**Update October 6th, 2009 – A newer and up to date version of this blog post: Seesmic vs. TweetDeck – choosing your Twitter desktop client, revisited
I’ve been using Twhirl for few month now and I decided giving another Twitter desktop client application a chance. I picked TweetDeck and now I have them both running side by side on my laptop – lots of interruptions (but not for long).
For the Twitter users who did not choose yet a Twitter client application here is my report. By the way I can’t see myself using the Twitter web application. When I’m using Twitter I need it here and now:)
I will only describe the differences, feature-wise, between the two applications. You can assume the rest to be the same.
Features that are in TweetDeck and not in Twhirl:
- Trending topics – TweetDeck is using TwitScoop for that. I think that this is a great feature that can help following Twitter rapidly changing agenda in near real-time
- Integration with 12 seconds – not a deal breaker for me
- Multiple views – All tweets, Replies and Direct messages, TwitScoop in the same window – this is true if you maximize the screen – I have few more application running on my computer so this does not work for me. I was not a fan of the sliding sub windows also.
- Grouping – it took me some time to understand how it works and the value of this feature. Maybe “Groups” is misnomer and it should be called TweetView or View. This feature allows you to create a new sub window (I think that tabs should work better in this case) watching tweets from only subset of the people that you follow on Twitter. I liked this feature but the window real-estate management should be fixed.
- Mark as read – this sounds like a good idea yet Twitter is too fast for me to start chasing tweets marking them as read. Twhirl has mark all as read – I don’t use it either.
- Search – This is not just user search but a full search engine like Twitter Search (aka Summize) so it is really cool. TweetDeck also kept monitoring the search term as long as the search result window is open – like RSS feed. I have the same complain here: if there is no room for the search result window it will be shoved all the way to the right and be hidden until you scroll for it . I first thought that the search did not work.
- Timeframe – you can control the timeframe up to 48 hours
Features that are in Twhirl and not in TweetDeck
- Multiple accounts – a window per each – this is a deal breaker for me I need a client for both my personal account @kerendg and my other @BlogMon account (for a small mashup application that I wrote).
- FriendFeed client – I can get my FriendFeed updates using Twhirl – this is a deal breaker
- Twhirl support also Seesmic, Identi.ca, and Laconi.ca – I have a Sessmic account but I’m not so much of a vloger.
- Friends/followers view – you can see the list of all your friends and followers with some of their profile details
- Window organization – it is amazing how much functionality and information is condensed in such a small window’s area. It is not all out there like in TweetDeck but is is very close and does not take a lot of space on my desktop.
- Favorite – I did not find the favorite view on TweetDeck it is available on Twhirl. I don’t use it much but I think that others do. Maybe we will see someday a Twitter public favorites section, keeping good tweets for the long run shared by multiple twitter users. Twittelicius?
- Elaborate configurations – Twhirl offers setting multiple preferences for the client window behavior and visual effects. It provides multiple configurations around notifications and the API usage.
Performance – both applications perform well getting tweets to my desktop and notifying me about the message arrival and type (tweet, reply or direct message). It did feel like Twhirl was more responsive to my clicks than TweeDeck.
I liked the capability seeing the Trending Topics and to able searching right there using TweetDeck. I also think that creating different views has value (e.g. one for the people I usually interact with and one for the rest). Yet, till I can run multiple Twitter account I’m still a Twhirl fan. I also recommend TweetDeck rethinking their windows layout. Maybe tabs inside multiple sub windows.
I hope that you’ll find this information useful choosing your Twitter desktop client.
Inspired by Being John Malkovich movie
Context: The objective of this fictional short story is not to share my wannabe ambitions (guilty) but to emphasize closeness and influence. In my opinion as we adopt social media tools for personal and work objectives we can get closer as if we share a single mind powered by many brains. Communication between people is a miracle. An effective communication between individuals is a phenomenon. Today, communication on the web happens more frequently than ever before.
Some bloggers influence so many of us that it is possible to recognize their tone of voice and content from other corners of the web. There is nothing wrong about it since these voices are on the good side of the fence, leading the way. It could be yet another form of closeness – identifying with.
Being Chris Brogan – the story
Blogmon, the application that I built for monitoring Technorati ranks progress over time, was acting all week long. The numbers where all over the place. The tracing shows lots of errors coming from Technorati web service. I was getting a little agitated and finally when I started seeing weird rank numbers I decided to pay the web site a visit. I decided to look at the Top 100 blogs page first. As I was scrolling down just above the 8th blog from the top (Official Google Blog) and below the 7th place (Ars Technica) there was an additional narrow but obvious blank line. The distance between the two blogs seems off. Then I felt my hand suddenly moving the mouse as if I have no control over it, and as the cursor was hovering over this blank space I noticed that a yellow small font text become visible. The mouse cursor was now away so the text become invisible again. This time I moved the mouse intentionally and kept the cursor on the yellow text. To my astonishment the text in yellow and italic font said: 7.5. “Chris Brogan life-stream portal”. With a shaking right finger I clicked the link. Suddenly the bluetooth light at the bottom right end corner of my laptop flashed with purple light. The Wireless Network Connection icon at the task bar started blinking and Technorati page turned pitch black. I was sure I was attacked by an extremely powerful and distractive virus. After few seconds sitting frozen on my chair with what that looked like a turned off computer I touched (hesitantly) the laptop mouse touchpad.
The computer slowly turned on but the feel was as if I’m controlling another computer through remote access. It is more accurate to say that I was not really in control at that time, someone else was moving the mouse and clicking on all sort of desktop objects and I was only the observer. That got me even more paranoid thinking about worms and other goodies from the world wide web – why did I clicked the obviously suspicious link?? Just as I was about to go to the Start button (I run XP on my laptop) to shutdown the computer I noticed that it was running Mac OS. More than that I noticed that I was starring at Chris Brogan blog while someone was answering multiple comments using the @mrX and @msY notation. I did not know what to do so I just sat there and watched the hectic activity, after few minutes I could only reach one conclusion. I’m watching thee one at work. That’s when I decide to un-mute my laptop speakers. A soft voice speaking almost without taking a breath started coming through the speakers. “25 ways to help the world using social media”, “50 ways to find your destiny using your blog”, “how to show your appreciation to the community”. Now, I was really freaked out!! I’m not just watching him I’m inside his brain!!!.
But before I had the time to digest all of this, a new window popped up and I could recognized Twhirl the Twitter Desktop client. The mouse clicked first the @ button looking for recent replies (there were 6 new ones) then the envelop button (there where 300 direct messages – poor guy). I could now hear the answers before they were typed although the typing followed in a speed that I did not even know possible. I or Chris or both started answering to some of the Twitter replies from @cspenn, @jeffpulver, and @jowyang. I haven’t touched my mouse now for more than 12 minutes but it felt like my brain was carried for a ride as if it was co-pilot on a combat jet plan.
Twhirl through Twitter sent us following several links recommended by friends, fans and followers. We left a couple of comments here and there (backtype helps to refresh my memory). We shouted out other’s Tweets to share the sharable. Then after 20 minutes I got a “network failure” message. The OS changed back to Windows and the browser was loading one of those splog that copies other people work using a bot, planted with lots of AdSense ads all around - a real beauty. It was then 2am and my brain was shut. I closed the computer and went to bed.
Tomorrow I will try and see if I can join the cognitive flow and shout out some of my favorite blog posts on Twitter… I heard that when Chris does it, it could do miracle to the web-site traffic:)