Twhirl has been my favorite Twitter client until today when the Seesmic Desktop preview launched. Seesmic, who bought the Twhirl client a year ago, has taken the product to the next level. Taking a few hints from Tweetdeck, this update brings the ability to create groups for who you follow as well as display multiple columns to help cut through the stream of noise. The grouping feature is a nice addition but is a little bit clunky without a way to see all the people you are following in one place so you can easily sort people into groups. The only way to add someone is clicking an icon over their avatar. In addition to people you can also add columns for search terms. People with multiple Twitter accounts will be happy to know that you can manage different usernames from one interface with the option to view them combined or separate.
Like any new release, there are a few things that can be improved. Customization features are sparse. Things missing are the ability to adjust font size and styling (important when you want to optimize scanability) as well as colors of the interface. The notification pop-up (my favorite part of Twhirl) no longer shows a preview of the incoming tweets but merely indicates what type of tweet has arrived (reply, direct message, or “friend update”) and for which account that tweet was sent to. I hope in future releases they add this functionality.
For people who use Twitter as an information fire hose, the Seesmic Desktop client will be a handy tool for managing the information overload. I always liked Twhirl for it’s lightweight memory usage which really turned me off to the sluggish Tweetdeck. We’ll see how well this tool performs after a couple days of usage. And I’ll continue to follow the developments as Seesmic brings their video-conversation service into the mix with Twitter updates. Just imagine how cool that would be to view and respond to video comments Twitter style in a dedicated application like this!