While TweetDeck and Seesmic Desktop remain the most popular Twitter desktop clients, many people are turning to web-based alternatives. But why, when there are so many desktop clients around?
There are several reasons why this may be a preferred way to use Twitter:
- Running a separate Twitter desktop client application (usually with Adobe AIR) takes up additional system resources, which can slowdown your system.
- Integrate Twitter smoothly in your workflow, since you don’t need to switch between the browser and an application.
- You don’t need to download anything and are always using the latest version automatically.
- If you wish, you can switch between different web apps easily and swiftly.
- Web apps provide some special features not available in common desktop apps.
Which web-based apps should you use? What are their unique features when compared to the common Twitter desktop clients? In this article, we will look at four Twitter web apps and highlight their unique features so that you can choose the right one to make use of.
HootSuite is an easy-to-use but powerful Twitter application. The interface is very flexible and you can create nice layouts just the way you want them. You can have multiple tabs, with each tab showing up to four columns of tweets. You can drag and drop columns and tabs, change width of columns, and set individual refresh intervals for each tab. Columns can be used for Groups, Mentions, DMs, and Searches just like other apps.
The unique features of HootSuite are:
- Co-workers can tweet from the same Twitter account
- You can track the number of clicks on the links you tweet
- You can schedule tweets for later
- You can feed any RSS/Atom feed to your Twitter account
- You can use Ping.fm with HootSuite to broadcast tweets to other networks
- The Hootlet is a bookmarklet for your browser toolbar to tweet about a web page
Brizzly is the newest web app for Twitter, at present in beta for which you can quickly get an invite just by signing up. It is extremely easy to use, has an uncluttered, clean look, and you will find yourself tweeting within minutes. You can use up to 5 Twitter accounts and create up to 5 groups.
Brizzly’s claim to fame is for the following:
- Inline view of pictures, maps, and videos from a variety of sources
- Save drafts of Tweets like just like email drafts
- Temporarily “mute” prolific tweeters to hide their updates in your stream
- Easily view or edit explanations of Twitter’s trending topics
- Keyboard shortcuts for power users
- Upload pictures directly via Brizzly and track their number of clicks
TwitHive is a different breed among these Twitter web apps. TwitHive uses the term “channels” to describe what essentially become columns once you create them. You can have a highly customized Twitter client because of the flexibility you have in defining channels.
A channel, or column, can be made up of Tweets, Groups, DMs, and Search. The Tweets column can additionally be filtered to display Conversations (tweets with an @reply), Questions, ReTweets, Links, or Keywords. In the example above, I have 3 columns set to display ReTweets, Tweets with Links, and a Search column for Facebook. Also, it is easy to track keyword or brand mentions with TwitHive.
Seesmic Desktop’s web-based cousin is not as powerful, but has a few nifty features you won’t find in its desktop version. It is easy to use and offers a choice of two different color schemes. At present, it does not support multiple Twitter accounts and does not allow you to create groups. While these features are just around the corner, Seesmic Web is an attractive option if you are following a limited number of people from a single account.
Seesmic Web has the following standout features:
- Gmail-like interface that lets you view large number of tweets instantly
- Inline previews of pictures, maps, and videos on mouseover
- Threaded DM conversation view (as shown below)
- Support for French, German, Chinese and Romanian languages
Did you find the post useful? Did we miss your favorite Twitter web-app? Tell us in the comments!