Looking at TweetDeck anew

tweetdeckwindows

One of the software programs that really kick-started wide use of Twitter in its early days was TweetDeck, first released in 2008.

Acclaimed in particular by early adopters, TweetDeck quickly became the third-party app of choice for power users of Twitter because of its ability to let you do far more with Twitter than you could on the website. Developed to work on Adobe AIR, it ran on different platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, it just worked. There was a version for mobile devices and one for iPads. Broadly, TweetDeck in its various guises was regarded as superior to other third-party Twitter apps. It enabled you to manage your status updates to Facebook as well.

In short, if you were a power user, TweetDeck was your tool of choice.

The shine wore off a bit when Twitter acquired TweetDeck in 2011 and subsequent development of the app seemed to shift in a different direction. Soon it fell out of favour with many, including me, especially after a native Windows version was released which I didn’t think was very good at all.

Earlier this year, I switched to MetroTwit, a third-party app from Australian developers Pixel Tucker, that is designed for Windows, in particular Windows 8. It offers many features similar to those you see in TweetDeck.

While I do like it a lot, especially the overall look and feel, in my experience it can be a bit flaky with frequent crashes and other errors. Maybe the culprit includes the .NET Framework 4 required to run MetroTwit (and I think this version of .NET is a bloated beast that slows down my PC). So if you want stable, MetroTwit may not be the app for you yet. The version for Windows 8 might be better; I haven’t tried that one.

Yesterday, I encountered a terrific in-depth assessment – far more than just a review – of where TweetDeck has got to now which has prompted me to try the Windows version again.

In “How I learned to stop worrying and love new Tweetdeck,” Storyful journalist Felim McMahon presents a thoughtful, detailed perspective of TweetDeck from the journalist’s point of view. But anyone will find this most useful in understanding a great deal about TweetDeck’s key functionality and how to make use of it.

It starts thus:

[…] This article examines some reasons why those who are not using Tweetdeck should use it — including a tour using quick-fire diagrams. I’ll also look at some reasons why people who have avoided the new Tweetdeck might want to make peace with it, and some workarounds for its remaining shortcomings. (Aficionados handling a large number of lists may like to skip to the end of the piece for some handy tips.)

Why use Tweetdeck?

The best and perhaps singular reason to use Tweetdeck is to monitor and manage a large number of Twitter streams at once. Many of the streams you’ll want to keep an eye on are related to your own account – including your Timeline, Interactions and the Activity column.

What follows is a rich essay including annotated screenshots and diagrams that really do help you fully understand all that McMahon explains. It is the best explanation of what you can do with TweetDeck that I’ve read.

Read it yourself, and see if you don’t go and grab TweetDeck straightaway!