With nearly 650 million registered users, you would think the proprietary Twitter website would offer a bit more in terms of features and customization — not to mention a prettier interface. It’s rather bland and limited in functionality, encased in a lackluster design and offering tools for little more than tweeting, viewing trends, and following other users. Thankfully, there’s a virtual bounty of desktop clients to pick up the slack and give you the options you deserve as a die-hard user of the social networking behemoth. Some are lined with language translation and tweet drafts, others multiple-account management systems and inline media previews, but each easily exceeds the rudimentary features first introduced alongside Twitter in 2006 (whether you opt for a freemium or premium offering). Best of all, there are quality clients no matter your operating system.
Here are our picks for the best Twitter clients for PC and Mac. Whether you use them to hammer out sweet nothings or to follow Lady Gaga’s new hair style, the choice is up to you. Also, check out our comprehensive guides on how to use Twitter and how to make a Twitter background if you’re still becoming acclimated to the ins and outs of the social networking service.
This article has been updated since it was originally published to reflect new releases and software updates. Last update: Jan. 20, 2014.
Windows 8 wasn’t exactly welcomed with open arms upon it’s debut. It was buggy, confusing, and lined with a tiled Metro design many people found visually horrendous. However, MetroTwit takes a stark cue from the aforementioned operating system, and it’s better because of it. The default baby-blue interface is impeccably clean, as is the alternate charcoal-gray design, both of which revel in a streamlined multi-column view featuring various options for tweaking the column positions, width, and other visual facets of the program. That being said, navigation is extremely natural, and the the app touts a slew of additional features including desktop notifications, built-in URL shortening, tweet filtering, list management, and an inline media viewer for viewing images and video without clicking an external link. Its only real cruxes lies within the occasional banner advertisement and the application’s inability to simultaneously manage multiple accounts — a feature strictly reserved for the premium MetroTwit Plus — but being the case, the freemium edition will more than suffice for the casual tweeter and those for a client sporting an attractive UI.
Sometimes the best things in (Twitter) life go unnoticed. The lesser-known, unconventional Sobees has been around for more than five years, swapping from private to public soon after the beta phase ended in 2010. Despite lacking a few of the flagship features one comes to expect from a quality Twitter client, the software remains industrious and highly customizable, allowing users to incorporate Facebook and LinkedIn alongside multiple Twitter accounts. The coupled UI is relatively bare, lined with messaging, list management, in addition to other notable options running the height of the window’s left-hand side, all of which are draped in a transparent layout chosen from a robust list of 16 differing designs. It boasts simple retweet functionality and innate status posting as well, but given the software is designed to be a all-encompassing social-networking beast of a client, it doesn’t offer tweet filtering, inline previews or other similar functions catered toward power users. Still, it’s simple and stable, and meshed with enough interface customization to give other desktop clients a run for their money — if the freemium utility actual came at a price.
There aren’t many Twitter clients exclusively available for Windows 8. Thankfully, B-Side Software’s Tweetium is one of the best offerings on any platform given it’s polished UI and streamlined auto feed. The app, also available on Windows phones, supports more than a dozen color schemes and individual design templates, allowing users to adjust the window from portrait mode to snap view, along with all manor of additional window sizes. Aside from the standard options for posting new tweets and embedding third-party media types, the software also bundles username auto-complete, pinned lists, live tile notifications, and complete integration with the Windows Share charm for sharing to and from the app. It features multi-window support, and though it doesn’t grant users the ability to switch between different timelines, it does provide the ability to break out specific tabs and search for a particular username or tweet. However, what makes the new software a standout is the developer’s responsiveness and sheer level of flexibility. B-Side Software encourages direct feedback through its UserVoice page, often issuing frequent updates reflective of users desires.
Let’s not ignore the elephant in the room: Tweeki requires users sign up with a free Intel account and install the regretful Pokki desktop client in order to utilize the Twitter software. It’s by no means ideal — no one should be required to install a platform that essentially functions as a Start menu replacement for Windows — but it’s not the most burdensome, bundled process or piece of software around either. Fortunately, if you move past the aforementioned installation hiccup, Tweeki offers some of the most basic functionality within a sleek design of an application on our list. The minimalist UI is far from overwhelming or obtrusive, garbed in a white-and-gray design and fixed to a specific, non-adjustable width of the developer’s choosing. Tweets, direct messages, lists, and other social interactions are readily available at the top of the window, with a blatant tweet composer nestled in the top-right corner for quick access in any scenario. Moreover, Tweeki features advanced URL shortening, inline media previews, cross-platform syncing, and badge and banner notifications indicating unread messages and the like. Plus, the feed automatically refreshes and the app handles switching between multiple Twitter accounts flawlessly.
Next Page: Best Twitter clients for Mac OS X