8 free Twitter clients for better tweeting

By Barbara Krasnoff, Computerworld |  Internet, Seesmic Desktop, TweetDeck

What needs to be fixed? Although not nearly as complicated as PeopleBrowsr (and much nicer to look at), Seesmic is one of those applications that you have to spend some time with before you've achieved a reasonable comfort level. The concept of fixed and detached columns takes a while to get used to, and one gets the feeling that there are all sorts of things you could do with it -- if you understood how. Like many other third-party Twitter applications, Seesmic offers video tutorials, user guides, and solutions to known issues and answers to common questions for those willing to put in the time.

Final verdict: Seesmic is a fabulous way to handle Twitter if you need to watch different feeds at different times, and if you like tweaking your applications to do exactly what you want them to. It's especially handy for Facebook users who don't want to bother to actually visit Facebook.

TweetDeck v.0.30.0

Judging from the number of times I see TweetDeck mentioned as the source of various tweets, it must be a popular application. And I can understand why; this nicely organized desktop app allows you to simultaneously and easily follow different groups (including your Facebook friends), searches and trends.

What does it do? TweetDeck, which was still in beta when this was written, organizes your Twitter, Facebook and/or MySpace feeds into columns. Icons on top of the interface let you compose an update; create new columns for Twitter, Facebook and MySpace feeds; create a new column out of a search; and launch a Web site called the TweetDeck Directory, which describes itself as "a TV Guide for Twitter channels."

Besides Macs and Windows PCs, TweetDeck works with Linux-based computers, and an iPhone version is available.

What's cool about it? TweetDeck makes it extremely simple to choose a topic or keyword to follow -- just click on the Search icon and type in a word or phrase, and a new column appears showing all the public tweets that use that word or phrase. That column will stay as part of your TweetDeck interface until you decide to delete it.

There are a number of other ways you can individualize your TweetDeck experience -- and it's very easy to figure out how to do it. You can create groups of specific accounts that you are following by choosing from a checklist of all your followed accounts. You can follow all mentions of your own tweets. A single click lets you jump in and out of "single column view," so that you can follow just one column for a while without having to eliminate the others.

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