Tweetdeck rules — that is all

by Mathew on January 10, 2009 · 15 comments

Mike Arrington has a post up at TechCrunch about a Twitter client called Tweetvisor, which he says is “a contender for best alternate Twitter interface” (next the to the Web interface, presumably). I had a look, but like my friend Mark Evans — who wrote a post on his Twitterrati blog — I was underwhelmed by Tweetvisor’s interface. It might be handy to be able to manage multiple Twitter accounts, I suppose (although who needs to do that? people with multiple personalities? marketing people, I assume), but I couldn’t see much else that was all that compelling.

Like a lot of people, I try almost every Twitter client and interface that comes down the pike — I try out beta versions of things the way some women I know like to shop for shoes. I started with Twhirl, which I quite liked, and I’ve tried gTwitter on Ubuntu and accessing my Twitter account through Digsby and other chat clients, and I’ve used Twitterlicious and Twitterfox and Twitterific on the iPhone (a great mobile client). But in my opinion there is nothing — so far — that even comes close to Tweetdeck.

When I first tried it, the Tweetdeck interface looked too cluttered to me, with multiple panes and buttons and so on, but it’s a lot simpler than I thought, and it’s extremely customizable. I have five panes open at a time (but they scroll from left to right, so you don’t have to see them all at once): I have the people I follow, then I have all the @ replies to me, then direct messages in another pane. And then I have a group that I’ve created to track specific people — one of the key features that I like about Tweetdeck — and finally a pane with a Twitscoop.com search-keyword cloud.

As a journalist, I’m not just trying to keep up with what my friends are doing (although that’s a big part of the appeal of Twitter). I’m also looking for links to newsworthy things, and following what people are talking about to see if it merits a story or a link somewhere, and the Twitscoop pane in particular is invaluable for that. When the bombings occurred in Mumbai, I saw tweets about it, but I also saw the keyword getting bigger and bigger in the Twitscoop cloud, which meant lots of people were mentioning it.

When you add the ability to customize groups — and add people to groups with a single click — as well as do searches, shorten URLs with multiple shortening services, and all the usual features like the ability to re-tweet, favourite and direct message and so on, you have a pretty feature-packed app. I suppose someone might come along with something better, but until then Tweetdeck is the king of the hill as far as I’m concerned, and that’s why I’ve been telling every journalist I work that if they’re serious about Twitter as a social-media tool they need to download and install it.

  • http://stu2tech.blogspot.com chacha102

    I found TweetDeck to be failure when it no longer refreshed my All Friends feed. For some reason it just didn't want to and said update disabled, when I never told it to disable, and it clearly has enough API calls. Reinstalled, and nothing changed,

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    Have to say I haven't had any problems like that. In fact, I've been using it for a couple of months now and never had any issues with that kind of thing at all.

  • http://chacha102.com chacha102

    I do have to say though that it is a very nice way to keep track on many
    search results. I loved watching all the people posting about the Crunchies
    last night.

  • http://www.hypercrit.net Michael Becker

    Tweetdeck rules. Agreed.

    Second comment on your blog for me today. Sorry to “spam” you like that, but it's a good read. I'll be following in the future.

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    Thanks, Michael.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=764938030 Nelu Lazar

    Matthew, thanks for the article. The initial slogan for Tweetvisor was “For bloggers, journalists, media and other Twitter-phobics”, then I've changed it to what it is today. The reasons for both slogans are (1) the search box in the middle of the screen and (2) the feature that allows tweeters to save favorite Twitter search queries, some of them so complex anybody can forget. Like “gaza filter:links”, “tweetvisor :(“, “macbook -air ? filter:links” and so on. After saving these search queries, Tweetvisor starts looking for new tweets about each of these topics and announces the tweeter how hot they are by sorting them in the search box, ordered descendant by the number of found tweets. So if “tweetvisor :(” will be a hot topic at some point in time, the tweeter will notice it because it will be placed in the top of the favorite topics list. And there is another reason why Tweetvisor has been created, but it was not implemented yet. It is for a good cause as well.

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    Thanks, Nelu. Don't get me wrong — I think Tweetvisor has a lot of great features. I just prefer Tweetdeck as an all-around interface, that's all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=760390458 Joseph Thornley

    I agree that TweetDeck is the best Twitter interface yet. Like you, I keep multiple columns open. The most useful is a twitter search on my user name, “thornley.” Not because I'm vain. But so that I can be aware of all references to me that pop up when I'm offline. And this enables me to respond to people who continue conversations involving me. I've found people appreciate a response, even if it's hours late.

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    That's a great point, Joe — and a great use of Tweetdeck.

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