Wednesday, November 17, 2010

iPhone Apps- Seesmic vs. Tweetdeck

These two iPhone Twitter clients bring similar functionality, that make them head to head competitors.  But they have some distinct features that have me puzzled.

I am late to Twitter.  I only "got it" when someone explained to me that it is a very abbreviated blog, only more spontaneous.  With that, I got into it.  You really should follow me.

Of course, I started on my Macbook Pro, using Twitter's native interface online.  Not very spontaneous for someone who doesn't spend the day at a desk.  So it was completely normal that I would use my Blackberry to tweet.  It worked well, and my tweet count mounted.  It was functional.

The advent of the iPhone (for me), made tweeting even more of a pleasure, and I saw my counts go over 1,000 soon.  It became important to maximize the pleasure of the iPhone experience with a multitasking, Retina interface and full use of the touchscreen.

Both these apps use a set of pages to organize not only Tweets, but multiple Twitter lists, mentions, searches, messages, and Facebook.  Additionally on Seesmic you can add a page for Ping, if anyone uses Ping.  I currently have several of these columns/pages: All Friends Tweets, Facebook, 2-4 lists, a search for all mentions of @Exechobo, Direct Messages.  These vary as my needs change.


Tweetdeck is also a desktop/laptop client, and in that venue, is very powerful, indeed.  You set up columns for anything you want to track on Twitter,  trending, searches for specific terms and users, the handy and powerful RSS substitute lists, etc, etc.  Then, Tweetdeck syncs all this with your other computers and iOS, Android and presumably, Windows Mobile (whatever they are calling it), devices.  Very powerful for those who use Twitter professionally.

The black theme of Tweetdeck is crisp and eye grabbing, and the white of Seesmic really makes the text pop.   

Further, Tweetdeck is stellar at using the touch on the touchscreen.  A small swipe sends pages or columns skittering across the iPhone's screen, and a flick scrolls like a native app.  The management of columns is easy and quick.  I really like that when I open Tweetdeck all the columns are largish thumbnails but readable, and I can slide along them to see what is new (new items are light grey), and then tap a column to bring it to full size and use the column.

You can see tweets locations, and with a simple touch initiate a "Qucikfollow" of anyone you see on Twitter.

When you write a message, you can choose which accounts it will be posted to, including Facebook.  Convenient.  When creating a post in Tweetdeck, you have other options.  Like take or attach a photo, or a video, shorten a link, geo locate a post, add an address for any recent Twitter addresses, or insert a hashtag for the terms most popular, and finally, you can rotate the screen if it helps typing.  All very handy!  To search for a topic, just start a new column and it will update regularly.

What bugs me about Tweetdeck?  First, a minor one, that when I return to it, it always goes back to the start.  I have to wait to get it going, during which time all my tweets are updated, a good thing, but then the app doesn't go back to where it was.  Kinda like it doesn't get multitasking. And one more thing- How the hell do you do a simple search on Twitter for people?  You can't. That's it, you can't.


Seesmic looks simpler than it is.  I haven't found a missing function yet.  I like that my tweets are highlighted.  I really like that a searchbar sits at the top of the page.

I like that I can send tweets to Evernote, an app I use alot.  This is good for saving items from my lists for action later.

The menu at the bottom of the page is relevant for Facebook and Twitter, but is absent from lists pages.

Seesmic lets you choose to which account you are posting.  As well, when posting the option to take or attach a picture, shorten a link, and geo-locate that post is easy to select.

I like that when I select "Retweets" on the menu, at the top of the next screen I can select "by others", "by me" or "of me".

When you add a page to Seesmic you get options to add certain types of pages, including Searches, Trending Topics, and Lists.

One curiosity, why add a page of a single trending topic? Now if it was all trending topics were included, that would be somethin, wouldn't it?

What bugs me about Seesmic?  They can't seem to make the touchscreen work.  This is aggravating.  Flicking from page to page is frustratingly hit and miss.  Almost always miss unless you are at the top of the page.  Now who thought that requirement up?  The pull down to refresh is expected in many iPhone apps, but in this one it bugs me.  And the ads, well they bug me too.


Both of these apps are very powerful and satisfying to use.  I have a hard time deciding which is best, so I keep both handy and switch between them when the mood strikes.  Twitter's native client, Ecofon and Tweetbird are all good, but not as powerful, and don't make be admire their power with each use.  One cannot go wrong with either Seesmic nor Tweetdeck.  What a wonder that this much elegant development work can be had for no charge!

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