by Jamie Young
September 20, 2011
Wouldn't it be nice to have one Twitter app — one universal app that is, for all devices — with all of the wonderful tools you need? We don't want to have to fumble around with multiple clients to get the user experience we actually want. We live in a world of 140 characters (or less), we want instant satisfaction. We want options. Although some Twitter clients offer some of these tools, there isn't just one that has them all. Here is a list that offers up five tools that every Twitter app should implement no matter what.
Tweet SyncingTwitter is based on real time. Real time updates, news, information — all at your fingertips in the moment, for the moment. Twitter isn't meant to be an RSS feed. But sometimes we need to play catch up. We can't always read our timeline right when it happens. Because we can't always keep up in real time, we don't like to have to scroll through tweets we've already read to find where we left off. Keeping our Twitter timeline in sync between devices is a luxury, at this point, where it should really be more of a requirement. Tweetmarker helps make this possible. It's essentially a bookmark for your Twitter feed. Although it is already implemented in some Twitter clients for both computers and mobile devices (Twitterific, Tweetbot, Tweetings, WebMarker), not all clients have this ability, so it's hard to keep our mobile and desktop clients up to date with our "last read" tweet.
Geo-fencingAnother idea to keep your timeline in sync would be a Geo-fence. The idea is that whenever you come within a certain radius of another device or area, the Geo-fence would automatically register this. Near your home computer, for instance, whatever Twitter client you use on your smartphone or tablet will turn off notifications. This way, you won't be bombarded with push notifications while you're already reading these tweets on your computer. Receiving multiple notifications for the same tweets, in more than one place, is unnecessary. Geo-fencing would be just one way of fixing this issue; and an excellent way of doing so.
List Management and Lists as GroupsAlthough not every Twitter user may utilize lists, but for those who use Twitter a lot or just have a lot of followers, lists are extremely useful. Twitter on the Web is a nightmare in general, but managing lists easily there? Forget about it. It's a complete mess. Using lists has become a hassle more than anything because there isn't a good way to deal with them. Lists could be such an amazing tool, and more people would use them, if only Twitter (or a Twitter client) would implement an easy and intuitive way to deal with them. Not only is managing lists a necessity for list users — adding, removing, editing — but the ability to treat Twitter lists as groups (think: Google+) would be beneficial, as well. Say I just want to tell my AppAdvice coworkers about a new app I am reviewing, but it isn't out yet so I don't want my entire timeline to read it. The ability to just select my "AppAdvice" list and send a tweet that only those on the list can view would be perfect. This would be an extremely useful tool for all Twitter users.
Keyword Filtering and Muting UsersNot all of us care for sports. To be honest, during football season, I kind of want to mute all of you. Some Twitter apps offer this option (e.g., Tweetbot), but not all of them. Or maybe we just don't want to see everyone live tweeting about the new "Always Sunny in Philadelphia" episode until we can get home and watch it via DVR — you know, like smart folks. Without commercials. This is where the ability to filter out keywords comes in handy. Whatever your dislike, the ability to filter out tweets with certain words or hashtags would make your user experience that much better. Some clients offer this (e.g., Hootsuite), but this should come packaged with all clients as it makes the Twitter user experience better.
Search and ArchivingHave you ever needed to refer to a tweet and not been able to find it? Even searching Twitter on the Web, only brings up results that are somewhat recent. All Twitter clients should allow you to search archives of tweets, preferably all tweets, but your own at the very least. There are some third party solutions to this. Tweet Library for the iPad is a big one. Though, it only stores up to 3,200 of your most recent tweets; only these are available for searching. Being able to search all of your tweets, of all time, would be a very useful tool — even if it were only possible on the Web. It should be possible. These are just some ideas. Tweetbot comes pretty close to meeting all of these criteria, but there still isn't one app that does it all. So, if you're listening Twitter, you know what you have left to do. Let us know, in the comments below, what tools you find to be a necessity when using Twitter and which Twitter apps help your experience or hinder it.
Tweetbot for Twitter (iPhone & iPod touch)
Tweetings for Twitter
Twitterrific for Twitter
HootSuite for Twitter
Hootsuite Media Inc.