Sometimes you just need to see more of the social landscape at one time. The new Twitter.com is great. It has its advantages, but when you’re managing multiple accounts or monitoring multiple topics, you may want to be able to glance quickly across multiple columns so that your eyes can sort the signals more efficiently.
Thankfully, there are plenty of multi-column Twitter clients available. I’m listing them in the order of my favorites, with some notes from my experience of each.
TweetDeck had ceased to be my favorite multi-column Twitter app because of some serious speed and bug issues with it’s Adobe Air version. Then I discovered TweetDeck as a Chrome App and I’m happy again. It has a sweet interface. You can arrange columns any way you’d like. For me, that means a home feed, a column containing all @mentions across all accounts (including Facebook) and another column as a universal Inbox (also all accounts), then a search column or three.
Hootsuite offers many of the same features as TweetDeck when it comes to handling multiple accounts and multiple networks, but it has several additional bonuses that make the new “pro” pricing worth keeping around. I’m a pro member and it’s because of the ability to automatically send tweets from an RSS feed, the ability to schedule tweets in advance (so I don’t annoy you all at once) and see a column of those pending tweets, and the freedom to assign multiple team members to Twitter accounts.
I like TweetDeck’s user interface better, but I do like the Tabs feature of Hootsuite. It’s just missing the ability to combine streams in a single column.
MarketMe Suite is kind of a new kid on the block and it’s rising fast in terms of competing with the existing multi-column clients. In fact, I think its feature set is already ahead of the pack. It has pretty much all of the functionality of Hootsuite and TweetDeck, but affords a few other tools as well including branding your tweets (via a Twitter application) so that you’re tweets are “via Your App.” This is ingenious. Most other clients claim this link juice real estate for themselves, but MarketMe has jumped out front in being unselfish with this feature.
MarketMe Suite also includes other functionality normally handled by third party apps such as following based on keywords, unfollowing, auto-following back, and auto-DM’s, as well as a daily email of all @mentions. It has the most robust feature set I’ve seen and sports a sweet user interface as well. The only reason it’s not quite at the top of my list yet is that they’re still working on the Facebook streams and future additional networks. And, while Hootsuite, TweetDeck, and Seesmic all offer very nice mobile apps, MarketMe doesn’t just yet.
Seesmic has a sweet platform. I think it’s stronger than all the rest in terms of actual software with it’s desktop versions sporting such sweet user interfaces. It also allows more flexibility in terms of additional streams. You can integrate Youtube, Google Reader, and many other services. Like TweetDeck for Chrome, it allows for fused columns representing different accounts. I don’t see many negatives.
Tweetvisor is nice to use primarily because it’s browser-based only. It was one of the earliest multi-column clients to offer real-time updates without refreshing. It also offers a Ping.fm-like ability to post to many networks at once.
Destroy Twitter is a lot like TweetDeck in its feature offerings with some nice hidden features such as filtering terms out of your stream. So if you’re annoyed by #ff tweets (and I can’t imagine that, but if), you can filter them out.
Statuzer is another multi-column Twitter client that runs on Adobe Air, so it’s universal to most OS’s. It offers a different user interface by showing media (photos and videos) in-stream rather than in a lightbox or by opening a browser.
Janetter is a Windows-only, free multi-column Twitter client. Since I’m a Mac nut, I couldn’t do much dissecting of this one, but it’s worth taking a look. I will say that it’s… cute. If you visit the link, you’ll understand. I’m not sure how important having a cute Twitter client is to you, but if this is high on your value list, go for it.
Did I miss anybody? What’s your favorite of the eight multi-column Twitter clients? Or do you just despise them all?