I live in a strange platform limbo. One foot in the Mac world, the other in Windows’. It is at times frustrating as I am forced to realize and adapt to each of the platform’s exceptional strengths, and weaknesses. I could write many posts on the matter, but let’s filter it down to one topic of the interests of this post: the choice of Twitter clients.
On the Mac we have a plethora of native clients to chose from, including the official client, Weet, Twitterific and Echofon. In the Windows world, we aren’t so lucky. There are plenty of choices, but frankly none of them are very good. Sure, if you don’t mind AIR you can run TweetDeck, and if you don’t mind the bulky chrome of Seesmic Desktop there’s oodles of functionality there. However, most of the Windows client marketplace is made up of awful WPF-based prototypes and abandoned amateurish attempts.
This leaves Windows users usually relying on the Twitter web experience which, to me, has never been particularly great. The new facelift certainly made it prettier, but did little to improve the experience for me. It continues to feel disorganized, and at times strangely confusing. I don’t speak strictly of the stream, but the whole. All of the statistics, trends, follower icons that pollute the sidebar, and the under-balanced body of tweets on the left that distort the weight of the page. I’m a minimalist, and Twitter is not.
Twitter is a simple concept, and it should have an equally elegant interface to match. Of course it is Twitter’s goal is ultimately to achieve this, but in the mean time, other’s have taken stabs at it by releasing userscripts, userstyles, extensions and add-ons. So many, in fact, that is frustrating trying to sort out the good from the bad.
Ultimately, in my personal endeavor to find the solution right for me, I came across three extensions that have helped me come much closer to tweet zen. I should note that I am a Chrome user, and these are extensions for that browser. You may be able to find alternatives for your browser of choice, however.
Feather – A collection of UI tweaks, it greatly streamlines the experience. It removes all images from the sidebar, cleans up the header, and overhauls the “reply” interface. I don’t think I could without this extension at this point.
Proxlet – Proxlet is an incredibly useful utility for blocking tweets sent from apps (like Instagram or Foursquare), muting users for periods of time, and filtering out unwanted hashtags. Aside from the Chrome extension, you can set it up to work with several clients including TweetDeck and Seesmic for Android.
Embed.ly’s Parrotfish – Extends the sidebar preview pane to support an outrageous amount of web services and sites. It’s greatly reduced the number of click-throughs I do in a day to view images, watch videos or preview articles.
These addons have made my Twitter life a lot more enjoyable and, if you use Chrome, I do recommend you give them a try. This sort of thing is very much a matter of personal taste, and some of these may or may not work to your preference, but they have helped me get a lot more out of Twitter.
In our daily life, tolerance and patience have great benefits: developing them will allow us to sustain and maintain our presence of mind.
What is your interface of choice for Twitter? What are your tools of the tweet?