Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

App of the Week: TweetDeck

This week I’m looking at TweetDeck, although specifically I’m focussing on TweetDeck for iPhone. I actually don’t like the desktop version so much – I can see why it’s used by professionals, especially those looking after Twitter and Facebook accounts for brands, but it’s overkill for me. But the iPhone app, whilst more limited in scope, is a very nice little app, and beats out the official Twitter app in my view.

(I say ‘official’ – TweetDeck was acquired by Twitter back in May so it’s arguably also an official app – but there’s a proper Twitter client for the iPhone)

Most Twitter apps work in largely the same way, and as TweetDeck isn’t much of an exception I won’t go into too much detail about the basics – I’ll focus on what sets it apart and why I use it as my main Twitter client whilst on the move. Like most Twitter clients, you get columns for your stream (people you follow), mentions, and private messages, but TweetDeck lets you add others, such as searches or hashtags. I have a fourth column which shows tweets tagged with ‘#4sqsu’, in case another Foursquare superuser has tagged something important, which is quite useful.

TweetDeck includes support for ‘proper’ retweeting of other peoples’ tweets, but also lets you use ‘classic’ retweeting where you stick ‘RT @example’ at the front of the tweet. It also supports deck.ly, a service that lets you tweet more than 140 characters, in a transparent way that doesn’t require browsing to the deck.ly site – although as most other clients don’t support it, if you use it regularly you’ll probably annoy some of your followers.

A big feature, however, is Facebook integration. Status updates (and a few other things) appear alongside tweets in your timeline stream, and you can post status updates to Facebook from within the app itself – in fact, you can post the same thing to Twitter and Facebook. This is great for people who use both services, as you can read both at the same time. There’s also basic read-only Foursquare support, which shows some of your friends’ checkins, although the feature is a bit half-baked and you can’t use it to check-in.

I really like TweetDeck and as such it’s my preferred Twitter client. It’s a free download from the App Store should you wish to use it yourself.

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