Notes from the leadership journey!

Twitter Web Apps

I wrote a week ago that I had recently started using Twitter, a micro-blogging service (posts are limited to 140 characters).

Since I started using Twitter, I’ve been comparing options for using Twitter (view my Twitter page here). So, for the benefit of people who may be searching for other alternatives, I thought I’d post my experiences so far.

Twitter users can post comments (“tweets”) to their Twitter page from various sources — Twitter.com itself, or via computer software clients, mobile phone and wireless device software applications, as well as web applications/interfaces.

Since the Twitter interface is pretty basic, many users look for alternatives that offer more features and functionality, either in software applications or other web app/interfaces.

In the last month I have tried out a number of different web interfaces. There were a few things I looked for: (1) Functionality, (2) User-Friendliness, and (3) Style/Design (in fact, I’d normally choose a basic site that looks appealing over a more powerful site that doesn’t).

After checking out a number of different sites/interfaces, here are some (very) basic thoughts on some of the services I looked at.

Several sites offered various features that may be important to some people (e.g., multiple accounts, scheduling tweets, integrating with other social media, etc.), but either I wasn’t particularly interested in those features or I wasn’t overly crazy about the design/usability of the site.

So, for various reasons, these sites are honorable mentions (i.e., they’re worth checking out and may have some features you are looking for) …

The following three sites are good, especially if you are looking for multiple columns for viewing/tracking different things.

Personally, I prefer a more minimalist, less cluttered (single-column) design. At the moment, I’d say my top four favorite sites are …

  1. iTweet
  2. Twitter.com
  3. Brizzly
  4. TwitIQ

None of these are perfect, but they each have their own strengths. They all have a single-column, fairly minimalist design.

If Twitter.com did a better job of auto-refreshing and if it included a URL shortener (it might, but I haven’t figured it out yet), it would be the clear favorite. Add in a URL-expander and inline viewing of media and it would be even better.

If iTweet (which is the best of the four at auto-refreshing) loaded older/previous tweets below (like the others) instead of loading a new page, and if it allowed me to open Twitter-related pages in new tabs/windows, it would probably be my clear favorite.

If Brizzly did a better job of refreshing, and if account basics (i.e., number of “followers” and “following,” etc.) were visible on the main page, it could be my clear favorite. Brizzly is the best at viewing older tweets. Upon reaching the bottom of the page, the previous section of tweets automatically load without having to click anything.

Brizzly and TwitIQ are nice in that they show expanded URLs (so you know where you’re going before you click) as well as inline photos/videos (so you don’t have to click to go to see them).

For now, I usually have these four sites open in four different tabs in one browser window. I seem to use iTweet the most (because it’s the most up to date without having to refresh the page), but as I said, there are things I like about the other sites, too.

It will be interesting to see how these fairly new services develop in the near future, especially with Twitter’s conference in a couple weeks.

Feel free to post a comment about a Twitter-related web app (or even software application) you either use or have tried in the past.

4 Responses to Twitter Web Apps

  1. Kevin M. says:

    I use TweetDeck. It has worked the best for me.

  2. Randy says:

    Thanks for the comment, Kevin.

    TweetDeck seems to be one of the most popular software apps out there.

  3. Pam says:

    I’d be interesting in knowing which voices are worth listening to via Twitter…in the emergent church world in particular.

  4. Randy says:

    Pam, I’m still figuring out which voices are worth listening to myself, but a few I’m currently following that *might* fit that category are …

    Erwin McManus (since I try to read everything he writes).

    Alan Hirsch

    Margaret Feinberg (just wait to follow her till after she regains control of her Twitter account, which is being hacked, presently).

    Don Miller is a popular Twitterer (I think he fits this category; it’s a pretty loose category :-)).

    In UMC circles (besides Sweet), it may be worth searching out some of the contributors to http://methoblog.com/ and http://emergingumc.blogspot.com/ (don’t think they include a list of Twitter users).

Add a Comment