I’ve heard Leo Laporte prattling on about twitter for what seems like years on TwIT and have been actively avoiding it for ages. However, a few weeks ago I finally caved in and decided to give this whole Twittering thing a go. My overall impressions are that it’s a great idea, just poorly implemented. The service is about as stable as a pencil balancing on its point! I’ve only been twittering for two weeks and already I’ve experienced two Twitter outages, there’s no word for that other than poor. Then we come to their website. What an ugly and clunky mess! Yea, it works, but not that well and it’s far from a joy to use. Then we come to the main thrust of this post, Twitter clients on the Mac, overall I’m not really that impressed. I’ve settled on a client that’s good enough, but that’s the highest praise I’ll give it.

[tags]Twitter, OS X, Titterific, Spaz, TwitterPod, TwitterPost[/tags]

The first app I tried was Twitterific. I’d heard nothing but glowing reports about it. Version Tracker had it listed as free but it isn’t anymore. They now want $15 for it. It seems to be a functional client but it didn’t inspire me at all. Were it free I’d probably be using it, but it didn’t strike me as being worth $15 so I started looking for free clients.

The first one I came across is a free cross-platform client called Spaz. It’s based off of Adobe’s Air engine and works. The interface is not Mac-like, it doesn’t integrate with the menubar or with Growl, and it’s main window is just too big. I want a small un-obtrusive twitter client and Spaz doesn’t really cut the mustard on that front. Its look also reminds of the brown Zune, not exactly a claim to fame. It is also insanely badly named. Here in Ireland Spaz is a not-so-nice slang word for a mentally disabled person. However, it works. It puts up growl-like notifications when new tweets come in, it displays the full content of the tweets in my Twitter feed, and provides a text-box for sending tweets from. It just doesn’t feel like it belongs on the Mac though, it would be more at home on Windows where re-inventing GUI elements is regularly confused with creativity by third-party developers. I’m not used to that on the Mac and it bugs.


Not being overly happy with Spaz I went on the hunt for more options and soon found that none of the others reached the rather low bar set by Spaz. The lowest point had to be Twitterpost which couldn’t even manage the task of actually connecting to Twitter when I tried it earlier today. Not far off that low point is TwitterPod which can’t handle the fundamentally important task of displaying a tweet in its entirety. I mean come on, Twitter limits you to 140 characters, hardly a glut of information!

So, it would seem that the only two viable choices on the Mac are Twitterific and Spaz, one is not really worth the money, and the other is good enough but no more. There is certainly a lot of room for improvement here, rather like the service itself really.