My Ongoing Search for the Perfect Twitter Client


I am growing increasingly frustrated with my Twitter client, but I can’t find one I like better. Here is what I need:

  • Mac compatibility.
  • A color scheme that isn’t too dark or too bright (both versions of the Tweetdeck theme are out as a result).
  • An unread messages count. Really I need this. It’s a deal-breaker, and it’s one of the reasons I’ve stuck with Nambu despite being unhappy with their progress and development.
  • Multiple columns.
  • Notification of new tweets. I prefer Growl, but Air is OK.

Things I’d like to have:

  • Syncing across devices (an iPhone app, so my unread count is same on both).
  • Client rather than web-based (not a deal breaker—was checking out Hootsuite, but not a fan).

I wondered aloud to my husband a few minutes ago just how hard it would be to create a Twitter client that did what I wanted. I have never designed software before, but I am willing to learn. I have rolled up my sleeves and made myself learn HTML and Flash (though I can’t say I’m a proficient in Flash at all).

Out of curiosity—what would you want in a Twitter client?

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9 thoughts on “My Ongoing Search for the Perfect Twitter Client

  1. My deal-breaker is a sync between my Android phone and the computer client. I want to leave home and pick up where I left off — without scrolling around.

    Features I have now and wouldn't do without: automatic link-shortening, inline image viewing, notifications that can easily be silenced.

    Have been using seesmic and, like you, am only moderately happy.

    • Syncing should be a natural part of any client that has both computer and smart phone versions, and yet I can't think of a single client that does it. You know of any? Yes on your other features, too.

  2. I'm not sure if my previous message came through. Nevertheless, I love Hootsuite. It provides a variety of options, including those you are looking for. You should try it.

    • Thanks, Nikki. In the post, I mention that I would prefer not to use a web-based client and that I have tried Hootsuite, but am not really a fan.

  3. I feel your pain. I used Tweetdeck for a while, but grew tired of the constant updates. Updates are ok, but leave me alone about them please.

    I currently use the web client Twitter provides. I realize I'm not getting all I can out of Twitter as a result, but I'm ok with that. I'm currently slowing down my consumption of social media.

    Your most interesting question to me hasn't received any comment yet, which is "How hard would it be to create a Twitter client that did what I wanted?"

    You may find this article by Marc Prensky about Programming as the New Literacy interesting.

    I would expect it would all depend upon how badly you want this client, but undoubtedly it would be fairly hard for you without previous programming experience. I've thought about making a twitter client myself, but only as a software development practice exercise, not to satisfy any particular itch I have. However, you should know that the best software products come from people like you who have a definiteness of purpose, an itch if you will, and the desire to satisfy it.

    I have no doubt that you could pull off such a feat, but only if you really wanted to. This being said, if you did do it, you could serve as a model to your students what we want them to become- lifelong learners. Most of us educators fail to model the process of learning to students. We want them to see us at our polished best, not at that rough time when we are clueless but driven to find answers.

    • I absolutely agree with everything you said. I know it would be difficult. Thanks for the link, too. I am trying to decide if my problems with Nambu are substantial enough. I really just want multiple columns, and if they would bring that back, I'd be completely satisfied with them. However, I think they've given up further development on the client.

  4. seesmic is good for tweeting and tracking tweets.

    As for features in a twitter client, I would say that something like tweetbackup which allows you to archive and download your last 1360 tweets in a flat text file… who knows, one's little finds and little messages might show deeper dimensions than what such brief messages would otherwise suggest.

    • Steve, I've tried Seesmic, and it's almost there. It has a lot of features I like. It doesn't show me a message count, though. I need that.

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