Twitter is great (or is it?), but the basic program really does lack a few things. Thankfully there are plenty of third party developers out there, writing programs to improve upon the Twitter API. A few months ago I asked a good friend, and fellow longtime twitterer @damitjanet for a recommendation for a Twitter client. Twitter’s regular web interface is boring, no-frills, and quite honestly, seems to be plagued by too many people hitting the site. How many times have I tried to log in, only to be told that it’s congested and to try back later? Not good.
I can send and receive messages with my cellphone. That’s fine, but it’s a pretty limiting experience as well. That’s where a Twitter client comes in. Janet recommended that I look at two clients, Seesmic and TweetDeck. A simple search on Google will produce many more possible alternatives, but I decided to trust her. When it comes to the whole social networking media experience, I don’t know if there’s anyone else I trust more. I am credited, though, with introducing her to Twitter years ago, but she took and ran with it big time.
While both programs offer essentially the same thing (a single graphically-enhanced interface to manage all your Twitter accounts <yes, I have more than one>) I didn’t connect with TweetDeck as well as I did Seesmic. It’s hard to really pinpoint what I didn’t like about TweetDeck. There was really nothing wrong with it. I just found it “busy”. I’m sure that you can configure the look and feel of it to suit your own tastes, but as soon as I installed Seesmic, I forgot all about TweetDeck. This is a quick snapshot of what Seesmic looks like on my laptop. You can add columns for Private and Sent messages as well, or focus on only one account at a time.
I did notice something new when I went to download the newest version of Seesmic. There are now two products available (both free, of course). Seesmic for Windows and Seesmic Desktop. The latter one is what I used to have installed, and since it works just fine for Windows, I wasn’t sure what the Seesmic for Windows was all about. They claim that this one “provides the best user experience for Twitter on Windows”, while Seesmic Desktop seems to be for Twitter and/or Facebook. I don’t really notice any difference at all, except in one category. You can’t see it in the screen shot because I blocked the Private message column, but the Seesmic Desktop version would show me quite clearly in the private message section who my outgoing message was sent to. I don’t see that at all in this version, and it’s very annoying. I can see who sent me a message, but I can’t tell who my outgoing message was sent to. That’s fine unless I’m going back and looking at older messages and am not quite sure who I sent something to. I’d have to log into Twitter through the web and check my sent items there (everything synchs up between the client and your online Twitter account). It’s not a huge deal, but unless I’m missing something, I really hope that they fix it in the next release.
So if you’re looking for a way to group your different Twitter accounts together into one easy to use interface, or you’re simply looking for a more graphical Twitter experience, I highly recommend ditching Twitter.com and going with a client, whether Seesmic, TweetDeck, or any of the others out there. And, as always, I’d be curious to hear people’s thoughts of any clients that they’ve tried. What worked? What didn’t?