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Tweetbot for iOS - Todd's review

Tweetbot_for_iPad.pngOk, I hold my hands up! I'm addicted to Twitter and I'm also addicted to my iPhone. Many of you may already know this if you follow me on Twitter, but this has actually helped many of my followers. I'm often asked questions about Twitter and I'm also asked which app I use to tweet with. Many Twitter School attendees actually leave with the app I'm currently using after downloading it during the workshop. So I thought it was about time I reviewed it.

 The one thing about Twitter is that there are a wealth of options of connecting to it. During our workshops I use the official website twitter.com as it's a good basis for first time tweeters and it’s also the only place you can change every aspect of your account. As I always say, you have a choice, and the official apps and website are not always the best choice for everyone. iPhone and iPad have had some great updates to their official Apps lately.

Twitter for iPhone has improved dramatically and Twitter for iPad is really very good; they just don't quite do it for me. I dislike the way you have to swoosh the pages across almost in anger so you can get to the information you want. The very nature of Twitter is speed; speed of information and speed of use. Most mobile users access Twitter on the go in between meetings and work. The mobile apps offer a great porthole but they need to work with the time constraints. I really like the integration into iOS (Apple’s software) for Twitter, and the way many of the iPhone's and iPad's functions can quickly share via Twitter are great, so the official apps do have a place on my Apple devices.

So what do I use day to day? Tweetbot_for_iOS.png

Tweetbot! I discovered this brilliant app after a conversation on Twitter (this happens a lot). I've used so many apps over my two and a half years of tweeting. Some were brilliant, and some were frankly awful. Tweetbot has pretty much wiped them out of my memory though, even Echofon (which I was very fond of) has gone. So why is it so good?

Ease of use:

For me this is the most important part of any app. It must work first and foremost, so any app that is bug-ridden and glitchy gets deleted. It must be simple to get to grips with initially, but then have the depth to offer you more once you're au fait with it. Tweetbot is a gorgeous app to use. Now I know that's a strange thing to say, but just look at it! It's beautifully designed and the colours and graphics make the whole feel of it pleasurable. The function buttons are clean and chunky and beg to be tapped, and the simple, no-nonsense display keeps the 'noise' to a minimum. Links and @names are highlighted in blue, and the swipe-to-view conversation thread is very slick - far better than the messy 'Twitter for iPhone'.

Functionality:

Tweetbot has some brilliant tricks up its sleeve, but the standard functions like typing a tweet and checking your mentions remain clear and simple. I love the search bar across the top of the screen too. It’s always there for a quick search, but not too intrusive. I manage several accounts, so the ability to switch between them easily and having that function on the home screen is brilliant. Replying, retweeting and viewing the conversation is quick and easy, and once you get to grips with the usual method you can also double and triple tap the screen to get to a conversation or reply without even tapping the correct button.

Tricks: There are some very neat and well thought out tricks up Tweetbot's sleeve.

  • Mid-tweet search: You know when you're typing a tweet and want to include another user’s name, but you can't remember it? Well, in Tweetbot, instead of leaving the composer screen, you can search for that user - even if you don't follow them. Type '@' and then when you start typing, the 'find user' option appears at the top once you run out of options in the accounts you already follow. Click the 'find user' button and search for them, find them (check their account and profile if necessary), click their name and it puts in into your message. Simple but very effective.

 

  • Intelligent @names: Tweetbot remembers the accounts you follow, so like most apps it auto completes once you start typing @username. The clever thing about Tweetbot though is it also allows you to type their 'actual' name and still offers you the @name. For example @JoeBloggs' real name is John Smith. When I type @Joh... It offers me @JoeBloggs as a possible user name. What a brilliant function and it has got me out of a few brain blocks!

 

  • Hashtag suggestions: Tweetbot actually suggests hashtags when you start typing one. These can be ones you have used already as it remembers them all, or there could be one in tweet you're replying to, or (and this is brilliant) they are simply hashtags being used at the time. So often I've not known which hashtag to use for a particular subject, I put '#' and started to type what I guessed it would be, and hey presto - some options and ideas appear.

 

  • Tweetbot_for_iPhone.pngMute filters: I love blocking annoying hashtags, you know the ones. Everyone is talking about a subject you're not interested in, you can't block them all, and some of them are good accounts to follow. By 'muting' the hashtag (touch and hold for the hashtag for the option) you simply block the tweets from any user with that particular tag in - brilliant.

 

  • Saved searches: Simple and effective, I love columns in Tweetdeck for this very reason. Search for anything, see the results and then save, so you can simply select it from your list next time. These are great if you're like me and keep your eye on different topics on Twitter and want fast access to the results anytime. Saved searches are easily accessible from your home page too.

 

  • Settings: The depth of settings in Tweetbot is great. These range from individual account settings (great for multiple account users) to a timed mute function to quieten your notifications between certain hours. You can even modify your home screen by adding and removing buttons and features. Are you short-sighted? You can increase the font size within the app too (most apps are not affected by changing the iPhone or iPad font in the accessibility options). Now you can read your tweets as well as your emails and iMessages without your glasses!

 

  • Multiple notification sounds: This may be a simple thing, but when I hear my phone beep, I know what it's telling me. It might be a tweet, a text, a call, an email or maybe a Facebook notification. Tweetbot uses very subtle notification sounds and depending on whether it’s a mention, retweet, new follower or someone favouriting your tweet, the sound is slightly different. This is very simple and may not be something that will please everyone, but I think it's a superb idea. 

 

  • List management: Manage your lists easily as they are updated from your account. Add a list on Twitter and it automatically appears for your perusal in Tweetbot. Copy, email or send to Instapaper: It’s fully integrated, so sharing and saving information you find on Twitter is simple and fast.

Like many brilliant inventions, Tweetbot's brilliance lies in its simplicity and the way it answers needs you didn't know you had. It’s effective and elegant whilst looking amazing. Couple that with live streaming and the use of iCloud to keep your devices synched, and you've got one hell of an app. It's not free but I fully recommend spending the few quid it costs to download.

Best iOS App for Twitter so far?

You decide.

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My name is Graham Todd and I’ve been immersed in social media for almost three years. I train, blog and manage social media for business.

Find me on Google+

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