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

Tim Lenahan 02-02-2010

<firstimage=”//” />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 Manage Multiple Users on One Twitter Account with TweetFunnel Read More 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 4 Good Alternatives to TweetDeck & Seesmic Desktop (Twitter Desktop Clients) Read More .  In his post, he listed several good reasons someone might choose to go web-based, including:

  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?

Related topics: Cloud Computing, Twitter.

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  1. Patty
    February 20, 2010 at 9:52 am

    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
      February 20, 2010 at 10:36 am

      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.

  2. Deborah
    February 5, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    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.

  3. emilime
    February 4, 2010 at 1:20 am

    my favorites are:

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

  4. Gwen McCauley
    February 3, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    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.

  5. Robin
    February 3, 2010 at 12:55 am

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

  6. Ryan
    February 2, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    I'm not a twitter fanatic by any means and still trying to find the perfect app. I use tweetdeck, thecadmus, and brizzly. What are the best apps that specifically bring up content like the links, videos, and pictures from users?

  7. Robert M
    February 2, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Another vote for Tweetdeck.

  8. Armando
    February 2, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    What about "plugins" for existing desktop apps? (you know I'm talking Firefox here).
    I've been using Echofon for a time now because it takes several attributes of both webapps and desktop apps (it doesn't require you to "download & install", instead it's a "just add"; updates install automatically; it's soft on RAM and HDD; doesn't require that you open another app).

    I guess this makes it somehow a desktop app, but still, I think my point is taken.

    My vote goes for BROWSER PLUGIN client.

  9. Miguel Wickert
    February 2, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    I'm a Tweetdeck user. :) I tied chrombird but didn't stay with it.

  10. deralaand
    February 2, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    how would you classify setting up a web based Twitter app using Chromes application shortcut feature?
    I have done this for Facebook, Gmail & Google Reader.

    any thoughts?

  11. Dean Pomerleau
    February 2, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    I like the Seesmic web app. It is the only Twitter app I've found that will give me a really compressed display, allowing me to quickly scan through loads of tweets. Here is a picture of a nice compact Seesmic web view:

    Are there any other twitter clients (desktop or web) that can show tweets as compactly as this?


  12. Simon
    February 3, 2010 at 1:19 am

    Thanks, I like HootSuite. Check also, files hosting for Twitter

  13. Rita Gomes
    February 2, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Desktop all the way - it's the only way I keep up with all the twitter activity. and I'm a sucker for Seesmic. It makes is to easy to make sure you don't miss a thing (and by "a thing" I mean "your entire life reading useless tweets while trying to find the really good stuff").

  14. AriesWarlock
    February 2, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    I don't use either, I use Echofon for firefox.

    • Deborah
      February 20, 2010 at 10:40 am

      I also used Echofon for FF. Then it changed, now I have to use (and I love them, no doubt), Twitbin for FF, and the NEW(and best for my many uses), darn I can't remember the name! I'm in FF w/o add-ons at the moment. Will annotate later, but it rocks. I use it all the time. However, I still use Hootsuite just to get a panoramic view of all my accounts and special columns (lists) at one dashboard. But echofon was cool. Don't upgrade it, or you will find it has changed venues, it is now for cells, and Twitbin and the other one I can't remember, does what it used to do in the browser on your laptop/computer.

  15. Lisa
    February 2, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Desktop. I like Brizzly, but its still too quirky and buggy for my taste. I confess that I'm still using Digsby (yes, yes, despite the crapware installer, etc.), but also really like Destroy Twitter, as its simple and lightweight. Tweetdeck is great, but always seems to use tons of system resources.

  16. Seif Sallam
    February 2, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    Why didn't anybody mention Chromwty, its the best Twitter extension that i've ever used, and the second place goes to Metrist

    [Broken Link Removed]

    [Broken Link Removed]

  17. PZ
    February 2, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Desktop for sure - not only they are prettier, faster and more responsive, but they also integrate with the OS itself and can extend it -- something that webapps can't really do. Another thing: webapps can't work outside of the browser window.

  18. Marcel
    February 2, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    I definitely have to go with a desktop application. I used Twhirl for a while, but find myself attracted to Seesmic for Windows lately.