Matt, what’s your favorite desktop twitter client?

My #1 recommendation on desktop twitter clients is…..NONE.

Seriously, don't use one, ever.

It's the most insanely massive pointless timesuck in the history of procrastination and timewasters. Imagine if you had a permanent desktop application that featured Google Reader scrolling up every new post on every blog you follow combined with every new link on delicious from people you trust and every photo added to flickr by your friends plus tons of instant messages sent to all, constantly streaming with no end in sight.

IT'S A TIMEWASTING FIRE HOSE OF INFORMATION.

Do what I do, which is every few hours if you're at a stopping point or bored or whatever, go to twitter.com in a browser. Scan through the missives from your friends, maybe page back a couple pages to catch up to the last time you checked. If you think of something you need to say, toss it up as a new message.

THEN CLOSE THE BROWSER TAB AND GET ON WITH YOUR LIFE AND WORK.

I speak from experience. I've tried half a dozen twitter clients but if you make a habit of coding, photoshoping, and/or/especially writing for a living it gets in the way much more than it serves as a creative reading or writing outlet.

It's like leaving a TV on in the same room while trying to write a novel. Just don't do it.

14 Comments

  • May I suggest that an alternative may be the minimize button and some self-control? :D
    I just find it efficient to have only the unread posts listed and to have built in URL shortening.

  • At work I don’t use a twitter client, but at home I use Twitterrific, with the growl notifaction turned off on my creative-working-on-stuff computer (but on my couch/websurfing laptop it’s on). The thing I like about Twitterrific in no-notification mode is that it keeps my place in my tweet feed, so it’s that much easier to scan forward (and also the fact I can just skim forward quickly instead of having to click ‘previous’ a whole bunch and then go back in browser history or whatever).
    I can definitely live without Twitter though. Sometimes I forget to check it for days at a time, even with a client running.

  • “Imagine if you had a permanent desktop application that featured Google Reader scrolling up every new post on every blog you follow combined with every new link on delicious from people you trust and every photo added to flickr by your friends plus tons of instant messages sent to all, constantly streaming with no end in sight.”
    Um… I don’t think we have to imagine that. Last I checked, it was called FriendFeed. And yes, it’s something only a terminal information junkie would love.
    As someone with several thousand tweets on his history -much to my chagrin, I have to say- your proposition makes a hell of a lot of sense. Plus, the fact that you’d have to bother going to the site, log in and all that to post a tweet… acts like a natural filter to fight the urge to publish every single thought that goes through our heads, and worse, to spend inordinate amounts of time reading those of others. Not all of them are really that tweet-worthy..

  • I prefer a standalone client because I can compartmentalize it in my mind, designating it as ‘Twitter only there’. I quit the client when I am not using it, and turn it back on as needed. Sort of like switching the TV on and off.

  • This advice only applies to people with no self-control, who are easily distracted by — ooooh, a shiny!
    Sorry. What was I saying?

  • The problem I found was that most twitter clients for windows was writter with adobe air. it eats so much resources, twhril, tweetdeck and others are real resource hogs. i hate all of them.

  • My approach: Twitterrific, no Growl, refreshing once an hour, with the menubar icon alert icon modified to be the inactive black plus a faint grey eye. Combined with a low follow count, it provides a mental break every sixty minutes, if I want it.

  • While you are at it, unplug that internet cable. Massive time sink.

  • I’m sticking to the web version of Twitter on the desktop, partly because it’s distracting but mainly because I’ve not found a client that I’m happy with. There are a number of clients that I’d be happy with on my iPhone but nothing quite as usable on my Mac.

  • I found myself feeling similarly about desktop clients; another icon, too much noise etc.
    I took to using the RSS feeds to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Eventually I decided the links should be linked up, and a reply link would be nice, so I wrote TwitterRSS, a simple webapp that parses Twitter’s own feeds and adds nice links and a reply button.

  • Couldn’t agree more with this; I’m a big Twitter follower, but I only use twitter.com when I have some down time. Thunderbird is only open at certain times of the day, and RSS only gets done once a day in a focused session – I need to keep things compartmentalized. Instant notification of new tweets would absolutely ruin my work flow.

  • Initially I felt incline to have to use a Twitter application because every other blogger swore by one and although it is convenient, it’s certainly more distracting. I agree with you on all accounts and the only occasions I use an app to Twitter is on my iPhone but not on the desktop.

  • tircd forever. stick twitter in the manually checked irssi window like it deserves.

  • I’ve been liking the TwitterFox plug-in for Firefox. I turn off the pop-up functionality so I only look at it when I really want to. That keeps it out of the way but easily accessible for when I do want to catch up on tweets.
    Limiting the number of people I follow also helps. Tweets I find are easily and quickly scanned. Google Reader is a bigger time sink for me.

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