Two books that have had a great influence on my productivity over the last six months have been The 12 Week Year and Deep Work.
A couple of days I excitedly downloaded and installed the latest version of TweetDeck, the social networking application that is now being developed by Twitter themselves.
What a disappointment! What have they done to it?!
Can’t distinguish columns
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve always had some fairly major niggles with TweetDeck’s usability, particularly if you’re using it to manage multiple accounts. There is no easy, quick, don’t-make-me-think way to distinguish which column is associated with which account.
The addition of a tabs option, or colour-coding columns would go a long way to making the system easier to use. In my humble opinion.
But what TweetDeck did excel at, that the likes of Sobees and MetroTwit didn’t was its handling of multiple accounts, and the flexibility in terms of column placement, notifications customisation (what shows, when and where).
That flexibility, particularly in the area of notifications, has now gone in the new instance of TweetDeck. I’m sorry to see it go—it was very useful.
Posting an update
The new TweetDeck also seems to assume that you’ll always be using it in a full-screen (maximized) view. Old TweetDeck worked well in maximized view too, but at least you could still post an update when viewing only one column.
In the old TweetDeck the post-an-update window sits at the top of the column. In the new TweetDeck, however, the post an update window disappears off the edge of the viewport:
The send update keyboard shortcut has also changed, from Enter to Ctrl+Enter (on Windows), which takes a bit getting used to.
When it launched TweetDeck supported only Twitter, but it soon added Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Google Buzz and Foursquare. I used to use just Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn within TweetDeck.
When I logged into the new TweetDeck I saw only Twitter and Facebook. That said, within the options I can’t actually see how you would add a Facebook account—but maybe it only allows one, which kind of makes sense, and so these settings have been hidden.
I can understand why Twitter might want to limit the number of rival networks it allows you to access using their application. But similarly, I do wonder if this will drive users away to find other clients that do support the wider range of services that they use.
One really neat feature that I loved, and didn’t really think about until it was taken away, about the direct (private) messages (DM) column in old TweetDeck was that you could also see the DMs that you sent other people.
In conclusion I have to say that I’m really disappointed with the new TweetDeck. In many ways it has become less useable and less useful. I suspect that over the next few weeks I’ll evaluate the other social media clients and move to one of those.
In the meantime I still have TweetDeck 0.38.2 installed, so I’ll continue to use it.
- Old TweetDeck — 7/10
- New TweetDeck — 3/10
There’s an interesting review by David Bayon on the PC Pro blogs entitled New TweetDeck: more mainstream, less flexible which has one paragraph of the positives of the new version and nine paragraphs of the negatives.
…for me the new client takes away much of what made TweetDeck so useful – namely the flexibility and control – and replaces it with much of what makes the Twitter web client so annoying. I don’t like the Twitter web interface, that’s why I use TweetDeck. Or at least it was until now. The former buying the latter means that distinction is only going to get narrower from here on in.
I’ve tried out a few Twitter clients now:
Twitteroo was the first I tried, and I like it. It’s fast; it allows me to enter what I’m doing and tells me how many characters I have left (max 140); shows me a timeline of all my Twitter contacts/follows.
Spaz has possibly the worst name of any Web 2.0 technology I’ve come across. Probably until Mingr! comes along. It’s built on Adobe AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) and looks and feels great.
It has nice features like being able to easily reply directly to contacts, or reference them in tweets (using @username). It has a couple of nice themes/skins too.
But I just couldn’t get used to the name, so I uninstalled it. Seriously?! Why did they choose that name?!
As well as the normal timeline you can choose to see your own timeline, replies, directs, archive, favourites, friends, followers, and even use it to search Twitter.
I’ve just discovered too that you can send @replies and direct replies to folks by hovering over their profile avatar. It’s pretty much the perfect Twitter client.