How many ways can one write something in 140 characters or less? It seems more and more these days. As Twitter flits into the lives of just about everyone online, the challenge has been how to manage, organize and keep track of all the short attention span chatter. Initially, there was really just your plain vanilla browser and the Twitter.com website. You created an account, you logged in and you began posting snippets about whatever you could in 140 characters or less. People followed and you followed others. It all quickly became something like managing your email InBox without a lot of order. But this has changed and now Twitter users have many options to manage the micro-blogging tool. These tools give you the ability to better visualize the tweets, search, flag favorites, retweet something, send direct tweets etc.
So here is a brief rundown of a few Twitter applications that you might want to check out. Many of them are Mac apps but this is the platform I compute on so there is a bias here. Still, there are a few cross platform options. Please let me know if there are others I have missed or more options on Windows.
TweetDeck (Mac/PC) – This is the poster child Twitter app that was created with Adobe Air so its a cross platform offering. This app offers configurable multi-pane view of Twitter activity which you can see your friends, create and see groups, see search results, see twitter trends and even load up 12 second videos via 12seconds.tv. It also integrates into your Facebook page for status update monitoring.
TweetDeck for the iPhone – Quickly becoming the favorite Twitter app on the iPhone. Its unique in that it brings the multi column feature to the hand held device which is a nice touch (sorry for the pun).
Seesmic Desktop (Mac/PC) – Another Adobe Air app that is cross platform. Seesmic used to be a poster child for video sharing and posting but it is moving away from this to focus on its Twitter application which as become a favorite. It supports multiple twitter accounts and can hook into Facebook updates. It also supports multiple columns. Still, I find the Adobe Air app interface a little sterile but it works.
Twhirl (Mac/PC) – Another Adobe AIR app that can support multiple Twitter accounts and taps into other social networking sites. I have not experimented too much with Twhirl but it does support multiple accounts and supports various other social networking services. It appears Twhril is also developed by Seesmic.
Tweetie – This was the de facto standard on the iPhone but its losing some ground to the excellent TweetDeck iphone version. In addition, there is a desktop version of Tweetie which is nice, but it can’t display multiple columns of data the way some of the other apps can but it has a slick, modern interface.
Twitterific (Mac) – This was one of the first Mac Twitter apps and its still very good. There is a desktop and iPhone version. Its very minimal (sort of like Twitter!) but people like it because it got a minimal interface and does not distract you (as much).
Nambu (Mac) – This is a nice desktop app that lets you access your multiple Twitter accounts and configure things in one view with multiple columns, including popular posts, Favorites, etc. Nicely done. Early versions had bad memory leaks, but the developer seems to be actively patching these and issuing regular updates.
Beak (Mac) – Beak is fairly new to the Twitter app arena. It has some promise. I have not played around with it too much. The interface is very Mac modern, but it seems to lack some features of the other apps (but it looks nice!).
Twittelator Pro – This is a full featured iphone/ipod Touch only Twitter app that is well polished. If find it a little slower than other Twitter clients, but its got a lot of nice features. Its developed by Stone Design, an experienced and long developer who began developing for the NeXT platform.
Eventbox – EventBox is a great app for managing several different social networking applications such as FaceBook, RSS feeds, Reddit news, Diig, Flickr feeds and more. I like this app and use it fairly often. Its got good potential. The downfall again is that because it taps into multiple services, it does not really shine for any particular one. But if you use multiple services in addition to Twitter, it might work for you.
If I had to go and choose one app for Twitter, I would go with Nambu because its got a Mac like interface, supports multi-column views and multiple accounts. A close second is TweetDeck, but I am still getting used to the Adobe Air interface. I also like Tweetie and it might be included to use it more if it supported multi-column views.
Honorable Mention – Monitter is not a Twitter app but it is a great way to monitor (get it?) multiple Twitter searches. This is a great tool for researching trends on Twitter and covering breaking news or other time sensitive topics. Check it out. Its pretty interesting.
Double Honorable Mention- Twitter is not the only 140 character micro-blogging solution out there. Identi.ca is rapidly gaining some traction and many of the apps above support Identi.ca accounts now. You can go to their website for more info, but its basically similar to Twitter, with one big exception. Its open source unlike Twitter. Also, there is Yammer, a micro-blogging service like Twitter but aimed at the corporate business world.
This should be more than enough to get one Twittering away. And now back to old school blogging… ahh that oh so early 21st century technology equivalent of the chalkboard.