Thursday, September 4, 2008

From Twitterific to Twhirl

Twitter is a service for people to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of brief messages. In fact, the messages are limited to 140 characters (or less). Some people love it, others don't see the point of it. I use it but I'm still not totally sold on the concept. It's proven to be a good way to stalk podcasters I like though.

The big negative against me using the service regularly was that it's web-paged based and I'm just not the kind of person that will go to the twitter web page, go through logging in, just to check what someone has posted.

Enter Twitterific. This is a stand-alone program, that loads your twitter account settings and sits in the system tray. You can post directly from the program and read what others have posted. It works with Growl and is a pretty well done program. It makes twittering easy. There are only two drawbacks to using Twitterific as I see it; it costs money (~$15) and it only works with Twitter.

Enter (again?) Twhirl. Again, a stand alone program but this one is free, it connects to Twitter (even allowing the option for you to open multiple accounts), identi.ca, Friendfeed and Seesmic and seems to work pretty well. There are a number of extra tools that you can use (Twittersearch and Twitterscan direct links, for instance) that make it a nice tool. I'd prefer to have the software just sit in the system tray, but hiding it works just as well.

So, if you want an elegant, albeit one-trick-pony that does the job, go with Twitterific. If you want to be able to join multiple microblogging sites with the swiss army penknife styled option, then Twhirl might be what you need. However, Twhirl would be better yet if it allowed you to post to and read from all the different microblogging sites in one frame. If it is able to do that, it isn't immediately apparent to me how. And both Twhirl and Twitterific might be more useful if they worked with other sites (The Twit Army, for instance).

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