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Saturday, 14 April 2012

Twitter Tips: Raising Twitter game with TweetDeck

Twittering on the Desktop: Twitter Clients

I’ve mentioned elsewhere in the book that the real essence of Twitter, its secret sauce, if you will, is immediacy: a friend’s update comes in, you read it; a thought surfaces, you tweet it; an interesting tweeter pops up, you follow her; a topic interests you, you search for it.

If you happen to be hanging out on the Twitter site, then all of these Twitter itches (twitches!) can be scratched without delay (although constantly reloading your friend timeline to see if there’s anything new gets old in a hurry).

The rub here, of course, is that few of us have the staggering amount of leisure time required to constantly monitor the comings and goings of tweets and tweeters on the Twitter site. We have memos to write, spreadsheets to build, empires (however small) to rule. We have, in short, day jobs
that require us to focus on local tasks.

Fortunately, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the real-time Twitter experience. In fact, if anything it’s an opportunity to enhance Twitter immediacy because you can install on your local PC a Twitter client application that constantly shows you the latest tweets from your friends, and enables you to send updates, replies, and direct messages, follow people, search Twitter, and more, all from the comfy and familiar confines of your trusty computer.

Unfortunately, Twitter desktop clients are thin on the ground. Or, I should say, good Twitter desktop clients are thin on the ground. There are quite a few programs out there, but most of them are fairly pathetic, and some of those even charge you for the privilege! To my mind, there are only two really good Twitter clients for desktop use — TweetDeck and twhirl — and I cover them in the next couple of sections.

Raising your Twitter game with TweetDeck According to Twitter statistics site TwitStat (, as I write this the most popular way that people interface with Twitter is via the Twitter site, although the percentage of users recently fell below 30 percent, and is dropping slowly but surely. That means that more than 70 percent of tweeters use some sort of client, and of those, by far the most popular is TweetDeck, with more than twice the number of users as the next most popular client.

That popularity isn’t surprising because TweetDeck is loaded with features, and it wraps those features in an easy-to-use, attractive interface. TweetDeck isn’t a Twitter client, per se, but more of a social media client because it can also integrate with other services, such as Facebook (currently being tested) and 12seconds.

The focus here is on Twitter, of course, so I’ll just take you through TweetDeck’s Twitter-related features.


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