Turning inner space into outer space

July 12, 2012

A first look at Tweetbot for Mac

The official Twitter app for Mac has worked fine for me for years. It’s easy to use, has all the functionality I need, and I love the way the little birdie icon lights up in the menu bar when new tweets are available.

The thing is, though, that it hasn’t been updated recently — and features are lagging behind what’s available at the Twitter website. It makes you wonder if Twitter is hoping we’ll give up on the app and instead use the site, where we can be exposed to advertising.

With this background, it’s good to see the alpha release of Tweetbot for Mac — an app that has been well received on iOS and which is being actively developed. If you like an app with lots of features, then Tweetbot may be for you.

I won’t go into an exhaustive list of what Tweetbot has going for it, but here are a few items that caught my eye:

• Pictures are shown in thumbnail view. You can click on them for a larger view and hover for options such as saving or sharing it.

• Searching gives you the option of looking for keywords within tweets or users. It would be nice if you could look for phrases.

• Search also lets you browse trends, people and top tweets.

• Followers and those you are following can be listed within the app.

• Integration with favstar is interesting, even though I’ve never heard of it before now. (Time to catch up!)

These are all nice to have, but none of them is enough to make me switch, especially because Tweetbot’s developers will expect payment for the finished product. What might sway me is if Tweetbot were to eventually allow synchronization between Mac and iOS. That would definitely be handy.

I would also like to see an icon in the menu bar similar to the one the Twitter app uses. For me, Twitter is a sort of news wire service, and the blue bird in the menu bar alerts me to fresh news.

For more complete reviews of Tweetbot for Mac, check out macstories and 9to5Mac. Just remember this is an alpha version, which is not even as good as beta, so there will be lots of refinements, bug fixes and new features to come.