Most Twitter users, if they aren’t die-hard users of the Web interface, have their own favorite desktop client. Whether it is Tweetdeck, Twhirl, Twitterfox or something else, most people have a preferred program for getting, organizing and posting tweets.
But sometimes you can’t get at your desktop client. Perhaps you’re at a friend’s house or checking Twitter at the office. You need a way to access Twitter without downloading and installing your favorite program and you want a little more power than the default interface.
Well, here are five Web-based twitter apps that you should consider trying out. Some of these apps are so good, that they might replace your desktop client while others may be good for niche situations where you just need to get by.
HootSuite, formerly known as BrightKit, is one of the most powerful Web-based Twitter apps. It has an extremely powerful collection of tools that allows you to handle multiple accounts, schedule tweets for the future, shorten URLs using ow.ly, which lets you track clicks on the link, and generally put your Twitter experience on auto-pilot.
HootSuite is not for Twitter junkies. The various panes do not automatically update and one has to manually click the tabs to read repiles, DMs, etc. However, for marketers that need to spend less time Twitter and track their results better, it is a perfect tool.
Fundamentally, PeopleBrowsr is Tweetdeck in a Web interface. It provides a similar multi-column layout with a similar feature set, including custom groups. PeopleBrowsr also offers some very basic tweet scheduling, setting up tweets X minutes into the future, the ability to tag users as “VIPs” and can interact with other services, such as Facebook. It can also shorten URLs automatically using is.gd (though its function is a bit confusing at first).
PeopleBrowsr is not the most attractive interface to be certain, but with a mutli-column view, automatic updates and a good feature set, it is perfect for Tweetdeck users that want as close to a desktop app experience on the Web.
Hahlo is actually a mobile Twitter interface, its tagline is “Mobile Twitter the way it Should Be!”, but it works perfectly well in a regular Web browser. It offers a very clean look and feel though a limited feature set. It is a one-column view with only the basics.
Hahlo has been a popular service among those wanting to create lightweight Twitter apps, such as with Fluid on the Mac, or wanting to run it in the sidebar of their browser.
Though it won’t bring much to the table that the default interface doesn’t already, it is much easier on the eyes and better for situations where screen real estate is tight.
Similar to HootSuite, Splitweet is targeted at corporate users who need to both manage multiple accounts and track their results. What makes Splitweet great is that it will, unlike HootSuite, automatically update your stream and offers a brand name tracking feature that lets you track custom searches along side your regular stream.
However, Splitweet does not have a way to shorten URLs easily nor any way to track those clicks, making it something of a trade off for marketers. Despite that, it is a slick and potentially useful Web-based Twitter client.
Of all the apps mentioned, EasyTweets is the only one to offer a paid plan. The free version offers most of the basics, including setting up three accounts, posting tweets, reading replies, DMs, etc. but does not have the ability to post individual tweets to multiple accounts or perform Twitter searches. Those features are only available for $24 per month.
Though the features of the free version are underwhelming, especially considering that there is no refresh of the timeline, the ability to choose your own URL shortening service is refreshing and the paid accounts do provide some unique features, such as SMS alerts on keywords.
Of course, of all the Web-based Twitter clients, the main Twitter Web interface is still by far and away the most popular. Its simplicity and familiarity is perfectly adequate for a plurality of all users. However, for those who are used to desktop apps, it can be a very frustrating experience.
Whether any of these sites replace your Twitter client will depend on how attached you are the features that you use. Most, however, can likely at least get by using one of the services above. Whether you are away from your primary computer, tired of your desktop application slowing your machine or something else altogether, these are five services worth at least a look.
Since all are free to try, there is no harm in signing up and seeing what they can do for you, even if you just use it once and never come back…