Mac Twitter App Round Up

I am starting to lose all hope that Tweetie for the Mac will ever be updated. I started a search to find something new, to see if anything out there is better than the rapidly aging Tweetie for Mac. Here is what I found…

Kiwi 2

Kiwi 2 is an exercise in letting the user pick a theme, while ripping off only the worst parts of Tweetie. It leaves you with a confusing and ugly interface. I don’t like to say bad things about products that people clearly took time and effort to build, but this needs a ground up redesign. The ‘compose’ window is a rip off of Tweetie, yet it is 18 times uglier, that top bar for instance is on steroids. The navigation bar is confusing, trying to follow a new user is too difficult. The ads are implemented poorly and look like they are from 2002 instead of 2011.

You get a rule system where you can define actions that Kiwi should take given parameters you set, which is neat. This works as a way of filtering out, say, Instagram tweets. A pretty neat feature but I would rather just unfollow someone instead of filtering tweets that I see.

The tab system it uses makes absolutely no sense. If I have the Brooks Review tab open and I go to close that tab Kiwi will delete that account from the app. This is not a convenient feature – this is stupid, I can’t fathom why you would want a quick way of deleting an account. Tabs are fine, but honestly why make them closeable if that is not the intended use of tabs? If I want to view the icons across the top in ‘text only’ 1 view to save space and clean up the UI, I can, but the minute I click on one text view goes away. Oops.

No, thanks. 2

Tweetdeck

When I first started using Twitter this is what I used. I went to give it another run through, but you needed Flash to install it, I don’t have Flash installed in Safari. That is the precise point that I remembered it runs on Adobe’s Air platform. So I just looked at the screenshots and decided: no way.

Ok that is not fair, I installed it using Chrome and updated Air on my machine and added an account. Then I sent a tweet from it, then I deleted it from my MacBook Air.

Thoroughly tested.

It really is just ugly and very overwhelming to use, not for me in any way. On the plus side I don’t hate the icon. Tweetdeck has gained new features since I last used it, but it is still the same cluttered Windows inspired app that it was back when I started with Twitter. The sad thing is I know so many people that use it, I wish they knew better.

Echofon

Within the first ten-seconds of running this app I started to like it. It was recommended to me by Justin Blanton and I can see why he uses it. Echofon, unlike Kiwi, takes a lot of the good design cues from Tweetie. I really do like Echofon a lot and think that it has some really great things going for it.

Did you know that Echofon will position sync with the iOS apps, thus keeping you right where you left off on all your devices? That is pretty damn cool. I particularly like the design of the top bar and how you compose a new tweet.

What I really didn’t like is how you switch between accounts, the inactive account kinda gets forgotten in the UI especially if you don’t look at your dock. There needs to be better indication of the fact that you are running multiple accounts, and it would be nice to get a better more Tweetie like direct message view. That said this app doesn’t lack on keyboard shortcuts and has some nice OS integrations like adding the current Safari pages URL in the compose window.

If there is one thing I hate about the app it is the you must view Tweets with a username instead of the real name field – people pick stupid Avatars and stupid usernames that confuse the stupid out of me. 3

Nambu

Kept breaking and crashing when I tried to switch views… the app is really not usable. At least on my machine.

Twitterrific

Free version has only one account supported 4 and the app acts more like a desktop widget and not so much an app. That means that by default it sits on top of everything else and yet it feels like something to keep you up to date, not something you should be interacting with. The way the app was designed is very different from all other Twitter apps I tried. I don’t dislike it, but I also don’t like it very much – Twitterrific just does not fit my workflow and how I integrate Twitter on my Mac.

Having said that it is an interesting option and I urge you to try it out at least once to see if it is something that fits with your workflow.

Hibari

I need to start by saying that the icon for Hibari is the worst one of the lot. Hibari is not for me, it is a one Twitter account type of app (meaning you can’t have multiple accounts with it). If you are the type that is not that active on Twitter this would be a fantastic little app for you. I would bet that I would find it very serviceable if I could get some extra accounts going, until then it won’t work for me.

Like with Kiwi you can ‘mute’ certain tweets. Unlike Kiwi it looks damn nice. After the lack of multiple Twitter accounts my biggest complaint is the ‘new tweet’ area – it isn’t ugly, but it does look like the developer just gave up when it came time to make this.

This is a nice little minimal app though.

Verdict

Tweetie still wins, and do you want to know why? Aside from Tweetdeck and Twitterrific, the others are just crappy knockoffs of Tweetie. Now for me (for now) Tweetie and DMs are still working, when that stops I am all over Echofon, at which point I may also cry. 5

If you are trying to figure out which app to use and you have never used Tweetie then get Echofon because at least then you know it will work. Oh, that and you know that you won’t fall in love with an app that seems forgotten.

[Updated: 12/1/10 at 6:35 AM]

I forgot to add Itsy to the list of apps I tried. I don’t have much to say about it other than it is not the type of app I am looking for. It takes up minimal space and gives you minimal options (only one account). It is nice looking, but not great looking.

  1. Something I commonly do with apps like Mail
  2. The app icon is ugly too, but I feel bad enough about trashing this app already.
  3. Hat trick
  4. I could not find if the paid version was any different.
  5. Because I miss Tweetie, not because of Echofon.
Originally posted for members on: December 1, 2010
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