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Monday, April 4, 2011

Why I Can't Be Faithful to One Twitter App

I can't be faithful to just one Twitter app. Sure I can point to a favorite depending on the platform, but I would never stick with just one.

I love Echofon on the iPad because of the way it displays the lists of people I'm following and who are following me. People I follow are listed in alpha order making it easy to scroll through and find exactly who I'm looking for. My followers are listed chronologically. No other app presents this info better - it's a must see.

The whole Echofon experience is simple, easy, a pleasure to use - and I love the bright theme.

But I rarely use Echofon on my iPhone, though, because I just can't bump up the font size big enough for my tastes (can you please fix that, guys?). A larger font feels like my visual home, and Echofon just can't take me there on the iPhone.

TweetDeck is awesome on my laptop and desktop, because I can run those great notifications in the background. It's the undisputed powerhouse when it comes to features and ideal for participating in #edchat and other education-related discussions. When you first graduate to TweetDeck it's pretty heady stuff seeing that flight deck with multiple columns and fancying yourself a power user.

On the iPad, though, TweetDeck takes much too long to load. I can't fit as many columns on it as on the desktop and I'm much more limited to the amount of tweets I can see at once.

TweetDeck for the iPhone is a complete wash for me. What it does so brilliantly on the laptop or desktop, just isn't possible on the smaller screen - so why bother?

I love Twitter on my iPhone, and use it almost exclusively. I can kick the font size up, I feel comfortable with the pull-down-to-reload feature and I love the translation option which lets me follow Japanese speaking astronauts or tweets from Arab countries and actually find out what they're saying.

On the iPad, I don't know if it's Twitter's dark theme, the horizontal swiping or what, but it just doesn't turn my crank. I know I'm not alone in feeling that the iPad iteration wasn't as brilliant as the one for the iPhone.

And the Twitter desktop app? Despite the new look and functionality, it still remains the least efficient way to tweet. Its only value, in my books, is when demo-ing Twitter at workshops. There is little point using anything else because it really is the entry point for newbies and the interface most will use to start tweeting.

Switching Between Apps
That having been said, I have switched and will continue to switch between these apps depending on the need and the mood.

All of which has me worried about Twitter's objective of buying up the universe of third-party apps with which to tweet.

I don't want one app, built by one group of people, however brilliant, to be THE Twitter experience for me and the only tool I will ever be able to tweet with. I love the variation in looks, purpose and function.

After letting the genie - and the genius - out of the bottle by initially making the Twitter API open to everyone, why would you want to lock up all of that power and diversity and shove it back into just one container?


  1. I am with you, Ray, I use several apps. I do seem to go back to twitterific on my iPad and iPod touch. But twitter & echofon each have some nice features too - I sometimes switch depending on what I want to do. On my computer, I tend to use tweetdeck, but sometimes use the twitter web site or the desktop twitter app. Only thing is that I find echofon crashes on me often on the iPad - do you find this?

  2. Thanks for your sharing your experience Mike. I knew I wasn't the only one who skipped around between apps. I really do love the variety. And yes, I am finding the newest version of Echofon does crash on me, not when I'm replying or retweeting, but when I enter a Twitter handle. Sometimes it won't crash but will hang for a bit. No doubt they'll address it in the next version under "various bug fixes."