July 14, 2008

TweetDeck Twitter Client Gains High Profile Amid High Expectations

On July 4th, I had the opportunity to help introduce TweetDeck to the blogosphere as a fully-featured Twitter client, based on the Adobe AIR platform, with Summize integration, and the option to show Tweets in multiple columns, including dedicated screen space for replies, and customizable grouping. While the Twitter client space has already seen good penetration by Twhirl, Feedalizer and others, TweetDeck has gained a strong following over the last ten days, with many testing, and a good number, including me, using it as our default interface to Twitter's microblogging platform.

Tweetip Shows the Boom in TweetDeck Use and Discussion

In fact, the blog Tweetip, which watches Twitter closely to capture inflection points of when one term or another rapidly changes on the service, captured the boom in TweetDeck commentary last week, showing how much more mindshare the application got following our first post. But just because a lot more people know about the service doesn't mean it has a free ticket to application stardom. I asked people on Twitter and FriendFeed yesterday if they had made the switch. (See the FriendFeed discussion)

For every "Yes, been using it since launch+1, and still using and loving it!" and "Yes... And yes. Like it a lot" I received, I also got a few responses like "No. uses too much real estate" or "Use tweetdeck but prefer twhirl because it gives me Friendfeed and multiple twitter user accounts at the same time."

While I like TweetDeck's ability to display in multiple columns as a full-screen application in the background, others prefer the single-column look of alternative applications. Also, over the last week-plus, I heard calls to separate Twitter replies from Twitter direct messages. And in both cases, developer Iain Dodsworth delivered. Both the single-window feature, as well as a single column for DMs are available in the latest beta.

TweetDeck Added Support for Direct Messages

TweetDeck Added Support for a Single Column View

With such a healthy debut, users are expecting TweetDeck to grow up and do even more, including incorporating FriendFeed streams, as Twhirl and other newcomers do. I don't know that Iain has these plans, but if he did, the crowd which uses both might find the service even more intriguing. I'm also curious to see if TweetDeck would make any sense in an interface like the iPhone. With Twitterific debuting on the iPhone and iPod Touch on day one, it will be hard for competitors to make headway, especially those that use the AIR platform.

TweetDeck is in public beta, and can be found here: http://tweetdeck.com/beta/. Other reviews so far of TweetDeck include those from ReadWriteWeb, /Message and The Download Squad.