Twitter aficionados are split between desktop tweeters and iPhone twits. On the desktop we’ve been using TweetDeck. It’s the Microsoft Office of Twitter applications, with tools that enable you to stream various feeds into columns: your default feed, lists, search and @replies. It’s powerful voodoo.
On the iPhone, Tweetie has proved more popular. With many similar features, it’s more compact, nicer to look at, and the single column layout is ideal for the iPhone’s screen. (Confusingly, the iPhone app has been renamed Twitter since being bought by Twitter itself, but the desktop version remains Tweetie for now. For more on that read the blog at atebits.com.) So, how does the desktop version measure up? We first started wondering this as TweetDeck once again began wheezing under the strain of too many API calls, grinding to a halt a few moments later.
The answer is it’s pretty ace. Much more streamlined than the bloated TweetDeck, it handles the single column format by a system of notifications. If you get new replies, direct messages or updates to your main feed, a little blue dot appears next to the appropriate icon. Hitting Command-N pops up a Tweet window when you feel you have something to say. And for those of you juggling multiple personalities (as we sometimes must), Tweetie supports multiple accounts. There’s a keyboard shortcut to switch between them too, which makes being duplicitous so much easier.
User management is good too. Click on a username, and you can quickly flick through their timeline, direct message them, or read their replies. ‘Quickly’ is the keyword here. Tweetie feels much faster than the sluggish, Adobe AIR-based TweetDeck – a notorious resource hog.
There are a couple of features we miss. You can only have one search column active at a time and it would be nice to have a built-in people search too. Overall, though, Tweetie is far less lightweight on the Mac than we expected.