My brief encounter with Tweetie

twitterI’m new to the Twitter phenomenon and with the small group of friends and other people/companies I follow, I am probably not what you’d call a power user. For one thing, while I can understand the power of the search feature, I still don’t get how you discover breaking news without already knowing about the news… before it breaks?! Anyway, as is typical with anything I do on the Mac I try to test out all the possible software options before deciding on which one suits me. I’m also fickle, so if something better comes along then I have no problems with changing, although there is one proviso… Adobe Air. I don’t currently have Adobe Air installed on my Mac and I don’t plan to any time soon.

tweetie-largeAnyway, there are quite a few Twitter clients for the Mac and the number seems to be growing with the latest big thing  being Tweetie. Now I first became aware of Tweetie when reading TechCrunch and when they start waxing lyrical about a piece of software it’s usually time to sit up and take notice, so when it was released earlier this week I decided to give it a try. Currently my Twitter client of choice is Nambu, but if the Tweetie screenshots were anything to go by then it was already off to a good start – I’m a sucker for a nice interface (I think SnowTape is currently top of my ‘that looks cool!’ list).

With customary ease, Tweetie installs just prompting you for your Twitter username and password before presenting you with a neat list of tweets from people you’re following in what it calls the Timeline window. Icons down the side then let you switch between this view and Replies, Direct Messages and a search function, with slick transitions as you move around. Ok the basic views are there and they look nice, so how about the extras, the productivity features? The first thing I noticed is how nicely Tweetie lets you see tweets from others simply by clicking on their name in a tweet. Their tweets take over the Timeline window from where you can easily choose to interact with them (follow, reply, message) or simply navigate back to your own Timeline, and you can do this from any of the four views that Tweetie offers.

Tweetie also lets you use multiple accounts on Twitter, and while it’s not something I’ve needed I can see just how useful that can be to others. That sort of covers it as far as Tweetie features for viewing goes – so how about posting new tweets? Well again with the slickness you expect from this app, you click on the pen and paper icon bottom left and out pops a floating window ready to receive your 140 characters of wisdom. The first nice touch is that URLs are automatically recognised and it takes just a single click to shorten them using your chosen service. Next up it’s pictures and again it’s comendably easy to add a picture link just by chosing ‘Add image’ and bowsing to the image you want, which is then automaticcaly uploaded to the hosting site you’ve specified in the Preferences.

That pretty much covers it as far as the main features go. The Preferences let you tweak a few settings and set your default services for images and URL shortening and that’s about it. So it covers the basics well and has a pleasant interface that fits in well with the overall Mac OS X feel, but given that they’re asking $14.95 for the version that isn’t ad supported, I can’t help thinking I’d want a few more bells and whistles before parting with my money. Things like:

  • Better notification of unread tweets – like a badge on the dock icon or menu bar showing a number.
  • Audible notification of new tweets.
  • More control over the interface, like a choice of colours or some transparency options perhaps.
  • A way to see a list of links you’ve received in tweets.
  • A way to see who you are following and who’s following you, and a way to group these users.
  • The ability to store searches and come back to them later.
What exactly is the problem?

What exactly is the problem?

I could go on but maybe you get my drift. The final point is an obscure error that’s popped up once or twice and says nothing more than Error (null). I guess it’s still early days for Tweetie and there are still a few ghosts in the machine. So for now I’m sticking with Nambu on my Mac, because while Tweetie probably has a slight edge on having a slick feel to it and will suit a lot of people, Nambu is pretty good looking itself as a Twitter client and has those extra goodies that I use for now. Sure, Nambu doesn’t let you choose from a selection of URL shortening and image hosting services, it just gives you a standard two but I can live with that.

So, Tweetie is still on my list of ones to watch and if it starts to gain features on the Mac platform then maybe I’ll reconsider. But there’s one final confession I should make. The Twitter client on my iPhone is… Tweetie! It just so happens that I only want the basics on my phone and Tweetie is perfect for that.

One Response

  1. Robin

    You don’t share your twitter name.

    I tend to follow people who add value – and your blog on Calgoo Connect has solved a year-long problem for me. I would definitely follow you!

    I’m not much good at RSS feeds – which I know is the solution, unless I can convince you to share your blog updates on twitter.

    Any chance?


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