I have to admit that my first experience with twitter wasn’t the best one. I opened an account and started to tweet about some random things, but quickly came to the conclusion that using twitter alone doesn’t really make any sense for me, since i’m neither a star, nor should it really be interesting to anyone to see what i ate this morning (just an example, of course i didn’t tweet about my breakfast). Also i don’t have many friends using twitter, so it was kind of strange to microblog like this, without having any clue what i wanted to say to the world.
A few weeks later i discovered a thread about twitter on a discussion board, and expressed my feeling that twitter is just a typical internet phenom which will vanish quickly. But then a user explained to me that twitter shouldn’t be seen as a standalone solution, but more as an additional information source besides blogs or websites. Readers of your blog can know you on a more personal level, and you can publish your thoughts about recently happening news quickly. Also announcing new blog entries, or changes on your websites via twitter makes a lot of sense. After this discussion i tried working with twitter again, and now i’m starting to really get into it. I’m using it on a regular basis now to express my thoughts about the windows moblie world, as well as announcing my plans for my blog. Of course i’m following some twitter users in order to get the latest news about the mobile world too.
The first thing i did after giving twitter a second chance, was to search for a good twitter app for windows mobile. There are a couple of great twitter apps available, but the one which i like the most is PockeTwit.
After saving your account data you will see the startscreen, as shown on the screenshot above. On this screen you see the latest tweets (posts) from the persons you are following. It is possible to specify how many of the recently made tweets you want to see on this page. From the startscreen you have basically two options: swiping your finger on the screen to the right to access the general menu, or swiping on the screen to the left to access the messaging options. The screen reacts very quickly and the sliding is fluid, so it is easy and fun working with this kind of UI.
Swiping to the right will open the main menu, which provides following categories:
- refresh friends (reloading the tweets list)
- messages (list of direct messages and @replies to you)
- groups (access to defined user groups)
- other timelines (search for popular twitter user)
- post update (inserting a new post/tweet)
- settings (general settings)
- about/feedback (sending feedback about PockeTweet)
- windows (toggling fullscreen mode)
Now let’s go into detail for the most important points. Starting of with my favourite feature, the groups. You won’t need much time to realise that following many people will result in a lot of new tweets every day. Some users tweet much more frequent than other users, but then there are also people out there who tweet a lot about stuff which is not always that interesting. So you have to find the balance between the twitter users, which think of twitter as some kind of diary, and the ones which will only post if they have really something to say. This is were the groups come into play. You can assign each twitter user to you defined groups, and therefore track the tweets of your groups seperatly. This will really help you managing the incoming tweets. I set up different groups for Windows Mobile/Android news, and a separate group for other twitter users.
Inserting a new tweet (post) is really very easy. Just choose the “post update” option on the main menu and insert your text. If you registered more than one account in PockeTwit, you can choose from which account the tweet should be published. Also you can insert links to your posts, and have them shortened by many different services like “is.gd” or “bit.ly”. So you have all important tweet options available on this screen.
The “other timelines” feature will give you the option to search for specific keywords, or access a list of popular public timelines (a timeline is basically the list of tweets for a specific person). You can also access your favourites from here.
PockeTwit offers quite a lot of general settings too:
- accounts (it is possible to register multiple accounts)
- avatar (changing the avatar picture settings)
- manage groups (setting up groups)
- media service (choosing which services to use for short URLs and media)
- notifications (activating/deactivating windows mobile notifications for tweets)
- UI (changing theme, or setting up colors manually)
The group management is an option, which isn’t offered in many twitter apps. In fact i don’t know any other windows mobile app with this feature. The following screenshot shows how the group set up looks like. You can check the members of a group, and decide if they should be exclusively shown on the group lists, or if they should also be visible on the general friendslist at startup. It is also possible to delete groups here.
Now let’s move to the messaging menu, which can be accessed selecting a tweet and then swiping to the left on the screen. On this page you have all options to communicate with your friends and other twitter users. The most important ones being:
- responding with @reply
- quoting (retweeting a post from another person)
- checking out the timeline of the chosen twitter user
- checking out the profile of the chosen twitter user
- following the selected twitter user
- moving/copying the user to a specific group
- adding new groups (option available after selecting to add/copy user to a group)
I’m pretty new to the whole twitter bandwagon, but i already tested a few twitter apps on windows mobile and i have to say that PockeTwit is the best one right now. No other app gives you so many options and so much control over your twitter account. Not only does PockeTwit cover all basic functions, but you also get many additional features like multiple account management, media servcie management and of course the great group management feature. And on top of it you get a flexible finger optimised UI which really works perfectly. The only feature i can think of which is missing would be the option to see the followers of each twitter user. You can see the numbers on PockeTwit but you can’t access the list. But other than that it’s a very polished application, and i would recommend it to any windows mobile user who wants to tweet on the road.
You can download this app on the PockeTwit homepage.