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<firstimage=”//static.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/smlogo.jpg”>When it comes to using Twitter, I’ve always stuck to either using the Twitter website or using an IM client that happens to be Twitter-enabled. I’ve tried a few of the Twitter clients that were reviewed here at MUO, like Seesmic or Tweetdeck and even some of the alternatives that Mahendra covered further back.
In every case I found that the desktop client fell short in some feature that I needed. This was especially true once I started managing several Twitter accounts, and logging in and out of accounts in order to send individual tweets just wasn’t an option. I needed something light on resources, fast, efficient and very easy to switch between accounts. After testing a bunch of different clients, I’ve finally settled on an interesting client you may or may not have heard about called SharedMinds Desktop.
Set Up Your Accounts & Get Started
Getting started on SharedMinds took about 20 to 30 seconds, literally. There was no online account sign-up and no painful account setup procedures. I just installed the software, launched it, typed in my multiple Twitter account credentials and that was it. SharedMinds was plugged into everything I do on Twitter.
Once you sign in with your Twitter accounts, all tweets from your friends you’re following on all of those accounts will show up in the tweet pane. I just have to say that of all desktop Twitter clients, SharedMinds really makes it intuitive and simple to monitor and use as many Twitter accounts as you like.
Do you want to only see activity on one account at a time? No problem, just scroll down to the “Current View” section on the left navigation bar and change the “Account Filter” dropdown to whatever account you’d like to use at any given time.
Of course, no Twitter client is complete unless it can view the Twitter public timeline. SharedMinds can do this, and it also lets you quickly look through currently trending topics or perform searches on all public tweets, all from the comfort of your desktop client.
I also really like the layout of the preview pane more than just about any other client I’ve seen. You can see not only the actual tweet, but there’s a quick little profile preview of the person that issued the tweet, complete with Twitter stats and website. At the top of the preview pane you can click on tabs that let you view all of that person’s recent tweets, the actual Twitter profile page, the link that they tweeted, or all recent mentions of that user.
By the way, when you click to view the embedded link, SharedMinds will show you the website within the preview pane itself – it’s an embedded browser window. You can literally view everything within this fully functioning desktop application.
One of the most important aspects of a Twitter client is how quickly and easily you can respond to tweets in some way. SharedMinds manages to pack all of the functionality you need into a small space. The fastest way to react to a tweet is to hover your mouse over the profile icon, and you’ll see four little icons show up – reply, direct message, retweet or other options.
What are the other options? Well, if you right click on the tweet itself, you’ll see a menu list of all of the available actions you can take. These include searching Twitter for more tweets from that user, following or unfollowing the user, or retweeting and replying. Once again, this is an area SharedMinds makes multiple accounts a breeze, because you can use the dropdown accounts list in this menu to quickly change which Twitter account will take the action you select. It doesn’t get any more painless than that!
When it comes to issuing your own tweets, SharedMinds has you covered. Yes, you can just type in your tweet and hit enter, but you could also attach an image to your tweet, quickly shorten URL’s you’ve included, or “TweetShrink” some long entry you’ve typed so that it fits within Twitter’s limits. You’ve even got spell check built in!
One of the biggest pet peeves I had with a number of the other Twitter desktop clients, aside from the fact that using multiple accounts was a real chore, is the docking issue. If you just want to slide the display of tweets over to the right or left side of the screen, you really need a way to shrink down the desktop app into a single column. Many other clients won’t easily let you do this, but SharedMinds lets you “unpin” the navigation bar and remove the preview pane so that the final screen looks like below.
If you do need to navigate, just hover your mouse over the navigation button and it’ll pop out. After you move your mouse off it, it collapses back to the left. It really is a brilliant Twitter client that I’m pleased and excited I finally discovered. Even if you swear by other clients, give SharedMinds a shot and let us know what you think.
Did you change your mind and switch? What do you think of SharedMinds? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.