TweetDeck: powerful, multi-platform, multi-device Twitter client

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TweetDeck is a free Twitter client built on Adobe Air technology. It is multi-platform (runs on Windows, Mac, Linux, and any other environment that supports Adobe Air) and straddles multiple devices (both iPhone and iPad versions are available). TweedDeck is now the most popular Twitter app.

Built by Twitter-client Iain Dodsworth, TweetDeck’s “reason for being” was to bring order to Twitter chaos by putting Tweets into categorized columns. Dodsworth, an ardent Twitter follower, grew frustrated with trying to keep track of his tweets.

He was missing what his friends were saying because there was too much disorganized buzz. In all the excitement and random noise, he was losing what he wanted to follow. And when he woke up in the morning (way over in the UK), he had just too many pages to scroll through on the Twitter site to catch up with his state-side friends.

[Editor’s note: this article was guest-written by Kate Mayo, a writer with a wide-ranging background. These days, she writes about online colleges for EarnmyDegree.com and the Education 3.0 blog]

Rather than just gnash his teeth over the frustration of being bogged down in tweets, Dodsworth put his software developer’s mind to work on fixing the problem. Built on Adobe AIR to act as a large interface across many platforms, he designed TweetDeck to function as management software for Twitter users. And in doing so, appears to have brought a rare combination of function and form to dedicated Twitterites everywhere!

The User Interface:

  • Columns. If you love following tons of people, but sometimes question your sanity for doing so, this is a great new approach to Twitter. The primary concept behind TweetDeck is grouping your tweets into multiple columns; such as by location or topic. You have lots of options; tweets from friends, TwitScoop, 12seconds, StockTwits, or searches (just to name a few possibilities). Groups are then filtered into a few, or endless, columns, similar to an RSS feeder. It puts an organizational slant on tweeting that suddenly brings a clarity to the flood of information coming at you.
  • The Time Slider. When life demands (or sleep) get in the way of staying up to date on your tweeting, you know you can wake to a virtual twittering deluge. To address this issue, a time-slider was built in. Instead of wading through pages and pages to catch up, you can display posts that are between 1 and 48 hours past.

Cross-Connections (not just a Twitter client). A strong theme that runs throughout TweetDeck is the ability to interface with multiple platforms without leaving your Twitter account. Not only does it give you the ability to send and receive Tweets and view profiles, but it essentially acts as a browser that can also connect through to places like; Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn. You can also link to YouTube, Vimeo, and other videos, all without even leaving your Twitter page.

You can also access and manage multiple Twitter accounts simultaneously, and for those times when Twitter is busy, TweetDeck can even get you in through a backdoor.

My experience using Tweetdeck: this app is very slick and easy to find your way around and get oriented. Explanations are straightforward and options for set-up are easy to find and easy to put into action. Perhaps one of the quickest and neatest downloads I’ve ever implemented with immediately usable results.

Am I a fool for enjoying the packaging? Hey, its sleek and classy-simple with its black and yellow theme and clean birdy logo. I like it, okay? But that’s not what I like best about TweetDeck. I’m no twittering fool, but I can see oh-so-many good uses for this baby. What a great organizational tool for all those tiny but potentially important communications that seem to be making the world go round these days. This is where business and personal lives can intersect, with messages streaming in real time from multiple twitter accounts. Friends and professional networking all at once, and yet in a perfectly understandable fashion.

The verdict: TweetDeck gives you the tools to get organized, but allows you the freedom to do that in your own style. And even better, it appears to be adapting to Twitter users needs as they unfold. It is a well thought out application; it is obvious that TweetDeck was created by someone who was intimately familiar with the difficulties that can be encountered with Twitter.

Compared to Seesmic, TweetDeck is just so much more ready to go and responsive. In a recent grudge match (web-poll), 71% of the judges gave it to TweetDeck over Seesmic (23% went to Seesmic, and an undecided 6% called it a draw).

Version Tested: 0.33.3

Compatibility: Runs on Adobe AIR. Tweetdeck is available across operating systems (MS Windows, Mac OSX, Linux); iPhone and now the iPad versions are available.

Go to the program home page to download the latest version (approx 2.57 megs). You will be required to allow Adobe Air installation on your machine if you don’t already have it.