Most users of Twitter will likely access Twitter for their first tweet using a simple web client (i.e by going to www.twitter.com, creating a user account, and then posting (Twitting) via the web page. This is perhaps the simplest and most common way to post to Twitter, however, many users quickly find that they want to enhance their twitter experience and become more productive, thus the need for third party Twitter clients. For developers, Twitter provides an open API enabling you to develop add-on applications that interact with twitter – see http://apiwiki.twitter.com/
Locating a Twitter client is no small task as there are likely hundreds of options available to the user. The Twitter user can select one or many clients to use, typically determined by the operating system being used – many popular clients exist for PC, Mac, and mobile users (we’ll focus on the PC user in this example). Perhaps the fastest way to get an idea what clients are available for use is to see what other are using. If you look at a Twitter post from anyone you will notice that below the actual tweet there is always a final line (differentiated by smaller, gray text) revealing the time the tweet was made (i.e 20 minutes ago) and how it was posted or via which client( i.e “from web” or “from Tweetie”). The disclaimer “from Tweetie” tells you that the author created and posted his/her Tweet using the iPhone Twitter client, Tweetie. Something that is very useful is that the client is hyperlinked to a page where more information about that application can be found.
1. TweetDeck http://tweetdeck.com/
Perhaps one of the most well known third-party Twitter clients, Tweetdeck is a stand-alone, Adobe Air powered application. USers can easily manage multiple Twitter profiles, create groups (i.e group followers into categories like celebrities, sports, techie etc…) , follow custom searches and even integrate with facebook. Tweetdeck also enables users to create short, web friendly urls and also preview short urls prior to clicking.
At the time of writing, Tweetdeck was in public Beta and the company also has available a mobile client for iPhone users, see http://tweetdeck.com/iphone/
With TweetDeck anyone can tweet like a Pro. Customise your Twitter experience with columns, groups, saved searches and automatic updates helping you to effortlessly stay updated with the people and topics you care about. See what people are saying about you and join the conversation by tweeting, sharing photos, videos or links directly from TweetDeck. We like to think of it as air traffic control for Twitter. Connect with your Facebook friends directly from TweetDeck by updating your Facebook status, following what your friends are doing and seeing when they’re available to chat.
Twitter Address – @tweetdeck
Web – www.tweetdeck.com
Blog – http://tweetdeck.posterous.com
email – email@example.com
Seesmic is another fine, popular, Adobe Air application that enables users to be very productive. Seesmic is a fine choice for any corporate Tweeter that has a need tyo manage and maintain multiple Twitter accounts. Users have quick access to all configured accounts (setup is very simple) and can quickly post a tweet to one or all accounts in one step. Windows are tiled horizontally enabling views of multiple twitter streams, additionally, you can easily create and store keyword searches, view all tweets that have been @replied or direct messaged to the account holder. Perhaps most interesting to users of Seesmic is the ability to create groups (group followers of similar interests) and also to connect to facebook for quick status updates. The Seesmic application is available for free download as a stand-alone desktop application (I like to float a seesmic window in the background for fast access) or as a web service accessible via login from a web client. Seesmic users on the go will appreciate the Seesmic iPhone client for mobile access.
Twitter Address – @askseesmic
Web – www.seesmic.com
Blog/Wiki – http://wiki.seesmic.com/index.php/SeesmicAPI
email – firstname.lastname@example.org
3. PeopleBrowsr http://www.peoplebrowsr.com/
Billed as a virtual dashboard, PeopleBrowsr adds powerful functionality to your fingertips. Much more than a Twitter client, this application puts your favorite social streams in one place for rapid access. The application boasts support for Twitter, facebook, YouTube, friendfeed, flickr, Seesmic, and more! Accessible over the web from any Internet client, PeopleBrowsr brings oodles of functionality to the user including my PB (a multi network dashboard in lite or advanced flavors), a Live Search (search Twitter, Friendfeed, facebook), a HotLists utility for following popular topics and trends, News browser for following hot news topics, and a Conference browser for following your favorite event hashtag. Something of interest to the corporate user is the MArketing tool provided which enables users to easily track trends and conversations about their brand… doesn’t everyone want to know what others are saying about them? To use the marketing tool simply enter your keyword (like a corporate name or brand) then sit back and watch what’s being said. Under the topic of very cool, you can then tag conversations as being positive or negative.
To give you a small sampling of what you can accomplish with PeopleBrowsr, I have 6 accounts currently configured. In one window (stack) I can easily view all tweets from all my accounts that are comingfrom a specific geographic region (for example, within 300 miles of Denver, CO)
PeopleBrowsr is definitely for the “Power” user and not for those users who need to get up and running within seconds and without any effort. Once up and running though, this service provides a powerful tool that should be a must-have for any person charged with many a company’s social media activities. Don’t let that scare you though because the service is offered in Lite, Advanced, and Business flavors.
4. HootSuite www.hootsuite.com
Billed as “The Professional Twitter Client” Hootsuite is a relatively simple to use web service providing a web accessible dashboard to manage your Twitter accounts. This was the first third-party Twitter client that I signed up for with the main purpose of managing multiple Twitter accounts. To get up and running all one needs is to complete a simple registration and then start adding Twitter profile information via their user login. Once multiple accounts are configured the user can easily access their Twitter streams. Personally, I don’t find Hootsuite to be the ideal client for everyday Twitter use, especially for a personal Twitter with relatively heavy activity, however, where HootSuite shines is the ability to schedule Tweets and even better, then providing results of your Twitter activity (imagine, schedule a tweet for early AM and then view the number of direct click-throughs). Another very useful service that hootSuite provides is the ability to integrate RSS feeds into your twitter streams. An example of this would be my GISuser news account on Twitter which pulls content from an RSS feed at 4 hour intervals and automatically tweets the last 2 news/press items posted to that website. Please note that there are limits to the number of RSS feeds that can be connected to an account (a good prevention of spammers)
Overall I would easily suggest HootSuite to the new corporate Twitter user and encourage any user to take advantage of the scheduling and tracking tools!
HootSuite is the ultimate Twitter toolbox. With HootSuite, you can manage multiple Twitter profiles, add multiple editors, pre-schedule tweets, and measure your success. HootSuite lets you manage your entire Twitter experience from one easy-to-use interface. Creating an account is easy. Enter your Twitter username and password, and add a profile for each Twitter account you wish to manage.
5. Twhirl http://twhirl.org
Twhirl is known as “The social software client”
this popular Adobe Air desktop client runs on Windows PC and Mac OS enabling users to connect to Twitter, FriendFeed, and Seesmic accounts among others. Users can easily keep tabs on notifactions and new messages while the application can also provide a handy url shortening service for users (handy since you only have 140 chars). A very cool feature of this service is the ability to integrate with your Ping.fm client – Ping is a very handy utility that enables users to configure access to dozens of social media accounts and post to all in one step. Twhirl
also provides search capabilities via the twitter search utility and has Photo upload provisioning via Twitpic – TwitPic requires no special account access, rather, it accepts uploads via
connecting with your existing Twitter log-in. Users wanting to keep tabs on who’s talking about them or their brand will appreciate the “auto find mentions” provisioning – this will result in a constant list of tweets that are being posted that contain the specified keyword (or your Twitter username). Finally, a useful feature provide by Twhirl is English spell checking… something I could really use ;0)
@askseesmic on twitter
Is your favorite client not listed here?