If you spend any time on the social Web, you most likely have at least one Twitter account. It has deeply affected the way we communicate by allowing us to share information with the world instantly. Twitter’s popularity has given birth to a booming market of Twitter applications for your Mac, and a lot of them are not free. Fortunately Twitter’s official Mac app is free, and it is surprisingly one of the best free Twitter apps for OS X.
Tweetie: The Official Twitter App for Mac
The official Twitter for Mac app was originally named Tweetie. Twitter was impressed by the app, acquired the organization that developed it, and has enhanced it significantly since. Not only does the Twitter for Mac app now use Twitter’s streaming API, but it auto-shortens URLs, and the speed has been enhanced to three times that of Tweetie. Clearly Twitter has invested a lot in the app, and it shows.
Easy to Look at and Easier to Use
The Twitter for Mac app is very aesthetically pleasing, and Mac fans will agree that it fits right in with OS X’s UI. Your Timeline view is very clean and easy to read, and using the icons on the right side of the screen, you can access all of the basic Twitter functions.
Clicking on the @ icon shows you all of your Mentions. If you want to see a conversation, double click on one of the mentions, and it will display the entire conversation timeline.
Clicking on the envelope icon displays Direct Messages to you and from you.
Double clicking on a Direct Message opens up an iChat style conversation view using speech bubbles.
You can also access your Twitter Lists, search, and edit your profile from this screen. That saves you the trouble of digging into the application preferences or going to Twitter.com to make changes.
Time to Actually Tweet
When you click on the Tweet button, a small pop-up window appears with the ever familiar character counter. Just type your message and click the Tweet button.
Instead of making you click an extra button or set up an extra service, the app automatically shortens URLs for you. Unlike other application that visually convert the URL to the new shortened address, Twitter for Mac’s character counter treats the URL as though it has already been shortened by Twitter’s http://t.co service.
Perusing the Preferences
The Preferences in Twitter for Mac will not overwhelm you with their complexity. You can choose whether or not to display the Menu bar icon, you can choose an Image service, you can control the Font size, you can control how links are handled and how tweets are displayed, and you can record shortcuts to show/hide the app or start a new tweet.
If you have multiple Twitter accounts, you can add them all, and use Twitter for Mac to control all of them.
To switch between accounts, just click the profile image.
You can also choose where and if you want to see notifications. You can display them in the Menu, use Grow, show them in the Dock icon, or choose not to display any notifications at all.
- The app is super fast, and displays new Tweets in real time.
- The interface is visually appealing, and intuitive.
- You can configure your notifications so you do not get bombarded by bouncing icons or Growl messages.
- You can set up multiple accounts and switch between them easily.
- You can choose your picture service.
- URL shortening happens automatically, so you do not have to do anything but paste or type the URL.
- You can access and update basic account information without logging into Twitter.com
- You have no choice in URL shortening service. The application uses Twitter’s URL shortener.
- There are no geolocation services.
- You cannot schedule tweets.
If you just want a simple, free, easy to use Twitter application, Twitter for Mac is a great choice. It is fast, covers all of the basic Twitter functionality that a typical Twitter user would need. It fits into the OS X aesthetic, and it is extraordinarily fast. If you are a power Twitter user who wants control over the URL services, geolocation, or interoperability with other services like Instapaper, Twitter for Mac is not the application for you. Since it is free, we recommend you try it on for size.