Twitter Clients – Web Apps or Desktops Apps? Which is Better?

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cloud_vs_desktopTwitter is a beast, in my opinion, that needs to be tamed!  If you are to follow any amount of people on Twitter and actually keep up with them, you’ll need to use some sort of Twitter client in order to organize the chatter and get anything out of it all.

In the past, I have written articles on several different web apps including Tweetfunnel and HootSuite.  Notice that both of those are web apps, meaning that you don’t install them on your computer but run them directly from the Internet from your web browser.  There is another whole category of Twitter clients that you install on your PC, including Tweetdeck, Twhirl and Seesmic.

Therein lies the debate!  Which type of Twitter client do you prefer — the web app or the desktop app?  Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of each and see where we land!

The web app Twitter client

twitter clients

There are many reasons someone may choose to use a web app as their Twitter client of choice.  In fact, Mahendra wrote a great article about 4 good web based alternatives to some of the popular desktop Twitter apps.  In his post, he listed several good reasons someone might choose to go web-based, including:

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  1. Running another application takes up more system resources so a web-based app could help to conserve system resources.
  2. It can be easier to not have to switch between another program and your browser windows.
  3. No download is necessary and version control is taken care of for you.
  4. Perhaps you will find more options in the web-based alternatives.

Using web-based applications in general have certain advantages such as having access on any Internet connected computer with a web browser, not worrying about installing and updating, and hard drive space is no longer an issue.  It almost seems everything is moving toward the “cloud” doesn’t it?

twitter clients

Currently my web app of choice is still HootSuite because it’s easy to use, easy to track stats, and the Hootlet bookmarklet makes sharing links easy.  However, there are some reasons why I find myself using a desktop app also.

The desktop app Twitter client

seesmic twitter client

Desktop apps do have their benefits.  One of most used Twitter clients is Tweetdeck and that is a desktop app.  So, why do people still choose to use desktop apps in light of the benefits of web apps?

  1. Refreshing some of the web-based clients can become cumbersome.
  2. Many desktop clients make being notified of tweets quite simple.
  3. It’s easy having the program running in the tray ready for access.
  4. Sometimes issues can be resolved by the user by reopening or reinstalling a program whereas if the webapp goes down, you’re out of luck.

Tweetdeck twitter client

Aside from the typical power apps such as Seesmic and Tweetdeck, there are the browser plugins such as Echofon and Chromed Bird.

chromed bird twitter client

I prefer to use this type of app because I get notifications directly in my browser window.

Cast Your Vote

OK, now it’s time for YOU to weigh in on this topic. What did I miss? What is your preference: desktop-based OR web-based Twitter applications?  Which application do you use most often?

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Comments (20)
  • Patty

    I’ve been through several desktop apps, including Tweetdeck&Sessmic among others, and a couple plugins such as chrome bird. Here is my conclusion…►►
    I’ve come to find Hootsuite is most comprehensive,however would like the option of other url shortener’s, but still have stat ability. Click to the link above to find out why I would like other url shortner options and other options Hootsuite is missing.

    • Deborah

      Patty, I can agree. In fact I’ve asked Hootsuite for several features, and have actually received a response! They are currently working on adding features similar to SocialOomph, vetting followers, and keyword tracking emails (which I think they just deployed, or are close to about doing so.)

      Like you, (my comment just before yours I think), I have tried so many, but like the clean and many features of Hootsuite. Am looking forward to them adding more features to make it the MOST perfect all-in-one!

      Best wishes.

  • Deborah

    Web app. In particular, Hootsuite. We are a business, have a number of clients, require the extensive functionality of having numerous ping.fms and numerous client profiles. The suite, settings, stats, and ease of use, plus the hootlet, ability to tweet from all or one or any combination of, quick stats on followers, find out quickly if someone is following you or not – so many functions with clicks.

    Note, for over a year, I’ve tried every single app out there, Adobe Air apps, and the new ones. I started with the desktop from TweetDeck to Twhirl, Seesmic, Sobees, Spaz etc. etc. I kept moving on, did not like the gimicky feel. Found Hootsuite, and since their recent upgrade was really something – I’m even more pleased.

    Looking forward to the majority voice on this issue, out of curiosity – but I’m Hootsuite, and would even pay for it without a blink of an eye.

  • emilime

    my favorites are:

    desktop-based; Mixero
    web-based: Friendbinder or Brizzly

  • Gwen McCauley

    Great question. Two days ago I updated Seesmic and was dismayed to discover that it apparently didn’t allow you to annotate RTs anymore. Boohoo. Had tried Tweetdeck way back when but found the black background too hard on my old eyes! Yes, I’m one of those rare Geezer Tweeps. So I opted for HootSuite which a friend likes. It was OK but really hated that it was not on my desktop and that everytime it up-dated the feed I’d lose where my position in scanning my stream of incoming Tweets.

    So I was thrilled to discover that you can easily annotate an RT in Seesmic based on a prompt from someone in that company in response to my public be-moaning the state of affairs.

    I am now happily back Tweeting away via Seesmic. I’d like to be able to schedule Tweets, but in all other ways I am very happy with this desk-top Twitter application.

    Big Yes to Desktop Twitter Apps from this happy Seesmic user.

  • Robin

    When twitzap died so did my use of twitter. That was a great web based app.

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For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.