This is the first in a 3-part series where we’ll look at Twitter clients that enhance and simplify (or at least attempt to enhance and simplify) the Twitter platform. Twitter has become a real online phenomenon and the many uses for it have made the field of Twitter app clients quite heavy with contenders.
For this matchup, we’re looking at Windows (PC) clients. We’ve narrowed the field to those which are fairly commonly mentioned in Google and by Twitter users themselves. That narrowed the number of apps down considerably, so for Windows, we’re looking at three: Digsby, Seesmic, and TweetDeck.
This client is hyped as an instant messaging client, integrating Facebook chat, Skype, and other popular chat clients. It also accesses the Twitter API as a non-intrusive client. It’s a good choice for those who use a lot of IM and treat Twitter as just another IM app. There aren’t a lot of “extras” or big features with Digsby, but it’s a popular app just the same.
Seesmic Desktop (desktop.seesmic.com)
Hard to pronounce, but very powerful, this app has become the app of choice for a lot of Twitter users. It integrates all of your social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, etc.) into one app and allows for multiple accounts on each. For many, especially marketers or those who use one of their Twitter account as a glorified RSS feed, this is a big boon. This app appeared out of nowhere and gained a huge number of users and notoriety almost immediately.
In the world of Twitter apps, this is the “venerable old standby.” It and Seesmic are very similar, though Seesmic does have some advanced (multi-account) uses that TweetDeck doesn’t. For those with only one account on most of their social sites, though, TweetDeck is still a great choice. Most users will find that their decision comes down to a user interface and speedy-use preference. TweetDeck, for many, is easier to use and runs faster than Seesmic. However in the recent days our TweetDeck messages have been extremely delay, which leads me to believe they are not able to keep up with their growth.
Before anyone gets too angry, these are all clients and not plugins or Web-based apps. I will mention that we left out Twhirl because that is owned by Seesmic and is frankly not as useful or popular as any of the other three on our list here.
Overall, there is a lot going on in social networking, especially at Twitter. It appears that clients that don’t cater to more than one social site are doomed to fail, so expect the hyper-integration trend to continue.
Watch for our coming looks at Twitter apps for the Mac and Linux platforms.