The eagle-eyed amongst you can’t have failed to notice that Tweetdeck, the old incumbent Twitter client so widely used by social media professionals, has just received a welcome injection of competition from a brand new client called Tweetbot.
Frankly, at this stage, I’d welcome seeing the two duke it out in some kind of self-improving Twitter-client Battle Royale.
Currently in Alpha, and available for free download, it’s pretty clear where Tweetbot gets its inspiration from: Its older competitor.
Tweetdeck, once the best Twitter client for busy social media professionals, clearly decided at some point that all this ‘being useful’ lark was a bit unfashionable, and has spent the last couple of years shooting itself in the foot, ignoring its users suggestions, and has generally shown signs of becoming one enormous fudge-factory.
Tweetdeck was already known to be the memory-resident equivalent of trying to store GTA4 on a pocket calculator: Run Tweetdeck, and everything else suffered. Add to that interminable blank/nonsensical/persistent Adobe Air popups…
…a lack of decent default URL shortening, and general bugginess, and you had a perfect storm.
But we were still willing to put up with all of Tweetdeck’s fault because, with its sheer range of features, Tweedeck was still one of the most capable clients for running social media monitoring from.
However, when Tweetdeck released a new version of its software that was so bad that many users actually chose to downgrade again, it seemed likely that Tweetdeck’s days were numbered unless it brought out some significant improvements. It was only a matter of time before someone familiar with the platform capitalised on Tweetdeck’s weakness and sought to release a program that redressed everyone’s concerns.
So, is it time to be out with the old, in with the new…?
The idea shouldn’t make you as twitchy as you might first think. Tweetbot transparently apes some of the better features of Tweetdeck, (multi-column views, multi-account support). It also adds in a few significant improvements. The ability to side-swipe to see conversations as we’ve seen in iOS is handy…
…as is its search function, which has the option to search people and trends according to a nicely-designed category-view.
And the flexibility to separate individual columns to different parts of the screen is…
…well… I’m sure someone will find a use for that…
It’s also nice to see somebody actually taking the time to develop a native client, rather than lazily adopting a cross-platform platform like Adobe Air. (I’m not a fan. Can you tell?)
Of course, Tweetbot is in Alpha, so it’s not without its problems. If, like me, you run many columns side-by-side, you can’t currently side-scroll through them to reach columns that are off-screen. And if you want to rearrange columns you have to detach them sequentially from right to left, (a most odd feature).
Perhaps more significantly, Tweetbot currently lacks support for Facebook and LinkedIn updates; something I actually miss.
So now I’m stuck on the fence: Stick with bloated, buggy Tweetdeck, or commit to Tweetbot, which is nice and usable, even in Alpha?
Of course, the grass is always greener. As time goes on, we’ll start to notice more things that we don’t like about Tweetbot. But that’s the beauty of Alpha releases. Unlike Tweetdeck which is, apparently, resting on its laurels, Tweetbot is, presumably, eager to please, and at a stage in its life where we can take all of the mistakes made by Tweetdeck, and ask for them to be improved.
Let’s see how the Alpha rides out.