Twitter Basics: Making Life Easier – Client Applications

A couple of days’ delay, but here’s part three.

Today we find that you don’t have to use Twitter’s web site to use Twitter.

Unlike Facebook, the makers of Twitter have allowed you to connect using other tools, and given others the ability to develop programs with which you can interact with Twitter.

And people, in quite large numbers, have stepped up to the plate and developed lots of tools for using Twitter.

The Twitter Fan Wiki that I mentioned the other day lists many of them, but here’s a selection that I’ve used.  Note that I’m not a Mac or iPhone user and there are plenty of tools for those gadgets. Some of the best tools use Adobe’s Air technology which sounds scary but isn’t and is worth installing.


Tweetdeck is a pretty comprehensive Adobe Air tool that has many unique features.  It allows you to create groups to split your “follows” up.  It’s great if you follow lots of others and need to organise their messages.  You can include searches and visit user profiles from the tool too.  But, possibly one if the best things about it, is it now allows you to keep up with Facebook statuses too!

Downsides?  It takes up a lot of your screen and so is quite intrusive, and I didn’t find it particularly intuitive – and I couldn’t find a user guide!!

[Update November ’09]

Tweetdeck has quickly grown and now contains lots of extra stuff.  It can show you Facebook and Linked-In updates and pulls all that information together into a single application, which is quite neat.  The problem with this is that Tweetdeck is growing as an application.  It’s slower and still, in my opinion, a bit clunky.  It doesn’t always get things right!  Oh, and there’s an iPhone/iPod Touch app too!


Twitterfox is a plug in for the Firefox Web Browser that sits in the corner and notifies you of messages being posted by those you follow.  It’s pretty simple and much less intrusive and sits really nicely alongside your web browsing.

[Update November ’09]

Twitterfox is now called “Echofon” and has a pretty neat and free iPhone/iPod Touch application too.  Worth checking out.


Twhirl, like Tweetdeck, is based on Adobe Air.  It’s pretty and colourful and easy to set up and use.  Simpler and more intuitive than Tweetdeck, but less powerful.  A good tool for a new Twitterer.


If you don’t use Firefox but DO use iGoogle and want something integrated into your browser, then you can include the TwitterGadget on your iGoogle homepage.  There are alternatives but this is the best I’ve found and it works pretty well.  Though it’ll never be as good as a desktop application.


At one point I wondered if there was a better way to do mobile Twitter than through a mini browser (You can go to if you have mobile internet), and I found Twittai, which, as long as your phone has Java, and most do these days, does a splendid job.  It’s disappeared from the Fan Wiki, but seems to still be available at its own website.

There are LOADS more tools and I’ve not had anywhere near enough time to play with more than a few of them, but hopefully these tools are of some use to some of you.

[Update November ’09]

My use of Twittai has dwindled as I’ve discovered Snaptu.  Snaptu is a Java app that you can run on your mobile that has little plugins for things like Facebook, Twitter and reading news and sports results.  It’s surprisingly good!