Twitter pays my rent." But I don't actually use any Twitter's own clients or website to do this, with one exception: Twitter for iPhone.I'm an avid Twitter user. I spend much of my day monitoring tweets for news stories. As Marshall Kirkpatrick wrote almost 4 years ago, Twitter helps me do my job better: "
And as of the release last night of Tapbots' new Twitter app, Tweetbot, I think I'm ditching the official Twitter app on my iPhone now too.
The stakes are rather high here. After all, last month, Twitter's API lead Ryan Sarver issued the decree to third party developers: stop building Twitter clients. Work on something else on the platform, he said.
I'm glad that Tweetbot didn't listen.
The app costs $1.99, while the official Twitter iPhone app is free. That immediately puts the bar higher for Tweetbot, but it has features that make it worthwhile. It does have all the standard abilities you'd expect in a Twitter client: support for multiple accounts, search, old- and new-style retweets, list management.
But it also has a few new features that no other Twitter app does, and these make navigating the Twitter timeline and Twitter conversations much more pleasurable and much more efficient. This navigation is accomplished via gestures.
Double-tapping a tweet, link, or avatar in your timeline takes you to their respective details. Tapping and holding those elements gives you options. And finally you can configure triple-tap to reply-to, fave, retweet, or even translate a tweet. Swipe to the right to view a conversation thread. Swipe to the left to view replies and related tweets. That might seem confusing, but it's actually quite intuitive, certainly making it easier to read and respond with having to hit the "back" button.
Reading tweets, of course, can be overwhelming particularly if you follow a great number of others. With Tweetbot, you can actually set a list as your main timeline. (You do use lists, right?)
The app doesn't currently support push notifications as the official Twitter client does, but it is integrated with Boxcar so you can can set up notifications if you choose.
If Tweetbot Beats the Official Twitter App, Then What?
Add to all this, the fact that the app is beautifully designed, and I'm willing to agree with the praise from others: it's the best Twitter for iPhone app currently available. I say that as a power user, of course. I say that as someone who wants her mobile version of Twitter to be sleek and efficient. I say that as someone who needs Twitter on the iPhone to fully support lists.
So while Twitter insists that no one else work on building (better) clients, I am glad that Tweetbot has. At the very least, the app demonstrates why innovation is important to the Twitter ecosystem. It will be interesting to watch how Twitter will respond.