I’ve been on Twitter for a few years now, and while I know that there are many great apps out there I always use the mobile Twitter site on my N95. The old Twitter mobile site was really… bad. There was no convenient way to reply to someone, retweet or even check your direct messages. Fortunately, Twitter came out with a new and improved mobile Twitter site last year. It is a great improvement but how does it stand up against other free mobile Twitter sites? Not too well.
The updated mobile Twitter site at http://mobile.twitter.com shows your timeline with the ability to reply, retweet (the official Twitter RT, it is not editable) and favorite any tweet. You can also view the trending topics and search Twitter. The site still has @ replies so you can see who has replied to you and thankfully, they added direct messages. You can view your inbox, sent dms, reply to and trash dms. You can even view the conversation between you and a particular person which I think is pretty neat.
When you view people’s profile you can see their information (following/followers, bio, website) and do the usual follow/unfollow tasks. But there is ONE thing (and seriously it’s the only thing) that you can do on the official Twitter mobile site that you can’t do on others and that is Turn On/Off Mobile Text Alerts of people you follow. That is pretty much one of the only reasons I would get on this mobile site when I am away from the computer.
Direct Messages, Public Timelines, Replies and Retweets
Now the other Twitter mobile sites I am going to mention have all of the above features and more! For instance, Dabr (http://dabr.co.uk), Slandr (http://m.slandr.net), and Tweete (Beta) (http://m.tweete.net *SCROLL down to click on the link to use their BETA version) gives you the “direct message” option in your friends tweets which makes it more convenient to send them a dm on the spot. Tweete (Beta) and Twitstat (http://m.twitstat.com) lets you REPLY to ALL people mentioned in a particular tweet. Which is super convenient when you are talking to many people, you don’t have to @reply to one and manually type in the other usernames. Dabr, Slandr and Tweete also lets you view the public Twitter timeline.
Other differences are the retweet options. When it comes to retweets Dabr, Slandr, Tweete (Beta) and Twitstat give you the old style/ editable retweet option, which is great because many of us want to include our response to a RT at times. Dabr gives you the option of either doing an official (non-editable) or editable RT for every RT you do which I love! Tweete (Beta) lets you choose one or the other in their settings page. Slandr and Twitstat lets you do editable retweets only. But Twitstat has an additional RT feature that no other mobile site has – tweet reach.
When you are going to RT something, Twitstat shows you the percent (%) increase of the reach of that tweet to those who have not seen that tweet yet, and the percentage of people who are following you who have (most likely) already seen the tweet. It even gives you the exact number of new tweeps it will reach! I think this is a useful tool if you want to make sure you aren’t echoing another person’s tweets. If you and most of your followers are following Demi Moore for instance, it would show how it is pretty pointless to RT her tweets since most of your followers have probably seen the tweet anyways.
The new Twitter List feature is definitely something lacking on the official Twitter mobile site. All of the other sites (Dabr, Slandr, Tweete Beta, Twitstat) at the very least show the Twitter lists of users on Twitter. Dabr, Tweete (Beta) and Twitstat take it a step further and display the lists you (and others) follow and the lists you (and others) are in. Twitstat also shows you the number of list subscribers, lets you create a list, add users to a list and even lets you COPY someone’s entire list into one of your lists.
The integration of Twitter photos is something that is also missing from the official Twitter mobile site. Dabr, Slandr, Tweete (Beta) and Twitstat all give you the option to view thumbnails from popular sites like Twitpic in Twitter timelines. For example, Tweete (Beta) can display thumbnails in all timelines with photos from Twitpic, Twitgoo, YFrog, Post.ly, Img.ly, and TweetPhoto. Some sites even let you upload a photo and caption to tweet along with it like Tweete (Beta), Dabr (Twitpic) and Slandr (Mobypicture, Twitpic and YFrog). Twitstat does not offer an upload pic option.
All in all, you have to try each one to find which site is right for you. For instance, I’m not of huge fan of Slandr even though it is one of the most popular Twitter mobile sites. Although it has cool additional features like “Geo friends” where you can update your location and see local tweets, it really isn’t for me. It is slow to load on my cell at times and has annoying ads in the timeline (last I checked there were 4 on one page).
Two of my favorites are Dabr and Tweete (Beta). They have the most Twitter features and just have a cleaner look. Dabr (and Twitstat) gives you the ability to block users, and Dabr lets you report spam as well. Dabr and Tweete (Beta) are both starting to put ads but they are unobtrusive so I really don’t mind it. What surprised me is Tweete (Beta) didn’t have a character countdown when you type your updates like the other sites. Maybe they forgot it, because that feature is on their (very basic) Tweete version mobile site. However they make up for it on Tweete (Beta) with the option to split long tweets (over 140 characters) into 2 tweets. You can set this up in their settings page which gives you tons of options to customize your Tweete Twitter experience.
Now onto Twitstat. When I first (briefly) checked it out, I was not impressed. It did not boast all of the features the other mobile sites had. But when I started using it I saw that what it lacked in some features, Twitstat made up for in other features that other mobile Twitter sites did not have. I have already mentioned some of their cool features (retweet tweet reach, Twitter list options) but there are more. Twitstat lets you MUTE users in your timeline (lol), you can email a tweet to someone (it includes a link to that tweet status) and there’s even a VIP where you can add your “Tweethearts” (I don’t use it, seems stalkerish to me). It also shows your “Exes” (people who stopped following you). Not only that but when viewing people you are following, you can choose to view only those who are not following you back, or only those who are following back. You can do the same with your followers (view those who you are or aren’t following). Even when you are viewing someone’s profile they let you know if you two are following each other (in a pretty cool way, too…)
And finally, Twitstat shows the Tweet Rate (per hour) of users and the % of replies. They also provide an easy way to type in a username to view a person’s Twitter profile. You could integrate your Foursquare account on Twitstat and the newest feature is that they have integrated the Bit.ly url shortener so that when you enter a link in your Twitter update, all you have to do is click on “shorten with bit.ly” and VOILA – your url is automatically shortened! (Click here to see it in action.) These are all of the reasons why I still have Twitstat bookmarked on my phone.
But like I said, only you know which site is right for you. If you’re a Twitter-aholic like me, the sites with more features would probably be ideal. But if you like to keep it simple, the new Twitter mobile site will suit you just fine.
Twitter Mobile Sites:
Official Twitter Mobile site: http://mobile.twitter.com
Tweete: http://m.tweete.net (scroll all the way down to click on the link to use their BETA version)