I recently caught a live broadcast by Loic Lemur, founder of Seesmic. He was doing a presentation on the new Seesmic Desktop Twitter client, which will take Twhirl’s place as one of the most popular Twitter clients. Up until now, Tweetdeck has been a step ahead of Twhirl in regards to popularity, but Seesmic Desktop may change that for better or worse.
I would say that Seesmic Desktop has completely bit Tweetdeck‘s style and feature set, but I think that’s a bit harsh. Twitter users are trying desperately to wade through mountains of information from their followers, hoping they don’t miss anything good. This makes certain features a must for any successful client.
I’m not really a fan of organizing people I follow into groups, but I also understand this to be a useful tool in keeping up with what you’re interested in and making sure you don’t miss anything. Both clients make sorting your friends possible. Seesmic Desktop calls them “Lists” while Tweetdeck calls them “Groups.”
If you’re interested in tracking certain topics, your brand, keywords or anything else that’s happening on Twitter, you need Twitter search. Not only that, but you need to be able to save these searches and track them. Both clients offer the ability to save searches. Each one opens in a new column so that you can keep an eye on it.
Both clients offer multiple columns, but there are some slight differences. Tweetdeck is limited to only 10 columns while Seesmic Desktop lets you have as many as you want. As it was with Twhirl, Seesmic Desktop replies have a different background color than other messages, so it’s much easier to see who is talking to you. In Tweetdeck, you can simply scan the Replies tab, but this isn’t as elegant a solution.
There are a few things that Seesmic desktop does that I think are pretty awesome:
- Sharing Photos - I’m always sharing photos and Seesmic Desktop gives me the ability to drag-n-drop photos or take a snapshot with my web cam. You can share pics with Tweetdeck, but you only have the upload-a-file option which is not as immediate.
- Multiple accounts – Manage multiple Twitter accounts from one interface. Seesmic desktop hides duplicate tweets for these accounts. This is a very important and powerful feature for anyone maintaining separate identities for business or otherwise.
- Group multiple sources into a single stream – You can actually combine your Twitter and Identi.ca (remember them?) accounts into one column to make things easier to track. This may not be as useful if you follow lots of people, but definitely a cool feature.
- Sidebar - Any client that spawns multiple columns or sub-windows needs to have a way to get to them quickly and Seesmic Desktop’s sidebar makes that simple. The sidebar needs to have a hide option, though.
When I first installed Seesmic Desktop, it worked just fine. Well, it worked as fine as pre-release application should work. I was surprised that Seesmic video wasn’t yet integrated since it’s called Seesmic Desktop, but I’m sure that will come. The problem now is that it doesn’t display the main window anymore. I’ve talked to @askseesmic briefly, but have come to no solution, even after installing the latest update and even completely removing it and starting over. But it is just a pre-release.
- Tweetdeck is much more Twitter-specific and has a host of features for managing your Twitter contacts not available in Seesmic Desktop yet.
- 12seconds.tv integration makes it easy to keep an eye on your fellow 12ers as well as post quick videos.
- Facebook integration allows you track your friends’ status updates
There is one major thing about Tweetdeck that is an issue for me. Everything is gray on black. That might be cool for a MySpace profile but, if they plan to become anything more than just another Twitter client, it will need to change. If you open Tweetdeck and take a step back, there is no information there. You’re forced to read rather small text to figure out what’s what. The only color there is the avatars.
Another problem is the gratuitous left and right scrolling you have to do to see all the columns. There is no menu or sidebar to tell you what you have open or to give you quick access to it. It’s like a tabbed browser with no tabs, just a scrollbar. Even Tweetvisor provides a better interface than that and doesn’t suck all my memory. The Tweetdeck memory issue has still not been completely solved and I suspect the recent “fix” is only duct-tape and chicken wire.
Both Headed Towards Aggregation?
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to bash either client. Both have excellent features and could be very useful depending on your specific needs. The good thing here is that there is a competition to be the best and most useful to you, the user. Twitter may have become as important as it is by being first, but neither of these clients will succeed without being the best.
Both seem to be slowly integrating more and more services. Pretty soon, they may morph into something more like a desktop FriendFeed, aggregating your social media world. There is definitely space for something to tie it all togther for us. A lot of new apps have come out that are trying to fill this niche, and now our favorite Twitter clients are headed in the same direction.Category: Trends, web 2.0 | Tags: Friendfeed, seesmic desktop, tweetdeck, twitter