Educators who use Twitter (aka Twittering Teachers) know that the popular micro-blogging and social networking site is an indispensable tool for staying up to date with news and trends in education. It is, hands down, the best tool for ongoing professional development that I have ever used – it keeps me in touch with innovative and thoughtful educators, from whom I learn something every day.
Because Twitter is so important to me, I need to take it with me wherever I go. For me, that means I need it on my Mac, my iPad, and my iPhone. The twitter.com website offers me some basic tools and is often my first choice, but when I want the full Twitter experience (most of the time) I turn to some great third-party applications that serve my needs well.
Of course, there are hundreds of “Best of Twitter” lists online, and this is only my list of apps that I use and love. This post is not intended to be a full review of all Twitter apps for Mac, iPad, or iPhone, but beginning Tweeters may find this list a good place to begin.
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At my desktop or laptop, getting to Twitter.com and using all its features (even the new layout, which I like) is easy. I frequently use website to Tweet pages I find while browsing. I use the “AddThis” add-on/plug-in for Firefox and Chrome, and it directs me to Twitter.com, and posting there is simple enough.
But I find that Twitter’s website is not so great for managing my followers’ Tweets, or for easily tracking the activity of people I follow. For this, I prefer Tweetdeck:
Tweetdeck can be customized many many ways. From the screenshot above, you can tell that I have organized columns for mentions, favorite tweeters, frequent searches, etc. Tweetdeck helps me stay organized, while also connecting me with other social media accounts, like Facebook. And, if you have more than one Twitter account, Tweetdeck lets you be logged in simultaneously.
The iPad is my newest device, and I’m in love. The iPad’s size means it keeps a low profile, making it easy to use in meetings without really being noticed. Further, it’s nearly full keyboard makes it easy to type a blog post or 140 character tweet quickly.
Sadly, the Tweetdeck app for iPad does not measure up (hopefully soon it will be improved!). On my iPad, I use Osfoora HD which has some killer features I enjoy, especially the one-touch ability to see all the lists that my followers have added me to – great to see who I’m grouped with.
Osfoora does most everything I need when I’m on the go. It lacks the saved lists functionality of Tweetdeck on my Mac, but it has excellent Lists functionality, and shows me all the “nearby” tweets (if you let it use your current location).
Twitter’s own iPad client is pretty good too. It’s basic, but sometimes basic is just right:
A frustrating thing about Twitter is that Tweets go away, seemingly never to be found again. Recently though I discovered Tweet Library for iPad to solve this problem. Tweet Library actually tracks down all my former Tweets (that’s right, ALL of my former tweets, up to 3,000) and stores them for me, accessible on my iPad. If there’s a particularly popular Tweet from last year that I’d like to ReTweet, it’s now on my iPad all ready to go. Can’t remember the location of a resource I tweeted a few years ago? It’s in the Tweet Library. Genius.
I’m glad that Tweetdeck for iPhone gets right what the Tweetdeck iPad app gets wrong. It stores columns and does a good job organizing them as long as I limit myself to 6 columns or so (more than that tends to slow things down or crash the app).
And of course, Twitter’s own app for iPhone is simple and elegant, a joy to use when I just want to post something simple, or check for messages.
That’s my list of my favorite Twitter apps as of October 2010.
Have a favorite app? I’d love to know. Leave your comment!