Yesterday Twitter annoyed thousands of its UK users by dropping the SMS text message notification feature for UK users, citing money woe as the reason behind it. But don’t despair, Twitterati! There are many other ways to feed your Twitter addiction, rather than just via the web or SMS, so here’s our Top 10 alternative Twitter clients.
1.) TweetSMS or ZygoTweet – The most obvious solution to not receiving SMS from Twitter is to… receive SMS from someone else about Twitter. These two services have thrown their hat into the ring and have said they’re preparing an SMS service, but neither have launched yet. In the meantime, I guess you’ll have to find another client. Good job there’s another nine on this list.
2.) Twhirl – I’m going to go out on a limb and categorically say that there is no better desktop Twitter client. It’s built using Adobe Air, which means that it will run on both Windows PCs and Macs… and even Linux if you can get the Adobe Air alpha installed. It has the nicest interface, built in functionality for handling @ replies, and will even post to Twitpic (uploading photos) and save you time by making links smaller using sites like TinyURL for you. It supports multiple accounts, and even works with FriendFeed too.
3.) BeTwittered on iGoogle – If you’re an iGoogle user then it makes perfect sense to embed this on your homepage, so that every time you open your browser you’ll get your latest tweets. Using BeTwittered also means that you’ll have access to Twitter wherever you have access to Google, subverting any blocks your work might have put on Twitter to make you do more work. Excellent.
4.) Twitter Mobile – If it’s the “portability” that you’re most upset about losing though, then why not go for the official Twitter mobile site? It’s basically just a cut down version of the main site. Point your phone at http://m.twitter.com to use it it.
5.) TwitterFox – Another browser based solution, that this time integrates Twitter directly into your Firefox browser so that whenever you’re surfing the web, you’re also exchanging inane chit-chat with people in the tech sector.
6.) Twitter Facebook App – Twitter have also launched a Facebook app which lets you view and send tweets through Facebook, meaning you don’t have to go through the torture of having to type in a whole different web address. More importantly, this app allows you to synchronise your tweets with your Facebook status, so even your old school-friends who aren’t on the bleeding edge of the tech zeitgeist will see what you have to say about the Fire Eagle API or the latest CSS specification or whatever.
7.) Twibble – Twibble is both a mobile Twitter client for java-supporting mobile phones and a desktop Twitter client built on Adobe Air similar to Twhirl. The mobile version is particularly good, boasting built in support for Twitpic, and will even work with the GPS on phones like the N95 so you can put your exact location into tweets, and if anyone on your list has an “L:” location set, you can view where it is on a map at the press of a button.
8.) Twinkle – Twinkle is another mobile client, but for the iPhone instead. As an iPhone app, it certainly looks nice, and it seems to have lots of functionality too – including an innovative location-aware function that uses your iPhone’s GPS to find tweets sent by people near to yourself – even if you’re not following them. At the moment though, it will only find other Twinkle users. I hope they open the location data up to non-iPhone users in the future so that we can join the fun.
9.) DS Twitter – This is one for any scoundrels who own a Nintendo DS flashcart like the R4DS. They’re not just for awful piracy, as there’s actually a thriving Nintendo DS homebrew scene – homebrew being software written by normal people rather than the big developers. Some clever person has written a DS Twitter application – it requires a little bit of setting up (editing a text file), but after that, it works like a charm, even supporting profile images. Probably not the most practical client but fun all the same… and certainly many magnitudes more practical than #10.
10.) Code your own? – The reason why there’s so many Twitter clients is because it is so easy for developers to get into as Twitter provide lots of documentation and an API through which to do it. Hell, even me, a guy with a degree in politics, has managed to get my head around it and write my own silly Twitter-accessing PHP scripts. Go on, give it a go!
By James O'Malley | August 15th, 2008