Those of us that have been using “the Twitter” for a while have it pretty much figured out by now. We hop onto our favorite free Twitter tools like TweetDeck, quickly glance at our many columns of rapidly-updating information, check out trending topics, and casually send replies and retweets. This type of usage is no big deal to the savvy geek elite, but many non-geeks are easily overwhelmed by some of the new concepts Twitter presents.
Seesmic released a new free Twitter tool today called Seesmic Look which aims to gently immerse the general public in the real-time web. Seesmic Look is free and is exclusively for Windows.
The first thing you will notice about Seesmic Look is that you are not required to log into Twitter when you open the free Twitter tool. The main screen displays a very good looking showcase of the most recent trending topics with accompanying explanations. Clicking one of the trending topics immediately takes you to a list of people who are tweeting about that topic.
For a broader look at popular topics you can select a daily or weekly view of trending topics.
Finding Relevant Tweets & Users With ‘Interests’
Finding relevant and interesting users to follow is one of the largest barriers to entry when a person first joins Twitter. Imagine if you just joined Twitter and you wanted to follow sports news and get political information – would you know where to start?
Seesmic Look solves this problem by providing an Interests channel which lets you pick from popular topics such as news, sports, entertainment, politics, music, and many more. When you choose a specific topic you will be shown a list of relevant Twitter accounts, so when I select News I can look at the CNN Breaking News Twitter account immediately.
Seesmic Look integrates personalized backgrounds into the application which is a great way for corporate accounts and individuals to maintain their brand identity.
You are not required to look at specific accounts when browsing categories – you can simply select a topic and choose All to display the most recent tweets in that category.
It became apparent when Twitter launched their new homepage that search, not theitself, was the main focus of their business. Seesmic Look has an oversized search box at the top of the application at all times, allowing users to request information about a specific topic whenever they feel like it.
Searching for ‘Conan O’Brien’ immediately shows a list of the most recent tweets about the late night host, and you can enable Playback mode to display a continuously-updating visualization of new tweets. I think this particular feature would be great for companies to display on an office screen regarding their brand or keywords.
Two themes are available during the launch of Seesmic Look: light and dark. To change themes, click the Settings button (which looks like a gear) in the top right corner of the screen, then select a theme under Appearance.
Seesmic Look has been optimized for Windows 7 and makes great use of transparencies and animation effects.
Additional Features For Logged In Users
All of the previous features I covered were available without a Twitter account – but there are still several more features that appear when you log in. If you don’t already have an account just click the username field at the top of the application then click create account.
Once logged in, you will have the ability to tweet from the bar at the top of the application and you can see your most recent tweet by holding the mouse over your user icon.
Several new items will be available on the left side of the screen after you’ve logged in. The Inbox item contains your public replies, direct messages, and sent items.
The Social item shows a list of your friends’ recent updates and also contains any personal lists you have created or subscribed to. To create a new list, just click the + NEW LIST button and you can select friends to add to that list.
Twitter controls are easy to miss – they’re located on the right side of the screen and change based on the activity you are doing. When viewing a tweet, the standard Twitter controls will appear including view profile, send public reply, send direct message, and native retweet.
Viewing a user’s profile shows you information about the user and gives you the option to follow/unfollow, add them as a favorite, or add them to a list.
Seesmic Look provides a fresh take on the standard Twitter client design. Putting a focus on quality of content rather than quantity makes Seesmic Look a great client for non-geeks to get their feet wet in the real-time web. Advanced users should not be misled, though – this application contains all the features you need to interact with your friends and followers.
Seesmic Look was clearly designed to be usable with a wide variety of input devices and can easily be controlled via keyboard or remote control, making it one of the first clients I’ve seen that seems tailored for use on a television or tablet PC.
Seesmic Look is a free download for Windows and is now publicly available. Give it a try and share your thoughts with us in the comments!