Why I still prefer Tweetie 1.2.8 over the official Twitter for Mac


They say that you never forget your first love. Well, in the microcosm of Twitter clients, the old saying has proven true for me. Tweetie has been the first (and for a long time the only) Twitter client I used. At a certain point, all the talk about a forthcoming ‘Tweetie 2’ raised my expectations. Tweetie is fast, well-designed, easy to navigate — I said to myself — it can only get better from here.

Imagine my disappointment when finally Tweetie 2, or rather the official Twitter app for Mac, was released. As I already explained in this article, the main reason why I haven’t switched to Twitter for Mac is its exclusive use of the Twitter-sanctioned t.co URL shortening service. However, I have to slightly revise a brief observation I made in that article regarding Twitter for Mac’s interface. I wrote:

Most complaints [about the app] seem to be interface-related. Not mine. In fact, I really haven’t got any problem with Twitter for Mac’s interface. I don’t mind its non-standard GUI elements, I don’t mind its animations or their inconsistencies.

While this still holds true considering Twitter for Mac on its own, recently I put the old Tweetie and the new Twitter side by side, and I have to say that I like Tweetie 1.2.8’s interface more. Disclaimer: I now use Tweetie with a ‘re-skin’ customisation made available by Yummygum Studio some time ago (it’s available on Iconpaper), but since it doesn’t change Tweetie’s interface drastically and only improves what I already liked, I still think it’s a valid comparison.

Tweetie and Twitter for Mac

Left: Tweetie 1.2.8 — Right: Twitter for Mac

Now, these are very personal impressions, but here goes:

• Tweetie visually separates each tweet from one another, and the author’s avatar from the tweet, and my eyes find that more pleasing than Twitter’s all-white timeline where each tweet is barely separated by a light 1px line.

• Tweetie uses Lucida Grande as main font, which I find more legible than Helvetica at that size.

• I prefer Tweetie’s always-on tab design.

Feature-wise, here’s what I like about Tweetie:

Tweetie General preferences

Tweetie can display users’ full names, while I find mystifying that Twitter for Mac still lacks this feature. I don’t know you, but I prefer reading people’s full names in my timeline.

Tweetie, most importantly, lets you choose among 5 URL shorteners. In Twitter for Mac there’s only t.co, so you don’t even have a drop-down menu to choose from.

Tweetie Advanced preferences

Tweetie’s ability to preview short URLs is also welcome. Twitter for Mac is sorely lacking in this regard — again, mysteriously, since I assume it derives from Tweetie, so I don’t understand why certain features have been dropped. Being able to preview short URLs is handy and user-friendly.

After Twitter changed the authorisation method, Tweetie cannot handle direct messages anymore. If it could, and if Twitterrific for Mac weren’t so awesome, Tweetie 1.2.8 would probably be still my main Twitter client.

The Author

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