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How do you Twitter?

by Brandon on March 8th, 2009

I created my Twitter account back in the very early days of the service.  It was so long ago that I can’t even link to my original posts, as apparently their archives don’t go back that far… Lesson: Twitters are not forever!

Despite that, I never really felt that I “got into” the whole twitter phenomenon.  I experimented with different interfaces for it… the basic Twitter web UI, the original Twadget sidebar gadget.  It was largely functional, but not the prettiest thing and had its bugs.  Eventually I stopped using it.

I’ve always had the SMS setup enabled for a small group of my former colleagues, but it was really just our own private backchannel, not the true “twitter” experience as most would describe it.

For a little while I tried various iPhone apps, like the PocketTweets web app, and later Twitterific.  But none of them really stuck.  Now I’m trying out TwitterFon and rather liking it, so maybe, just maybe I’ll start becoming a regular Twitter’er.  Why do I bother?  Well, I’ve attended three “tweet-ups” now hosted in Issaquah by my friend Chris Pirillo, the most recent of which was Thursday evening and featured special guest Chris Brogan.

This afternoon I tried to check on the state of Twitter gadgets for Windows.  Sadly, I have to say it’s not very good.  Of the slim pickings, I’ve installed one called Tweets – which to be fair is labeled as an early beta / preview release.  In terms of appearance, well, we’ll go with “acceptable” which puts it far above the competition.  In terms of features or options, well, it just doesn’t have any.

Now I’m starting to think of just writing my own.  One of the existing gadgets is a CodePlex project called Chirpr, but it looks pretty far from what I’d try to build if I just started my own.  In fact, I’d be tempted to cheat and just write one that uses .NET, or perhaps use it as an excuse to go play with Silverlight.

So now it’s time to get your feedback.  Do you Twitter?  What apps or interfaces do you use?  Do you try to read everything?  Or everything from certain people?  Or do you just respond to interesting tweets if you happen to be looking when one floats by?  Would you use a Windows (i.e. “sidebar”) gadget if there were a good one?  What features or options would be important to you in a desktop Twitter gadget or app?

7 Comments
  1. I personally use Blu. The only reason I choose Blu over TweetDeck is because the UI is fabulous. It’s built on WPF, and it has yet to fail me. However like yourself, I would love to have a sidebar gadget or even a decent desktop widget at that. As far as a sidebar gadget goes, I would like to be able to maximize it when I’m viewing my tweets. Of course be able to reply, DM, and look at hashlinks. The basics, nothing to complex but something that gives the twitter experience.

    Keep me updated!

  2. Eric permalink

    Brandon,
    I think Blu is the best place to start. It seems to be somewhere near the right design and functionality but it has its problems as I mention below. I’m not a fan of the idea of a sidebar gadget for twitter. The size of gadgets tends to be rather restrictive if you try to do more than one thing. The gadgets I use all do one thing and they do it well. (That’s a little unix-y sounding :).

    @RebelSean I use Blu too but its rather buggy I’ve found. That may be due to problems in WPF, I don’ tknow. I also dislike the lack of customizability. I often don’t want the startup sound but there’s no way to turn it off.

  3. If you’re interested in joining the Chirpr team, let me know. We’ve been talking about a UI rehaul, but haven’t solidified anything. We have no intentions of competing with the likes of TweetDeck, however. We want to keep it simple, as Sidebar gadgets should be. With that said, let us know (@flanakin and @tatertoten).

  4. I really like blu which is WPF and has a nice UI.. http://www.thirteen23.com/experiences/desktop/blu/

    Gadgets suck in general and the twitter ones I’ve tired are no different

  5. I use Twhirl – used to use TweetDeck – but for whatever reason, I like Twhirl better.

  6. George Coffey permalink

    Hello all,

    I use TwitterFox: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/5081. This allows me to use post tweets in Firefox. Very handy.

    If for some reason Firefox is acting up r what ever, I use TweetDeck, based on Adobe’s AIR Runtime.

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