iPhone apps midi-review – Birdhouse and TweetDeck

Friday, October 02, 2009 3:47 pm By BigLig , In

I’m in the middle of preparing a huge post that lists all the apps I have on my new iPhone after the first month, but there’s a few I wanted to talk about with a little more detail than I’ll have room for. I’ve got sixty-eight apps on there at the moment, so they’re going to be lucky if they get two sentences each in the big review!

The first two are my Twitter apps, TweetDeck and Birdhouse.

Now, everyone loves Twitter, but isn’t two apps for it a bit over the top? Well, not really, because they’re both specialist apps that focus on different things.

Tweetdeck specialises in reading Twitter, especially for those (like me) who follow too many people.

In regular use, it looks like an ordinary Twitter client – a list of the latest tweets from all the people you follow. But if you swipe sideways, or push the columns button at the bottom, you get a different list of tweets that meet some rule you have defined.

For example, you could have a column with just the tweets from the celebrities you follow, or a column of the real people. You could have a column of all the tweets containing a particular phrase or word. (I have a column of tweets including the words “Exchange Server Down” which is really just pure schadenfreude on my part).

Essentially it lets you have a two-tier system. I still want to follow everyone that I do, but there are some groups of tweets I’m particularly interested in, and want to be able to quickly filter the list to just those. Tweetdeck lets me do that.

One particularly nice feature, by the way, is that it syncs my columns with the cloud, so I can see the same columns with Tweetdeck on my Mac as I do on my iPhone. Unfortunately the iPhone version, unlike the desktop versions, only does Twitter, and not Facebook. However, the iPhone Facebook client is pretty good, so I can wait for them to add this.

Birdhouse specialises in writing Twitter, especially for those (like me) who want to write more carefully.

While the traditional criticism of Twitter is that it’s just people writing about what they had for lunch, some people put more effort in. They write things that they hope are funny, or interesting, and to do this properly you need to be able to write drafts and edit them. Birdhouse does this. You type in a potential tweet, and it saves it. You can come back to it later, and revise it. You can rate it with marks out of five, and when you’re happy with it, you can send it out to the world.

That’s all Birdhouse does, and many people find this confusing. “A Twitter client that you can’t read Twitter with?” they cry. But, silly as it sounds to agonize over 140 characters, if you want
to improve the quality of your tweets, you need a place to keep them while you work on them.

Besides, if I really want to tell the world what I had with lunch, with photos, then Tweetdeck can handle that.


Eva said...

Thankyou! This is really useful & informative for a non techy like me. I am savibg for the IPhone. Desperately want/need one & these applications will be so useful, particularly as I won't have to be stuck to the pc to tweet & can also be alittle more careful with my tweets! Brilliant!

9:46 am
hraabhraab said...

It will be interesting to see your list of apps. The entire App Store concept is intriguing because it reminds me of the home-brew development of the olden days.
There seems to be a lot of interest in the iPhone as an up-and-coming games platform as well. Even Ricky Gervais mentioned on his blog playing a puzzle app called Boxed In, 'during the Emmys'.

12:38 am