1. Web Client
When you start out using Twitter you simply post and monitor your updates via the Twitter web site. This has the advantage that you can achieve that from any Internet connected device but it also has a number of drawbacks in that the interface is pretty simple and to keep track of things can be difficult.
Twirl is very much like Microsoft Live Messenger in that it keeps all your Twitter info inside a nice little application that can be minimized. It is easy to follow people and post using Twirl. The problem is that Twirl is another application I have to install, swap between when monitoring Twitter and has all the annoying interruptions that Messenger has (although it can be customized). The other issue I have with Twirl is that all the posts, including direct messages, simply appear in the same feed.
TweetDeck is another very popular Twitter client application. The good think here is that it splits up replies and direct messages as well as other updates. It has a whole host of other features and is very pretty to look at. Problem was again it is a separate application that I needed to install and swap to when I wanted to monitor Twitter traffic. Annoyingly, by default, like most other “messenger” style clients it keeps interrupting me when a new post arrives.
By far the best client I have found is OutTwit which is an add one for Outlook. Once installed you can easily configure how often OutTwit checks for postings (yeah!). You can also select a folder in your mailbox for postings to be sent so you can review them at a later date. With the OutTwit toolbar in Outlook, you can post Twitter updates directly from Outlook. It even keeps track of Twitter statistics that are displayed in a graphical format.
To maintain productivity I really don’t want to be running another program to check Twitter. Given that I use Outlook for emails it makes so much sense to have Twitter postings also delivered here as well. I love the ability to schedule and automatically route incoming postings. Now with all my Twitter information inside Outlook I can use all the power of Outlook (searching, categorizing, archiving etc) to make better use of what come to me via Twitter. For me it just makes so much sense.
OutTwit wins hands in my books down because it integrates with the way I work now and means I don’t have to open and monitor a separate program. It would be nice if Microsoft could do this also for Messenger I reckon. Sure, I’ll still use the web interface now and then when I’m not in front of my Outlook, but these days how often is that?