Chirps – Read links on twitter, distraction-free ($0.99) by Polydice, Inc. is a nifty app to have if you are the type of person who enjoys reading links from your Twitter stream.
While I am an RSS person myself (with preferences for Google Reader, of course), I know that some people just don’t subscribe to sites via RSS. In fact, for some, it is just easier to follow sites on Twitter and get all the links to articles from there. You most likely also get links from all of your friends on Twitter as well, so it’s not just websites’ Twitter feeds that will be giving you links to click. Why not make this entire experience better? What if you want to just filter out all of the links from the rest of the noise? With Chirps, this is entirely possible.
Chirps sports a very minimal and clean interface, which is great to see in an app designed for mostly reading links. You can log in to one Twitter account, or even multiples, if you have them. You can also add your Instapaper, Read It Later, or Readability account (if you have one) for saving links for later reading.
The app will open with the main timeline, but you have access to your Favorites and any lists that you created or follow. These can be found by swiping the screen to the right to reveal the sidebar menu (you know, the one in Facebook and Path), or you can tap on that button as well. To refresh the tweets, just do everyone’s favorite pull-to-refresh gesture.
Regardless of which view you’ve selected, you will see tweets on the screen in a simple and elegant interface. You get to see clearly who’s tweet it was, how long ago it was posted, and who retweeted it (if applicable). Chirps provides options to just see tweets with links, or all tweets – to switch between the two, just tap on the “Chirps” name in the top bar.
If a tweet has a link, the only thing you need to do is tap on it – it will open the link automatically. Of course, it will open the webpage first, but there is a “reading mode” that is supplied in the app. This mode is like Safari’s Reader mode, where just the text and images are presented to you, all ads and other unnecessary elements stripped away, for your reading pleasure. However, when you go into the full reading mode, you won’t have access to the bottom toolbar, but you will be able to retweet and favorite it.
If you choose to remain in the webpage view, the bottom toolbar will be accessible with options for replying to the tweet, reading later, tweet the link, open in Safari, copying or emailing the link.
What if you want to just check out what’s going on in your entire timeline? No problem – tapping on a tweet without a link gives you options to retweet, favorite, or reply. Chirps also allows you to compose new tweets from within the app (text only), so you never really have to switch clients, unless you need to check on your mentions or direct messages or post a photo. Additionally, if you are curious about someone’s profile, you just need to give their avatar a quick tap – it will display a quick bio.
Chirps is a simple app that makes it a pleasure to view a link-heavy Twitter timeline. It may not be a full Twitter client, but I found it a great way to view and read links. Having the other abilities (retweet, reply, favorite, compose) are just a bonus. It would be great to see an iPad version of the app in the future, as the iPad (especially the new one) makes a much better reading experience than the iPhone.
If you are the person that uses Twitter more of a subscription tool for keeping up-to-date with your favorite sites or has a lot of link-happy friends, then make sure to check out Chirps in the App Store.