I am going spin this a bit for two reasons:
- There are too many clients to produce quality review covering most of them.
- My feelings for current state of clients for Twitter are very far from positive.
So what makes good micro blogging client and why there aren’t any?
Twitter updates come in form of timeline. Recent stuff is close and visible, older stuff is pushed into oblivion. It works great if you are only interested in fresh updates, what if you are interested in all of them?
I just woke up and I want to know what my contacts had tweeted in last few hours. That’s not how Twitter is supposed to be used, you say? Well that’s how I want to use it. I care about information from hour ago as much as from minute ago. Passing time doesn’t make it less valuable.
Twitter clients replicate timeline instead of expanding it. Twitter paradigm is fixed on official site. It doesn’t have to be fixed in third party clients but it is.
- I want an insight-capable tool.
- I get pretty copies of what official web-site can do anyway.
Simple and flexible nature of Twitter allowed rapid progress of user extensions. Most notable are re-tweets and hash tags. Both give you glimpses of content outside of your network.
Official Twitter ignores user extensions. It is consistent with focusing on core function and creates open field for clients to fill the gap. Clients fill the gap by adding re-tweet button (to save few clicks) and some are even powerful enough to link hash tag to Twitter search.
- I want a tool capable of looking outside of my network as easily as inside.
- I get tiny, hard to press buttons and links to search tool (I don’t need client to use).
Twitter updates are simple, however they have excellent metadata:
- time when update was made;
- client update was made with;
- person and tweet replies are made to.
Twitter stuffs these in same timeline paradigm – how long ago, etc. These can be used in extremely creative ways. Show me what my contacts tweeted this morning (their morning, not mine). Show me who is torturing his iPhone on the go, show me who is sitting at desktop with cup of tea. Show me if person threw update in a hurry or ready to reply and talk.
- I want a tool that improves factor of being aware about people around.
- I get copy/paste function from native site (at best).
Twitter updates are same in form but different in content and purpose:
- information sharing;
- offline events coverage;
- syndication of other services;
- and much more.
So why are so excitingly various things brutally lumped together?
- I want a tool that can pick apart going to shower and trying new software.
- I get timeline (again).
Twitter API allows easy client development. Which leads to using high-level frameworks. Which leads to unreadable and inflexible resource hogs.
Twitter clients like bright glossy looks (good for hype and screenshots) and user has no say here. They are not shy to consume hundred megabytes of memory to display half page of text. They favor rows of tiny buttons that can be lost under mouse cursor and require a lot of hovering for tooltips all the time.
- I want fast, portable tool with customizable (if not fitting my taste) looks;
- Most of those can’t even change damn text font size.
Am I being overly negative? Some Twitter clients work just fine for me:
- I am happy with simple and effective Mauku on N810;
- Opera widget saves me browser tab;
- twhirl is not too bad at home desktop.
But am I finding innovative, awesome clients that bring my Twitter experience to next level? Nope.