Seesmic is Dead, Long Live Seesmic

So Twitter buys Tweetie, and some say this is another Apple-like maneuver designed to smack down third party developers and control the whole show.

Who knows what Twitter’s objective is.  I’m not entirely sure Twitter knows.  But I certainly don’t see this as the death knell of third party Twitter apps.

For one, choice is good.  For everyone.  Unless Twitter locks out third party developers, which simply will not happen, just because Twitter owns a desktop and/or mobile app doesn’t mean third party apps can’t thrive.  Hell, Twitter owns Twitter already, and the whole reason we need third party apps is because the native Twitter platform- and the unenhanced experience- is so lacking.

In other words, there are enough holes in the Twitter experience to keep third party pluggers busy for a long time.

Creating

I have Tweetie on my iPhone.  I used to use it, and thought it was a well made app.  But lately I create most of my Twitter content in third party apps (WordPress, Live Writer, Posterous, Foursquare, etc.) and push content from there to Twitter.  I can’t imagine that I’ll ever go back to creating whatever content I publish to Twitter on a dedicated Twitter web page or app.

Not to mention the very relevant fact that the Tweetie desktop app is Mac only.

Consuming

As far as reading Twitter goes, well where to start?  First of all, I don’t think there are that many people who do it.  What I mean by that is that tons of people cast their content onto Twitter, but other than hardcore geeks and people with skin in the game I don’t think anybody really consumes their online content at Twitter (not in the least because most information tossed into Twitter is in the form of links to content elsewhere).  I think Twitter is one giant California with millions of prospectors setting up camp there in hopes of finding gold.  If there is no gold, or when the gold is all taken, most of the herd will move on to the next land rush.

I’d really like to know the percentage of people who regularly read Twitter who do not regularly post to Twitter.  I bet it’s a relatively small number.

To the extent that people do read Twitter, a third party app is a necessity.  Multiple columns, better list handling, the list goes on and on.  Again, choice is good for everyone.  If Twitter is the big honking deal the Twitterati  is trying to convince us it is, how in the world can you say there isn’t room for a multitude of apps and options?

Do we all drive Fords?

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Seesmic Web is infinitely better than the native Twitter web site

Furthermore, many people- myself very much included- prefer web based apps.  If this is the year of the cloud, why would I download a desktop app to read Twitter?  This is the main reason why I prefer Seesmic.  The other being an elegant, but not overdone, feature set.  Very Apple like, in a good, non-evil, way.

So I’m not ready to morn Seesmic or any Twitter-dependant app.  I think they’ll do fine.

At least until the gold runs out.

Seesmic Web Makes Good Twitter

I was way late to the party, but have been using and enjoying Seesmic Web for the past few weeks.  It takes the chaos and user-unfriendliness that is the native Twitter web site, and makes it darn near usable.

I like the way I can select, see and manage three columns of content on one screen.

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I keep my main feed in the first column, and either a saved search or one of the lists I follow in the second or third column.

Today, Seesmic updated the app to include some really helpful new features.  One of those is pretty close to the feature I asked for the other day- better subscription management.

See the Contacts link?

Click on it, and you get a screen and toolset that makes managing your follows a lot easier.

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Click on the “following” link beneath your photo, and you get a list of the people you follow.  Click on a person, and you get a screenful of information.image

I’m following the Dalai Lama, but alas he is not following me (can’t imagine why not).  If he was, that message would say “This user and you are following each other.”

From this screen, you can also send a message or unfollow someone.  Not perfect, but better.

It’s also easy to manage lists from this screen, and like Facebook, lists are crucial to an efficient Twitter experience.

The new version still has some issues.  I’ve had some log-in problems, lockups and script errors in Firefox 3.5.8, and the All Contacts button doesn’t seem to work after you view a contact’s details.

But it’s a definite step forward.