Photo: Ellis Hamburger
Twitter is an amazingly useful social network and news source with a pretty poor front-end interface.To circumvent Twitter.com and add features, many companies built Twitter clients, apps, and browser extensions.
What Twitter needs to realise is that people don’t use Twitter for the colourful backgrounds people adorn their pages with. People use Twitter to hear the thoughts and opinions of people they care about.
This fact becomes obvious when you look at how many people are using Twitter clients and apps, which provide essential features like auto-complete for usernames and the ability to track multiple lists at once.
Recently, Twitter must’ve had a panic attack, of sorts, and realised it’s going to be a lot tougher to monetise their product if everybody’s using Twitter through API’s that scrape away all but the most essential information: tweets themselves.
Until the day that Twitter cleans up its flagship home page, we’ll show you some ways to avoid the mess and make Twitter more powerful.
And while these apps and clients aren’t necessarily the very best, they perfectly illustrate the features Twitter.com is missing most.
Anybody who follows more than a hundred people knows how difficult it can be to navigate tweets when so many are streaming in each day.
One way to ameliorate this situation is to create lists such as 'bloggers,' 'movie stars,' and 'sports players' to help you narrow it down and only view content from one list at a time. Making lists through Tweetdeck is so much easier than making lists using Twitter.com
Tweetdeck enables you to create a column for each list, so you can manage several streams of information in a much more efficient way. Tweetdeck also lets you to create a column for 'mentions' so you'll never miss out when someone contacts you.
Another way Tweetdeck helps is by having an option to hide Replies that users you follow Tweet. This makes sure you only see content targeted at follower specifically, and not just at one person.
Price: free for just about any platform
Using ManageFlitter may inflict some collateral damage on your ego by showing you who isn't following you back, but it can be useful to consolidate the list of people you're following.
ManageFlitter's current tag line is 'We've unfollowed 220,745,449 people for 281,993 users in the past year,' and they can do the same for you. It even shows you who is polluting your Twitter feed with more than five tweets per day.
Price: free online
Hootsuite makes it easy to manage multiple Twitter accounts whether you're a social butterfly or a PR team manager.
Its web interface works on any browser and has tabs to make it simple to manage columns, mentions, direct messages, and different social networks (like Facebook).
Hootsuite includes analytics to help you understand where traffic is coming from and what your most-clicked links are, and a cool 'conversation view' to see a thread when others reply to you, or when you reply to others.
Price: free, but with occasional ads in the river.
One of the key features Echofon highlights is its 'super clean interface.'
Twitter is no MySpace in 2006 by any means, but Echofon streamlines information into a usable, clean interface. Another great feature is that if you like to read tweets one-by-one, Echofon keeps track of all of your read and unread tweets from your smartphone to your computer.
Also, Twitter provides no real ways to notify you if somebody mentions you. Echofon helps with that too.
Price: free for iOS, Mac, and the Firefox Browser
Twitter's mobile app is based on Tweetie, which it wisely acquired in April of 2010.
The app works incredibly well, and even if we have our computers nearby, we often just pull out our phone and boot up the app. The 'dickbar' fiasco is proof that Twitter users won't go down without a big fuss if Twitter decides to irrelevant content in the mobile app.
The app for Mac is compatible with Growl notifications, conversation view (for Reply chains), and convenient keyboard shortcuts to switch between sections.
Price: free for iOS, Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone 7, Mac
Whenever you tweet using a geo-location tag, you are broadcasting to the world exactly where you are.
Tweetings is an iPhone app that takes advantage of this mass of data and shows you (using augmented reality, nonetheless) where tweets are coming from in your neighbourhood.
Price: $3.99 on the App Store and in the Mac App Store, and free for Google Chrome (extension)
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