Yes, this is another post about Twitter. ProfHacker readers know how fond we are of the social media platform. That fondness perhaps explains why I’m writing an entire post to recommend the new Tweetbot for Mac, a Twitter client that runs a costly $20 on the Mac app store.
If you’re an occasional Twitter user, you probably don’t need such an expensive client for checking in on the service. If, however, Twitter has become central to your academic life, Tweetbot for Mac includes a number of features that might make it a worthwhile investment. My favorite features of Tweetbot are:
- Its beautiful design. Perhaps aesthetics might seem less important than functionality, but if you use your Twitter client frequently it certainly doesn’t hurt to use an attractive, responsive interface to do so. Tapbots (the designers) carried the design from Tweetbot for iOS—which I also recommend highly—to the desktop, and the results are lovely.
- Multi-column view!. This is perhaps my favorite feature of Tweetbot. The client allows you to open different views of your Twitter stream in separate columns. For instance, you can have your overall timeline open in one column, mentions (tweets directed specifically to you) in another, a saved search for a particular hashtag—say a conference hashtag—in another, a Twitter list in another, and the stream from a second account in another. Many power users have turned to Tweetdeck for this kind of functionality in the past, but since Twitter itself acquired Tweetdeck the client has, in the opinion of many, deteriorated. Tweetbot offers a compelling alternative to users dissatisfied with recent updates to Tweetdeck.
- Support for multiple accounts. Many Twitter clients offer this, but it’s worth including because, as I noted above, Tweetbot’s multicolumn view makes keeping up with multiple accounts much easier. Why might someone have multiple Twitter accounts? In my own case, I have a personal account, which I use most frequently by far, an another account for DHCommons, a digital humanities project to which I contribute.
- Syncing across multiple devices. If you have Tweetbot installed on multiple computers, iPhones, and/or iPads, Tweetbot will sync your account across them all through iCloud. This means that if you’ve been checking Twitter through Tweetbot on your computer during the work day and then open Tweetbot on your iPhone on the train home, the iPhone client will mark already-read Mentions as read and scroll to the last Tweet you saw in your timeline. This saves time moving between devices, which I appreciate greatly.
- Ability to mute less relevant content. Tweetbot allows you to turn off retweets from people in your timeline who retweet obsessively. The client also allows you to mute particular hashtags or keywords—so if everyone in your stream is Tweeting about an event you have no interest in, you can simply mute those updates. I don’t use this feature a lot, but it’s nice to have when I want it.
Tweetbot includes many other features, which you can read about at its website. I’ve found it a wonderful client and am happy to have spent the money for it.
As I noted, however, the client is expensive. In their release-day blog post, Tapbots attemped to explain why the software costs two or four times as much as many competors. In short, recent changes by Twitter to its API make it much more costly for third-party developers to use the service. Tapbots claims that the relatively-high price tag will enable them to continue adding features in the future, and they encourage customers unhappy with the price to contact Twitter about the recent API changes. I know that explanation may not be convincing for all ProfHacker readers, but I decided the cost was worth supporting a company designing Twitter software that is truly a pleasure to use.