scorecardEverybody's going nuts for the new version of this Mac Twitter app, but it's not worth your money yet
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Everybody's going nuts for the new version of this Mac Twitter app, but it's not worth your money yet

Everybody's going nuts for the new version of this Mac Twitter app, but it's not worth your money yet
Tech4 min read

Finding the right Twitter client can be a difficult thing to do.

On desktop, TweetDeck rules the roost for those of us "power users" who need to see many different types of tweets and regularly interact with them.

On mobile, I'm not a big fan of Twitter's native client, and other than that there isn't a lot in the app store to write home about. Except one other app that's stood above them all for me: Tweetbot.

Tweetbot has a fantastic mobile app that's well worth the few dollars you have to spend to get it. They also have a Mac version, but it's much more expensive. Traditionally it's in the $20 range, so you have to really want this Twitter client to pony up for it.

Last week, Tweetbot rolled out it's much anticipated 3.0 update on the Mac app, clearly made to rival TweetDeck. People immediately started raving about it. And I finally decided to buy the app for the first time for $13 on sale.

But the transition from TweetDeck has been hard, and I've come to the conclusion that Tweetbot is really good, but missing too much right now in the early stages of this version to justify the heavy $13 price tag.

Screenshot 2015 06 09 11.12.36

Screenshot/Matt Johnston

To the right is a snippet of the basic Timeline in Tweetbot. It's clean, image previews are great, and the display is pleasing to look at.

If you choose to have it do so, your timeline will stream down and give you real-time information on when the tweet was posted (the seconds literally tick per post).

When you click those links on the left, that main Timeline Window changes to mentions, favorites, direct messages, your profile, a list, etc.

It's basic Twitter done well, and it's surprising how many clients actually don't nail this very simple idea.

If you double click a tweet, you get a very useful display. You can do all sorts of stuff here including getting easy links to the tweet, reply, retweet, or whatever else you want. When you click over the the actual account information things like muting and blocking are also very easy.

Tweetbot gets the basics perfect, and that's why it's always been my favorite mobile app. When you're on your phone, that's all you need. You want to look at one timeline in a clear way and easily interact with it.

But Tweetbot has bigger ambitions, as it should, on desktop.

TweetDeck is the industry standard on desktop because of how easy it is to see a lot of stuff at once and interact with what you want. You can simply see all your lists, favorites, notifications, and activity feed, and shuttle between them with ease.

Tweetbot is taking aim at the industry standard with the advent of columns of its own. I was eager to give it a shot because of my love of Tweetbot on mobile, and my frustration with TweetDeck consistently freezing and other bugs.

Every list you've created, along with mentions, favorites, searches, etc. can be opened up in a new column, allowing you to create a Tweetdeck-like look that appears to be perfect for power users.

Screenshot 2015 06 09 11.45.11

Screenshot/Matt Johnston

It looks great. I can see most of the stuff I want to see in a snapshot (I usually have Twitter always up on a monitor throughout the day), and every tweet has the great simple features of the general timeline.

But once you use it for a bit, the lack of simple multitasking features is frustrating.

For example, while my timeline on the far left streams in real time, the lists I've created just pile up new posts that I have to scroll through. That makes it impossible for me to just glance and get the most recent information on the topic I've created a list for.

Tweetbot pile up


You also can't move around these columns. The order they appear in is the order you create them in. If you want to move them around you have to recreate everything.

There's also no other theme right now. On mobile, Tweetbot is available in both light and dark modes. If you buy this version, you're only getting light right now.

I should note that I'm still using it and trying to get used to it. I paid $13 after all, and I don't hate it.

But how long I'll last without these key features, I'm not sure so far. It is notable though that all these issues will go away in future updates. So it's possible that soon, Tweetbot might be the app it needs to be to replace Tweetdeck. But for now, it needs too much work to justify that lofty price.

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