off, there’s the newly released Seesmic Desktop

Like Tweetdeck, the Seesmic Desktop is an Adobe AIR application that works as a standalone app on your desktop. Also like Tweetdeck, Seesmic offers the ability to create groups of followers, and then open individual columns for those groups. This is a killer feature, and is the main reason I use Tweetdeck. Tweetdeck’s reaction has been immediate, and their Beta version 0.25 has been rolled out.

This offers a few enhancements, like previewing of TwitPic images, previewing of shortened URL’s, and, most importantly of all, access to your Facebook feed (a trial version of this was available previously as a special download). Seesmic have promised to roll out additional Social Network access, including Facebook, Digg, Identica, Ping.FM and FriendFeed.

The race for control of your desktop client is on, and we, the consumers, will be the winners.

However, there’s an important player in this segment that appears to be very much overlooked; Tweetvisor

Tweetvisor doesn’t even appear on the list of The Top 21 Twitter Clients (According To TwitStat). There’s one big difference between Tweetvisor and the abovementioned apps. Tweetvisor works in your browser. And what does this mean to you? Well, you can log in at home, work, or anywhere in the world, and have all your groups intact (yes, Tweetvisor also offers groups, in the form of tags that can be added to anyone you follow). To me this is a huge plus, and one of the problems I have with Tweetdeck. But Tweetdeck uses the full screen, corner to corner, you may argue. Well, if you give Google Chrome a try, you'll find an option that allows you to create appliation shortcuts. Using this, you're able to open any web page full size; no tabs, URL's or toolbars in the way.

Tweetvisor has recently added a new UI that looks very similar to Tweetdeck, and there are 3 columns, for DMs, Replies, and your live feed. This last column can be switched between all friends, or one of your groups. There are also shortcuts to hot topics (a specified search), Tweets about yourself, and many more. I’ve been told that the option to add additional columns is on the to do list, and this would be the cherry on top for what is already an awesome option, and one that I’m using more and more. Give it a try.

Thanks for reading.