Merlo ($1.99) by Francesco Pretelli is a simple app that helps you keep tabs on your Twitter statistics. If you’re as much of a Twitter nut as me and some of my other staff members, then Merlo is worth a look. It’s similar to other established apps like Birdbrain.
I’ve been on Twitter for over seven years, and it’s still my favorite social network because I can use robust third-party apps like Tweetbot. Besides engaging in conversation with others, I like seeing stats regarding my account, because I’m kind of obsessed with data. I’ve been an avid user of Birdbrain for years now, but when I caught wind of Merlo in the App Store, I was intrigued to see if it was any better than what I was already using.
Merlo features a minimal, sleek design that fits in well with the overall flat aesthetics introduced with iOS 7. The app’s colors of white and blue are pretty basic, but appealing and match the colors of Twitter. Everything is laid out in an organized fashion, so the app is intuitive for anyone, straight out of the box. While the initial setup may take a few moments to load up data, everything is quite fast from that point forward.
Merlo has your data split up into three tabs, which you access at the bottom: Timeline, Activity, and Statistics.
The Timeline view will show you your past tweets (the last 3000, I believe, unless you import your Twitter archive), and you can go back in time with the slider at the top of the screen. This section reminds me of apps like Tweet Seeker. Each tweet is timestamped (the date shows up above the slider), and Merlo shows you how many favorites and retweets each one got. Links will be tappable right from the timeline view, and you can tap on a tweet (as well as link) to bring it up in the in-app browser. A pull-to-refresh gesture will fetch any new tweets, and you can search for specific keywords in your tweets (regardless of date) with the magnifying glass in the corner.
I wish that the developer used a vertical scrollbar for going back in your timeline, because I found that the app is a bit finicky with getting to the end, since it’s on the edge of the screen. If you have a case on your phone, this becomes an annoying process. I also found that the slider is not exactly precise, as it will move slightly once you release your finger. I hope that the developer can change the scrolling method to something that is more optimized in the future. However, you can tap on the date at the top to bring up a date picker that utilizes the native iOS interface.
The Activity tab is where you want to go when you want to see how many new followers you’ve gained, who unfollowed you, the amount of favorites you’ve received, and any retweets. All of this data is shown in a single dashboard view, so it’s easy to get a summary with a single glance. Your totals also show up at the bottom of this view.
The coolest part of Merlo, though, is the Statistics screen. Here, you’ll find beautiful infographic charts of your account’s stat data. This includes followers trend for the past week, your most productive hour, best hour for retweets, and the type of tweets you send out. You can tap on “View More Stats” to get even more detailed charts, as well as change the data to reflect the past seven days or month. These infographics can be shared with others via the standard iOS Share Sheet.
While Merlo does have a settings tab, the only real thing you can do here is import your Twitter archive if you have it. Otherwise, it’s just stuff like following the developer, rating the app, providing feedback, and spreading the word on the app.
I like Merlo so far, especially the infographic views. These provide nice insight on how I use my account, and it’s always interesting to see the times I tweet the most, or get the most retweets. However, I don’t think that Merlo will be replacing Birdbrain for me just yet. I also want to see an improved scrolling method for the timeline, because the horizontal bar does not make sense to me, since it’s fussy and not precise enough — at least you can use the standard date picker for now.
Merlo is worth a look if you want an elegant app for keeping tabs on your Twitter account, but it can definitely be improved. You can get Merlo on the iPhone App Store for $1.99.