Apart from tweeting from the Web, I’ve used Twitterfox, Twhirl and Tweetdeck and so far Tweetdeck is the best Twitter client for me. If you only follow a dozen of people, the first two are more than enough, but it’s become increasingly difficult for me to follow all the conversations going on between my almost 350 friends, most of whom are the most active tweeters on earth (See Twitterati.Alltop, I followed all of them) . That’s where TweetDeck shines.
As the HP Lab’s Twitter research has pointed out:
Most users have a smaller inner circle they communicate with: Within a social network, it was found that most only frequently communicate with a small segment of users –even if one has a large community. Makes sense, everyone has an ‘inner circle’. Finding the true network that an individual has (even if they have thousands of “friends”) is what’s really important. Although Scoble solicits imput from thousands of contacts, he leans on a smaller subset of folks to trust above all others.
I’m no exception. Even though I want to follow all the things going on in the Twitterville, I do want to maintain constant communication with the buddies in Vietnam, which became impossible due to too much noise. So how does Tweetdeck help me communicate with them? Take a look at the screenshot below:
TweetDeck is divided into different columns. You can have as many as you want. The first column is the “All Tweet”, which updates everything people in my network are talking about. The second one is “@Replies”, the forth one is “Direct Messages” and the third one is “Group”, which is exactly what I’ve been looking for.
With the Group feature, I now can add individual tweeters to a specific group, for example “Vietnam” for those who live in Vietnam, or simply “Friends” for people who really matter to me. By having different groups for different people, now it’s become much easier to follow the discussions. Noise is completely filtered out while at the same time I can still keep track of the “All Tweets”.
One huge advantage of TweetDeck over Twitterfox and Twhirl is that it archives much more tweets so I can go to bed without worrying about falling behind with the rest of the world. It means waking up and reading every tweet that has been archived.
TweetDeck also allows me to monitor certain keywords using “Search” columns, which work exactly like Twitter Search. This is extremely important when you follow 10000 followers and really cannot keep up with the pace Keywords are king. More importantly, you can see up to 100 results at any given time, which I consider better than the web search!
Twitscoop, or “what’s hot on Twitter right now”, is embedded too. It lists a bunch of popular tags and trending topics on Twitter, though the trending topics are quite different than those appear on the Web search (?).
TweetDeck cannot get away with criticism though:
- If size matters to you, Tweetdeck may not be for you. For Linux and Mac users, we can simply dedicate a seperate desktop to the client and rotate the 3-D cube (which is nice) when we want to get tweet updates. Or you can click on the “One Column” button to make it slim, but you have to scroll a lot more.
- The notification sound is terrible. Twhirl’s is much better. However, having sound notifications every one minute is quite a disruption . I disabled it altogether.
- Vietnamese accents won’t display with the default font. Go to “Settings” –> “Colors/Fonts” and choose “International Font/Twitterkey” instead of “Original Font”. Even though it displays Vietnamese correctly, it doesn’t look as nice as the original font. What a tradeoff!
- If you start Grouping people right after installation, some friends may not be indexed. I didn’t understand why this happened to me but eventually when you see someone tweet, you can add them by editing the group list. You should group people after a while to allow TweetDeck to index everyone.
- Tweets in different column don’t sync very well. @Replies often appear later when people tweet you.
Other than that, I find TweetDeck a very valuabe companion, which will run permenantly on my computer, unless something better emerges.