In my attempt to become uber-connected to the Internet, I joined Twitter to see what all the fuss was about. It hasn’t become quite as useful or as informative as I had imagined, but after a couple weeks of use, I can see its potential. With the constant information deluge on Twitter, I needed to find a more efficient way to keep up with the Tweets rather than logging onto the Web site.
With a Twitter client, I can have the tweets fed to me as I do other things on my computer. Like an inbox, I can quickly scan the tweet and resume whatever I was doing. Also, these clients give me a much quicker way to update my own profile. The “micro-blogging” aspect of Twitter lends itself to spur-of-the-moment thoughts, so more ubiquitous interface means I’ll be less likely to lose my thought process while logging onto the site. There are more than 80 ways to tweet, but here I’ll quickly review the ways I access Twitter.
Twitterfox is an extension for Firefox that puts your tweets in the same window as your browser in case you like having everything in one place. This is my main interface at work mainly because I can’t install any applications on my computer. Each time tweets come in, a notifier window with an excerpt pops up temporarily, after which you can click on the Twitter logo in the corner of your browser to read the tweets. Twitterfox also has an @reply button on each tweet, making dialogue easier.
Twhirl — along with being a difficult word to type — is the desktop client I use on my MacBook at home and serves as the main portal to my Twitter account. Inside the customizable window, I can easily toggle between all the tweets, my direct messages and my archive as well as search for tweets related to any topic using Tweet Scan. You can find more Twitter functions when you roll over the avatars in Twhirl, such as direct messages and @replies. Each time a tweet comes in, Twhirl plays a chime and a pop up appears to notify you. I also like having an application outside of Firefox so that I can Command+Tab to the application instead of having to click to open and close the box in Twitterfox.
Twitterbar, another Firefox add-on is the simplest Twitter application I use. It only serves as a way to update Twitter, not read it. To do so, type your tweet into the address bar of your Firefox browser and click on the little button on the right. Simply hovering over it will let you know how many characters you have left to use. I don’t use this application very often, but it’s nice to have when you want to tweet quickly. Type and click — it doesn’t get much simpler than that.
You can also update your Twitter profile via text messages. I’ve tried a handful of other desktop clients, such as Twitterpod, Twitterific and Tweetr, but I didn’t like them as much. How do you Twitter?
Sidenote: In this age of turning nouns into verbs (e.g. “to Google something”), when someone updates his Twitter profile, does he Twitter or does he tweet?