Thursday 5 November 2009

Tweetdeck v Seesmic: ten deciding features

Mashable is running a series of weekly face-offs between various web apps: Firefox v Chrome, Wordpress v Typepad and now Tweetdeck v Seesmic Desktop.

I've been using Tweetdeck now for a while, after switching from Seesmic's older client Twhirl. Relatively satisfied, I haven't checked out too many alternatives. Yes, that appears to be an atypical lack of curiosity.

Now there's very little to decide between Tweetdeck and Seesmic. They both have very similar user flows. Both have Twitter and Facebook integration.

So where are the differences?
  1. When I make Seesmic full-screen, the left edge of the window is cut off. This appears deliberate but I like to have a just a tiny margin of space between the edge of the screen and the text on it. It's a small design point only. 
  2. Changing the size of the window in Seesmic is a pain. You have to click on the bottom right corner. I usually keep my Twitter client open on the right side of my screen. So to get the right width I have to narrow from the right then drag it across to edge of the screen. Once done, however, this ceases to be  a problem.
  3. Worse than this, Seesmic has a limit to how narrow you can have your window, which means that I don't have full control over how I set up my screen.
  4. Tweetdeck has buttons across the top of it for your different accounts. To post to Facebook or Tweet a message, you select which accounts you want to use by clicking the button. Seesmic's solution reduces the space used by putting a drop down menu next to the update window.
  5. One of my gripes with Tweetdeck is that the menu of options largely disappears when you reduce the window because the options are along the top. Seesmic has cleverly put them along the side and also allows you to minimise the menu so just icons are showing. Very tidy.
  6. The HOME Timeline in Seesmic is one of the best features. You can include replies, direct/private messages and search results in the same column. And at the bottom of the column is a cunning menu, enabling you to quickly move through, @ replies/mentions, DMs, messages you send, favourites and user search. This functionality existed in Twhirl and I missed it on switching to Tweetdeck.
  7. The other timelines in Seesmic allow you to mix and match different accounts or keep them separate. This is not possible in Tweetdeck.
  8. One of the clear differences between the two clients is in the image upload. With Seesmic, I can take a picture with my built-in webcam and upload it directly to Twitpic or similar service. Since I'm taking daily pictures of my facial hair growth for Movember during this month, this is a feature that is for the win!
  9. Closing Seesmic does not mimise it to the system tray, as Tweetdeck does since the last upgrade. However, it irritates me that I can't close Tweetdeck without going to the system tray.
  10. Other handy buttons on Seesmic include the toggle sound on/off for notifications, for one-click ease of use.

I haven't looked into CPU usage. For many people, this could be the deciding factor. For me that's not an issue: my current laptop has enough processing power and memory that I have not yet found myself grinding to a halt, as I did with the 2006 machine.

I'm going to give Seesmic Desktop a few days' use and then decide but I have feeling it might stick.

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