I’m : a programmer, writer, podcaster, geek, and coffee enthusiast.

Why Tweetbot for Mac matters

Tweetbot for Mac has entered a public alpha. I’ve been using it full-time for about a week, and it’s young but very promising. Here’s a full review if you want one, but this won’t be one.

This app’s existence is a big deal for a number of reasons.

First, this might be the last new full-featured client that Twitter permits. (They may not even permit this, but I bet it’ll be fine for at least a while.)

It’s especially important to me because the Mac is where I use Twitter the most by far, and I’ve been using Twitter’s official Mac client (formerly Tweetie). There are other great Mac clients, but this one has always fit me best, and I have its flow and shortcuts deeply ingrained into my muscle memory.

I use a Mac client all the time, for almost all of my Twitter use. Without a great Mac client, I’d use Twitter about as often as I use Instagram: in occasional bursts on my phone when I’m bored, but not regularly.

But when Twitter bought Tweetie from Loren Brichter, I think it’s clear now that they only cared about the iPhone client. They’ve severely neglected the Mac and iPad clients, effectively killing some of the best Twitter apps ever made. (Given their updates to the iPhone version, maybe we’re better off.) Twitter for Mac in particular is in severe disrepair, with significant bugs going unfixed for over a year and major recent features still missing, such as native photo uploads. And now that Loren no longer works at Twitter, it looks like nobody there is willing and able to keep these apps healthy.

Tweetbot for iOS has been the perfect modern client for displaced Tweetie refugees. It works mostly like Tweetie,1 but with very active development, modern updates, a unique style, and feature progress unconstrained by the strategic costs and restrictions of Twitter ownership.

I’m happy to report that Tweetbot for Mac serves the same role already, even in its incomplete, semi-buggy alpha state. (Anecdotally, it doesn’t seem significantly buggier than Twitter for Mac.)

As long as Twitter doesn’t squash third-party clients, Tweetbot for Mac will thrive, and it’s my client of choice today.

  1. The one major departure that puts a damper on my use is Tweetbot’s interface for accessing multiple accounts. Tweetie for Mac stacked them all in the sidebar, with little blue dots to indicate unread messages in each account. In Tweetbot for Mac, just like their iPad app, accounts are buried under a toggle menu in the sidebar, so the only way to know whether your other accounts have new messages is to clumsily switch through them all, pausing to let each one load. ↩︎