There are many Twitter clients for the Mac, some of which are almost indistinguishable from others, but the official Twitter client stands out thanks to its focused yet comprehensive feature set, small footprint, and conveniences that save time when tweeting images and URLs.
Platform: Mac OS X Price: Free Download Page
- View your Twitter feed, at replies, direct messages and more from a compact window
- Find and follow other users
- View user profile information
- Favourite other users
- Easily retweet with a few clicks
- Built-in URL shortening
- Real-time search
- View current trends
- Easily share images
- View tweeted images directly within the app when the image is shared using a supported service
- Supports multiple accounts
- Programmable global shortcuts for showing/hiding Twitter and composing a new tweet
- Customisable notification options
The official Twitter client is the rebranded version of Tweetie, which was a much-loved Twitter app to begin with. Twitter bought Tweetie and just renamed it Twitter, so it didn't really stop being what is our pick for the best Mac Twitter app. It's very simple to use, handles multiple accounts, and does pretty much everything you'd need a Twitter account to do. The interface is very straightforward, you can customise a few shortcuts and notifications, and it has some great in-app conveniences like image sharing and URL shortening. While it's not perfect, and while other apps may better fit the more specific needs of power users (or customisation junkies), the official app really hits the sweet spot by providing virtually everything you'd need and little of what you don't.
While it's nice that the official Twitter clients provides built-in URL shortening, it's necessary that you use one of their services. If you had, say, a custom Bit.ly domain (or simply prefer a non-supported) service you're out of luck.
Twitter will also refuse to update messages if you're signed in to a particular account on too many machines. This generally isn't a big deal for individual accounts, but if you're part of a group that uses a single account it can become problematic.
While some may not find this to be much of a disadvantage, the official Twitter app is only available via the Mac App Store. So long as you're running Mac OS X 10.6.6 and don't mind updating apps through the Mac App Store application, this is fine. Not everyone falls under this category, however, so the official Twitter app isn't as accommodating as it possibly could be.
TweetDeck, which is now owned by Twitter, is probably the most feature-rich Twitter app you can get. It also runs cross-platform, so if you're not solely a Mac-user you might appreciate being able to use the same app on pretty much any computer. As for downsides, it is an Adobe AIR app which some people don't like (ahem, Whitson). Additionally, it takes up a lot of screen real estate. Basically, TweetDeck isn't for everyone but it might be for you. It's free, so it try it out and see what you think.
Kiwi kind of looks like a Twitter client made by Mozilla, in the sense that it looks fairly similar to Firefox. What Kiwi brings to the table is a tabbed interface and lots of themes, all while still maintaining a fairly small footprint on your screen. It's free to use, but for $US1 you can get rid of the ads.
If you prefer to manage more social networking services than just Twitter, try Seesmic. It can handle Facebook, LinkedIn and more. It also comes with a web version so you can use it online even when you're away from your computer. Socialite is another alternative to Seesmic and does many of the same things, but it also costs $US20. Nonetheless, some people really like this app regardless of the many great free alternatives.
There are obviously many more Twitter clients out for the Mac, but these pretty much cover the different types of alternatives you'd want. If you have a Twitter client you really love that you think is a worthwhile alternative, however, please share it in the comments.
Lifehacker's App Directory is a new and growing directory of recommendations for the best applications and tools in a number of given categories. This week, we're focusing on Twitter clients.