The Ultimate Twitter Client Smackdown

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The Ultimate Twitter Client Smackdown


If you're a Twitter user who still uses the web or IM interface, you're missing out. Twitter doesn't have to be a website you always have open, instead, it could be a part of your regular digital lifestyle by flowing tweets to your screen at all times.


Twitter has an outstanding API which allows for many different desktop applications to send and receive tweets to and from Twitter. However, we've got you covered -- here are four popular Twitter clients for Mac OS X.





Twitterrific is one of the most popular Twitter clients available for Mac OS X. Twitterrific has a stunning user interface complete with Growl notifications integration. It allows for a 3-minute update interval, which rests well with the Twitter API's limit of 70 updates per hour. Twitterrific also uses API requests to display in-line direct messages and replies from all users, if you set that up in Twitterrific preferences. Twitterrific even includes support for AppleScript, and has the ability to update your iChat, Adium, or Skype status with your latest tweet.


Twitterrific isn't perfect, though. Twitterrific's limit of updating once every 3 minutes (unless you click 'update' every minute) isn't ideal for all users. However, with Twitterrific using up three API requests every 3 minutes, your 70 requests for the hour get used up quickly. This means that the 3 minute interval is a limitation of the Twitter API and not Twitterrific. Another drawback is that Twitterrific is ad-supported, unless you pay $14.95 to get rid of the ads. Twitterrific is perfect for those who love beautiful applications, and don't mind seeing ads.



Stunning interface

Inline direct messages and replies

Growl integration

iChat/Adium/Skype integration

AppleScript support



Ad-supported (one per hour), unless you buy a license for $14.95

3-minute minimum update interval





Twhirl is another popular Twitter client for Mac and Windows. Twhirl uses the Adobe Integrated Runtime (Adobe AIR) to function, making it compatible with Windows and OS X. Twhirl integrates itself with many online Twitter mashups such as TwitPic and Tweetscan to provide even more Twitter features. Twhirl also includes cross posting to a number of Twitter-like sites, such as Pownce, Jaiku, and full support for FriendFeed.


Not everything about Twhirl is great, though. Twhirl can't utilize any OS-specific technologies, such as Core Animation, because it runs within AIR. Another problem that rests with many AIR-based applications is that they hog your random access memory. There are also a few interface limitations that go along with Adobe AIR including no support for Growl, forcing Twhirl to make their own notifications system which isn't nearly as nice as Growl. The largest drawback of Twhirl is its extremely ugly user interface. As soon as you open up Twhirl, you'll most likely get a bad impression because of its ugliness. Twhirl offers great integration with other Twitter mashups, but lacks integration with the specific operating system you're running.



Twitter and FriendFeed support

TwitPic integration for easy photo posting to Twitter

Tweetscan integration for searching tweets

Cross-posting to Pownce and Jaiku



Interface isn't great

No OS-specific capabilities utilized because of Adobe AIR

Uses its own notification system, not Growl



Hahlo + Fluid + User Scripting


Fluid is a free site-specific browser for Mac OS X. With this amazing application, you can create desktop clients from web applications. If you don't have an iPhone or an iPod touch, you might not know about the amazing web app for Twitter on the iPhone - Hahlo. Combining Fluid, Hahlo and a user script, you will get a fully-featured Twitter client, with GreaseMonkey integration!


Hahlo is a great Twitter client with tons of great features. Hahlo allows you to search tweets using Summize, and gives you the option to display replies and direct messages inline with the latest tweets. However, when displaying everything inline, you have to manually refresh which is obviously a pain. You also have to take into consideration that Hahlo is based on the web. This means that Hahlo won't utilize any OS-specific technologies like Core Animation, however, because of the Hahlo+Fluid user script, there is Growl integration.



User (GreaseMonkey) script integration

Integrated tweet searching by Summize

Growl integration



Based on the web

No OS-specific technologies utilized because Hahlo is a web application

Manually refreshing required if you decide to show direct messages and all replies inline





TwitterPod is a customizable Twitter client for Mac OS X. Unlike all of the other Twitter clients in this smackdown, this one is an actual window. But it's not just a plain old window; every little bit is customizable to fit your liking. TwitterPod allows you to customize the font color, enable a background image, and even setup template messages that you use often. TwitterPod also gives you three types of views: All, Me, and URL. "All" shows you all of your friends tweets, while "Me" shows you your tweets and replies to you. "URL" shows all of your tweets and your friends tweets containing external links, which is a neat and unique feature. You can also setup status syncing between iChat and Twitter using TwitterPod. That way, you'll never have to update your iChat status again.


TwitterPod also allows you to use an image on the web as the application's background, which opens the door to thousands of possible interfaces. And just in case you don't like the window look, you can make the window partially transparent with a simple slider in the application's preferences. TwitterPod is great for those who love to customize their applications to fit their needs and liking.



Extremely customizable

"URL" view

iChat sync



Bulky window


The Bottom Line: Everyone likes a Twitter client with a different feature set. Twitterrific is for those who love a stunning interface and don't mind the occasional ad, or $14.95. Twhirl is right for those who want the most features and don't mind the Adobe AIR interface, while on the other hand, TwitterPod users don't mind the bulky window. And lastly, Hahlo is right for those who love iPhone applications so much that they want them on their desktop. There isn't a clear winner as of yet, so it's best to pick and choice which one is right for you.



+ Add a Comment

Nice try, but you actually forgot my favorite client in your "ultimate" smackdown! I've been using a Mac Twitter client called Twit Menulet. I used to use Twitterific but burned out on the ads.

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