Alternative Twitter clients come in all shapes and sizes, and each has its own distinctive features. How are you to decide which are superior to the others? You aren’t – you’re supposed to visit this beautiful place called Walyou and have a great time while constantly sharing its posts on social media sites. (Just kidding, we’re here totally for your benefit and our enjoyment. Yes, you read that correctly.)
I’ve compiled a list of the top five must-have Twitter clients for bloggers, keeping in mind which features would appeal to the blogger community and which would not. For example, I know that bloggers love to link RSS feeds in their Tweets and they hate cluttered desktops and operating systems. Therefore, I focused on the desktop and web applications that each of these must-have Twitter clients offer, but have occasionally mentioned mobile compatibility and such, just in case anyone was wondering. By the way, Tweetie is not included in this list since I no longer consider it an “alternative client,” due to the fact that it has been dubbed official by Twitter.
HootSuite is my number one choice of Twitter clients for any blogger. First off, it has an extremely impressive list of current “big name” users. Some of the companies that use HootSuite are Fox News, BET, Facebook, TED.com, and the LA Times – an impressive list. If Facebook uses HootSuite, it has to be a pretty good alternative Twitter client. One of HootSuite’s major benefits for bloggers is the simplicity with which you can schedule Tweets and Facebook updates, which can be set to go out automatically anywhere from hourly to daily.
Another major plus to Hootsuite is its ability to track Twitter statistics. Not only can you keep a record of followers, who can be organized into groups, and Twitter referrals, you are able to determine how many times a certain Tweet was viewed in a set time period! This, combined with translation abilities, a “Cloud Computing” system that doesn’t require any download, mobile apps, and shortened URL links to RSS feeds, makes HootSuite the optimal choice. Though it has amazing features and is, in my opinion, the best Twitter client for bloggers, it costs $5.99/month, which is obviously something to consider.
After Seesmic bought out Twhirl in April of 2008, their product became competitive in the Twitter client industry. Like HootSuite, Seesmic can schedule out posts and translate content into many different languages. Also, the desktop version works on both Mac and Windows, which is nice. There is an issue you may want to think about before choosing Seesmic. If you know about alternative twitter clients, you are aware of API, which limits how many calls you can make to an external program. Twitter allows you 100 of these “calls” per day, but Seesmic limits you to 80. Why? So the desktop program uses less of your computer memory. The only problem is … Seesmic does not track your API for you so you have no idea when you’re going to run out.
On the bright side, a bonus to the limited API is that the program will not use as much memory on your computer, but I hope that Seesmic reconsiders tracking API. Additionally, Seesmic provides you the ability to make groups, which organizes your followers nicely and can display their “real” names along with their Twitter accounts.
Twitterfeed, as its name implies, was created specifically for linking RSS feeds and shortening URLs. This Twitter client for bloggers also has a wider range of options for scheduling out updates than do most other clients, as well as having the ability to work with multiple RSS accounts.
With Twitterfeed, you can send several RSS feeds to one Twitter account, or vice versa. For example, I have three different blogs, and I post on all of them regularly. I can send all of those posts, with shortened URLs, to the same Twitter account. I can also send one RSS feed to multiple Twitter accounts. Twitterfeed’s focus on RSS makes it a contender for bloggers’ alternative Twitter clients.
TweetDeck is a desktop application that runs on both Windows and Mac computers, which is a plus. (I’m a hardcore Mac user, but I accept that other people have rights to compatibility, too.) While TweetDeck has some features that other alternative clients lack, such as Twitscoop trends and 12 Seconds video sharing, it also has issues that others do not. For example, if left on for extended periods of time, TweetDeck can use over 1GB of RAM! Also, TweetDeck allows you to make follower categories, but if you accidentally close a category, you lose everything in it. This means that if you spend hours on end categorizing followers and then accidentally close out of that group, you will never rescue it from the depths of Cyberspace. Whoops.
Just because I pointed out a couple of potential issues with TweetDeck, do not be deterred. Aside from these, which perhaps will be remedied by TweetDeck, this Twitter client is not a bad choice for bloggers.
Twitterrific is a viable option for bloggers looking for an alternative Twitter client, despite the fact that I much prefer clients like HootSuite and Seesmic to this desktop download. Twitterrific does allow you to e-mail Tweets, which is rather unique, and show the real names of Tweeters. The notifications are customizable and the download is compatible with Twitpic, both of which are a bonus. In addition to those features, it accomplishes the basic tasks you would expect from a solid alternative Twitter client meant for bloggers. Oh yeah, Twitterrific also has an amazing logo which they turned into a Twitter desktop toy.
Jack Kieffer is a teenage gadget geek and the founder of Cool Gizmo Toys, a site dedicated to providing fun tech and toy reviews. He loves reading about unique gizmos, playing the piano, volunteering with kids who have special needs and blogging for the Chicago Tribune.