Twitter.com vs TweetDeck

I love Twitter. It’s my favourite social network and, to be honest, the only one I actually check up on a regular basis. I use, and have used, a range of Twitter applications, both native and web-based, to fulfil my social networking craving and we’re going to talk about them today.

Specifically, we’re going to talk about Twitter.com versus TweetDeck, both two official Twitter web apps distributed by the company themselves. Late last year, Twitter introduced “Twitter Fly“, a redesigned service that offered up a new web app, as well as some new features that we’ll take a look at in this article. Conversely, the company also bought out TweetDeck, and then released new versions of their native and web apps last year.

It’s really quite interesting that Twitter has two official web apps, and two official native apps. In this “Battle of the Apps” article, we’ll take a look at them versus one another.

User Interface

The user interface of Twitter.com and TweetDeck are significantly different, with the latter not really feeling the recent Twitter redesign.

Twitter.com’s design is much more like a traditional blog layout. On the right, your stream of tweets is listed; clicking on one will bring up additional details on the tweet and any supported media that’s attached to the tweet. On the left, you’ll get access to some key statistics about your account, including tweet and follower count, as well as the current trending topics and a quick composition window for new tweets. Twitter.com is branded to match your profile too, so the site’s background image will reflect the one you have chosen or uploaded for your own profile.

TweetDeck is significantly different, opting for a more plain, column-based layout. This creates a layout that’s clearly for the social networking power user, who wants to see multiple aspects of Twitter (i.e. Twitter stream, mentions, etc.) all at once. TweetDeck’s user interface isn’t bad per se, but I definitely prefer Twitter.com, which will suit the majority of users better.

Winner: Twitter.com

Twitter.com

Core Twitter Functionality

I decided to split up my initial section on functionality to start with the core stuff. By “core” Twitter functionality, i’m referring to posting tweets, viewing tweets, following people, etc.

Both apps do this superbly, and you won’t have any issue regarding this. There’s a few subtle details that I prefer in Twitter.com, such as inline media’s ability to slide out of a tweet, rather than it take over your display in a lightbox. However, they are majorly on equal standing here and you’ll be able to get all the main features of Twitter in both clients.

Winner: Tie

Other Functionality

There is, of course, more to each client than just the basic functions of Twitter. The most obvious one is in TweetDeck, where you can add in your Facebook account (yes, Twitter’s biggest rival in the social space) to have access to both networks at once. You can also sign into multiple Twitter accounts, and post or schedule posts to any of them all from the same login. If you’re more of a power user in this respect, without loyalty to one specific service, then this is a fantastic way of managing two networks at once. It’s not something that attracts me to the app personally, but it’s a nice feature to have there.

Twitter.com is always going to be the “original”, however, and will naturally have instant access to the latest features of the social network first. It also gives you full access to your profile information and settings, allowing you to change features of your profile including image and background design without needing to head into a completely other app. This entire Twitter experience under one web app will also naturally promote it as the most favorable choice.

Winner: Twitter.com

TweetDeck

Mobile

Both websites are accessible on mobile devices, but one is clearly better than the other. TweetDeck can be accessed through your smartphone’s browser, but it’s clearly not designed for that size and is in no way responsive to the significant difference in resolution. It’s simply not an option for mobile usage.

Twitter.com, on the other hand, responds very well on mobile devices. The desktop web app works fine, but the specially designed sites for tablet and movie take full advantage of the different device. If you want to use a web app on your mobile device, Twitter.com is definitely the way to go.

Winner: Twitter.com

Winner: Twitter.com

In my use of both of these apps, Twitter.com just turns out to be the generally better app. I say generally, because it’s not necessarily completely better than TweetDeck. TweetDeck simply fits a specific demographic of users, those that want to consume more of their social life at once, including content from Facebook simultaneously. If that’s what you’re looking for, TweetDeck’s probably the option you should go for.

However, for the average Twitter user, using the Twitter website provides a fluid, fully-featured experience that’s second to none.

Editor’s note: Even as editor, managing 4 different Twitter accounts across my work, I still use Twitter.com and Twitter’s own native Mac app for work purposes. I just wish Twitter.com let me sign into multiple accounts directly in the same web app without having to resort to hacks. Twitter’s iPad web and native apps, though, are some of the best examples of tablet interfaces, hands-down.