UPDATE, 12 Sep 2012: Twimbow is no longer in active development, and will be shut down once Twitter’s new APIs take over.
It started with a tweet.
I’ve been on twitter for some time (two and a half years as I write this) and tried out a few clients pretty early in that span. I rejected the Adobe AIR based apps — I really couldn’t stand the reactivity — and jumped to Seesmic’s Web app the second it was launched. Almost a year ago, I mentioned something about the app when I received a tweet from @filos, asking if I wanted to try a new app on the block called Twimbow. Never one to say no to a new piece of tech, I have been an avid Twimbow user since.
The other day I came across a post titled ’Twimbow: the ‘Apple’ of Social Media Dashboards’ and I think I couldn’t have put it better than that. Having watched Twimbow from version 0.1 to the current 1.1, the client has matured and grown through an innovative approach and a smart expansion strategy.
To start off, Twimbow looks something like this:
I actually wrote out this post twice. The first time, I attempted to list out every feature in Twimbow that I use and enjoy. Turns out, I use close to 100% of them and this post was too long to publish. So I’m going with another angle: the top 5 reasons why I use Twimbow over other clients. So here we go:
Compared to the traditional dark on white, or white on dark client style, Twimbow takes an interesting spin, allowing you to assign color to users. Similar to Gmail’s labelling, starting with v1.0, you can assign label names. Considering I follow quite a few users, I’ve created a category for food-related things, another for news feeds and the like and so on. The cool bit is I can show and hide any label as required, so I’ve even created a label (in pink) for users I don’t want to see all the time, for example.
As a result, when I get online, I can quickly browse and focus on what I want to see by color, either by filtering out others, or even just skimming my timeline. If I’m in a hurry, I only look for colored users that are interesting, vs if I’m on at a more casual hour, when I browse them all.
The Solution to the column problem
Something that is quite annoying — and outright scary to newer twitter users — is the sheer number of columns generated with some of the other clients. There’s one for @, one for DMs and one for every search I have. If I’ve got multi-accounts, then there’s also one for each account and so on and so forth. Twimbow works in a 3-column environment and that’s it.
This is a perfect time to the mention the awesome and every intuitive Personal Buzz column. Everything related to you as a user — your tweets, @ mentions, DMs to and from, RTs by and of you and Favorites are nicely merged into one column. Mind, it’s color coded, so it’s easy to sort through them (or filter one or more out). I prefer the setting that hides my own tweets, DMs I send and RTs I do, simply because I’ve done them and know what they are already. This makes me happy. And always, if I’ve forgotten what someone replied to me, the conversation view sorts that out instantly.
Gone are the clients that make me feel like I work on Wall Street. Funnily enough, I get really annoyed trying to use them because it just does not feel organized anymore.
The biggest change that arrived with 1.0 was Twimbow’s multi-account support. And boy did they think it through. Each account gets a separate view altogether, meaning you basically switch between your accounts. So far, other clients I have seen merge or have little check boxes to select which accounts to tweet from. Trust me, it’s amazingly easy to make a mistake that way as I’m sure many of you have experienced if you use a corporate and a personal account and such.
Twimbow’s way is simple and importantly — visible — so you don’t goof up accounts ever again. Haven’t made a mistake since. Yet.
The Casual vs Power User
Twimbow is a client that all facets of twitter users can enjoy. This means that the more casual users get to enjoy color coding, inbuilt music player and sharing, and even things like inline image previews (for all major image sharing services) and inline reader (to read links posted) so you don’t have to leave the application. Against this, there is something in for the power user too, easy (okay, very easy) list management, and the awesome monitor at the bottom. If you follow a lot of topics, the monitor allows you to save it like a little searchpad (Think Dashboard on the Mac) that you pull up only when there are updates. The monitor has a little status bar at the bottom that populates if any of your searches get new tweets in them. Handy.
Out of experience, I’ve learnt the the guys behind Twimbow — should out to @filos and @marchitos — are very communicative. More importantly, they listen to user complaints or feature suggestions constantly. Over the course of the year, most of my suggestions have been taken into account (or was already in the works), and when they set out a private release of 1.0, I can confirm that they solved every issue I posted. To me, this says two things:
- They are passionate about what they are doing. I know for a fact that they are disgrunted users of others twitter apps who set out to create an innovative client that is based on what users like to see. So far, they’ve done a terrific job.
- They care. They’re listening. A simple search of twimbow will show you how often users communicate with them, and how often they write back.
I could, quite honestly, go on about Twimbow. But the best thing about it is that you can see for yourself. Twimbow is currently in pre-alpha so it runs by invite only. I’ve got a couple to give out, and you can also visit their website, where they showcase users who have invites available. Ofcourse, you can always tweet to them and they’ll put you on the invite list.
Twimbow has recently set up an office in San Fran. To me, this is exciting, because they are getting serious about keeping this app running. For now, it just supports twitter, but Facebook etc are already in the works.
Take it for a spin!