Earlier this week I wrote a post asserting that the future of twitter is mobile. Using twitter on a mobile device is infinitely more valuable to a small to medium sized business owner, an entrepreneur or a solopreneur.
I can make a difference in promoting my business in between everything else that I have to do to run my business. It’s so much better on a mobile device, because I don’t have to sit down and make time for it, or choose twitter over another obligation that I have to do. When twitter is mobile, I can just fit it in around everything else, which in my opinion is the best way to use the platform.
I thought it would be helpful if I shared my impressions of the current top 3 twitter applications available and review the functionality of each. I’m a firm believer that you get what you pay for, so even though there’s an option to get free versions of twitter apps, for this post I’ll be reviewing the premium versions so I can share the full potential of the applications and spare you a rant about annoying advertising in iPhone Apps.
Full Disclosure: I paid for all three of these applications with my own money and I haven’t been paid to endorse my favorite, although we are looking for sponsors for TVPG Radio’s Get More Business Show.
Twitterrific Premium: Currently priced at $4.99 in the App Store.
What I Like About It: Twitterrific is a very elegant application. I found it to be pretty intuitive to use and the interface reminded me of a single column set up on TweetDeck (I’ll save my review of the TweetDeck mobile app for another blog post). It is easy to set up and use multiple twitter accounts on this application. I also like the way you can save searches for tweets by a specific twitter user to be accessed easily on the front page of the app. Twitterific has a handy feature to pull in tweets from people on twitter who are “Nearby”. You can also choose the online destination of the media that you post to twitter through the app. I think the note feature, which allows you to attach a note to a person’s profile (the notes are only saved on the mobile device) can be very useful.
What I Don’t Like About It: Twitterific, when compared to it’s two competitors is light on features. Perhaps this was done intentionally to maintain the simplicity and elegance of the application, but in my mind the price should reflect that choice. Even though there are instructions on how to set up a bookmark in Safari to tweet links from the iPhone’s browser, I can’t seem to find any way to shorten those links from within the application, let alone connect my bit.ly account. There’s no way to report twitter users who are clogging up your stream with spam. There’s also no way to see how many times a user has been listed and by whom, which makes it harder to determine who deserves a follow back and who is a spammer. It only offer’s 4 options on where you want your pictures and videos to be stored. Noticeably absent is the ability to store media on your own WordPress blog. Also noticeably absent is a map to show exactly where those “Nearby” tweets are. But one of my biggest irks with this app is that it still doesn’t work in landscape mode (when you turn the phone to the side to make typing easier). This has got to be one of it’s biggest drawbacks.
Comments: If you’re not interested in bells and whistles and aren’t interested in connecting with people who are local to you and are also on the Twitter platform, this might be the right App for you…as long as you don’t mind overpaying. [...Click here for a complete list of features from the Twitterrific Website]
Twittelator Pro: Currently priced at $4.99 in the App Store
What I Like About It: Twittelator is a feature packed Twitter Application. My impression from using this application is that the folks at Twittelator are determined to dominate this segment. Not only do you have all the functionality that Twitter provides online, but they’ve also gone above and beyond to search out any and all conceivable functionality and pack it into this app. Unlike Twitteriffic (but like Tweetie) when you search for twitter user’s near your location, you are presented with an interactive map as an interface. You can tweet photos, audio, and video, either by recording it inside the app or by choosing it from your media library. Twittelator also allows you to tweet the song info of the song you’re listening to on your iPhone. You can choose from 14 pages of emoticons and symbols to spice up your tweets. In fact I recently spent 2.99 on a different twitter application for this purpose only to realize that half of it’s functionality was already covered by Twittelator. Links to pics appear as thumbnails in your twitter stream. This is awesome! Out of the three, I think Twittelator has the easiest method of selecting hashtags (from list that is autopopulated showing the hashtags you’ve recently used) shortening tweets (yes, you can plug in your bit.ly account) and selecting users for @replies (also from an autopopulated list like the hastags, but that list is followed by an alphabetic list of everyone you follow). If you want to message someone, but you can’t remember the exact spelling of their twitter id, you no longer have a problem with this feature and it saves you the trouble of doing a search by their first and last name. Sometimes features win over elegance (depends on who you ask).
What I Don’t Like About It: I could see how some people might be overwhelmed by all these features. Some of them aren’t exactly intuitive. The placement of the “hot spots” on the tweets to link to additional information wasn’t what I was used to. It took some playing around with it to discover it’s potential. This effect is exaggerated when you’re using this app to manage multiple twitter accounts. I admit, I sometimes get lost in this app (temporarily) because of the abundance of features and what I could only describe as a bit of a quirky flow. I’m not sure if the flow is a result of organic growth and adding a bunch of new features over time, or if it was a lack of planning, or if someone else just thinks this feels natural. It feels natural to me now that I’ve spent some time with it and have adusted to it’s layout, but that wasn’t my initial impression.
Comments: Out of the three applications, this one has the most features and I would consider it the best value. Like an exotic performance car, buyers should expect little quirks here and there, but those quirks define the character of the experience. This app delivers the goods through deep features that mean lots of value to the user. There are a lot of additional features that this app has, I just picked my favorite ones for this post. [...Click here for a complete list of features from the Twittelator Website]
Tweetie 2: Currently priced at $2.99 in the App Store.
What I Like About It: Tweetie seems like a mid-point between Twitterrific and Twittelator. It has a lot of features, in fact most people would probably be very satisfied with the features that Tweetie provides. This app walks the fine line between elegance and feature rich. The interface is quite intuitive when you consider all the options that the user has. You can tell that it has been well thought out and it has a nice flow to it. I don’t get lost in this app. There are several features that are really cool. I love how tweets that are replies show the avatar for the originating twitter user, with a small inset of the recipient’s avatar. Another sweet feature is that the app “tears the page” when you refresh to pull in the most recent tweets. This gives you a visual reference of where the last update ended and the new update begins. This is very helpful. Tweetie has a great feature that allows you to create a contact in your address book by importing the twitter profile information. I have to admit, that’s pretty slick. With the latest version, there is also supposed to be an integration with foursquare, but I haven’t been able to figure out where to activate it (perhaps it’s because I haven’t authorized geo-tagging on my twitter account). This application packs in a lot of value for a lower price than its competition.
What I Don’t Like About It: I’m not crazy about how it handles the block feature and the report spam feature. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they’re there, but as prevalent as spam is on twitter, I would like to be able to use that functionality without pushing so many buttons (There’s several more keystrokes required than with Twittelator.). Tweetie 2 isn’t quite as feature rich as Twittelator, but it has some unique and valuable features in it’s own right. Overall it’s hard to fault this app.
Comments: Tweetie 2 is a great app at a great price. There are some bells and whistles that it doesn’t have, but the trade off is elegance, an intuitive interface and ease of use. Most twitter users would not consider this application to be light on features. [...Click here for a complete list of features from the Tweetie Website]
Summary: The first twitter application that I bought was Twitterrific. Twitterrific is still the most popular twitter app in the app store, but it’s not the right application for me. I need more features. After experiencing the competition, I wish I had spent that five bucks on something else. Out of the three choices, Twittelator is my current favorite. I love the flexibility and all the features. The folks behind this app seem to be making a serious effort to be the leaders in innovation in their segment. I like to support innovation. Having said that, I can see why Tweetie is the choice of so many of the movers and shakers in social media circles…people like Jack Dorsey, co-creator of Twitter. Tweetie 2 is really a steal at it’s price point. It is no doubt poised to be the popular choice, as it combines valuable features and intuitive design.
Hopefully this information has been helpful to you if you’re considering purchasing a twitter application. Who knows how these companies might change and improve their products in the coming months as all three are jockeying for the biggest piece of the pie.
If you use one of these three applications and agree or disagree with my analysis, I’d love to hear your opinion. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.
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