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TweetDeck 1.5.3 Becomes Usable

Since its inception, I’ve used the multi-column Twitter client TweetDeck on my Mac. Single-column Twitter clients just don’t show enough information at once for the way I like to use Twitter, which is to glance at it every now and then to see if there’s anything interesting happening (after which I go back to ignoring it for long stretches because, hey, I have work to do!).

Before being purchased by Twitter in May 2011, TweetDeck was written in Adobe Air, which resulted in it being a pretty mediocre Mac app. Eventually, Twitter rewrote TweetDeck as a true Mac application, polishing the interface while retaining the multi-column approach that differentiated it from other popular Twitter clients. While calling out the native TweetDeck’s limitations, Mark Anbinder said generally positive things about the application in “New TweetDeck for Mac a Breath of Fresh Air” (12 December 2011).

But I have to admit, I could never come to terms with some of those limitations. In particular, the native TweetDeck’s columns were wider than I liked, forcing me to scroll right and left to see the seven columns I have defined. And worse, since I dip into Twitter relatively infrequently, there was no easy way to see an entire conversation, making it annoying to figure out what friends were talking about several tweets into a back-and-forth.

In the recently released TweetDeck 1.5.3, though, those two annoyances fall by the wayside. A new Use Narrow Columns setting in TweetDeck’s General settings fits more columns in the same space, cutting down on the horizontal scrolling that was necessary before. (A new Columns button/menu, with left and right arrows, makes it easier to scroll if necessary, as does support for swiping left and right.) And a small dialog balloon button displays tweets in a conversation, with the conversation replacing the contents of that column temporarily.

Another welcome change is the new actions menu (click the ellipsis button), which provides quick access to a number of useful commands, as you can see in the screenshot above. The one I use most is Report for Spam, since I’m constantly receiving URL-only tweets from spammers that advertise free iPads.

Other features that you might find useful (but which aren’t necessarily new) include filters that let you ignore matched tweets from loquacious friends, scheduling for businesses that want to queue up multiple tweets, and support for multiple Twitter and Facebook accounts. Columns are extremely flexible and can contain a timeline, interactions, mentions, searches, lists, direct messages, trending topics, favorites, and more.

TweetDeck still isn’t perfect, but this and previous updates have resolved most of my issues with the initial release, making it a more usable Twitter client than it was during its Adobe Air days. It’s free, and is available only from the Mac App Store.


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Comments about TweetDeck 1.5.3 Becomes Usable
(Comments are closed.)

Roger D. Parish  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2012-08-17 17:56
It doesn't do anything for me, literally! It just sits there with an empty screen.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2012-08-17 18:16
Huh! Have you added your Twitter account to the prefs?
Roger D. Parish  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2012-08-19 21:02
Yes, it has both my Twitter and Facebook accounts. They got added on first start. But then, nothing!
Roger D. Parish  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2012-08-19 21:17
And now I'm locked out of my Twitter account!
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2012-08-20 09:28
Wow. I have no idea, though you could try deleting TweetDeck's prefs in the ~/Library/Preferences folder (look for a "TweetDeckFast.* folder).
Roger D. Parish  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2012-08-21 08:12
My Twitter account got unlocked, so I went into TweetDeck, deleted all the accounts and re-entered them. Now it works.

But it still doesn't do anything for me (figuratively, this time) except take up a lot of screen space. I think I prefer the Twitter client.
Roger D. Parish  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2012-08-21 08:13
Just to be absolutely clear, it IS working for me. I just don't care for it.
Roger D. Parish  An apple icon for a TidBITS Contributor 2012-08-21 08:14
Different strokes.
Dennis B. Swaney  2012-08-20 21:50
Anything similar for those of us still on Mac OS 10.5.8 on a PPC machine?
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2012-08-21 08:51
Not that I know of. The old Adobe Air-based TweetDeck requires at least 10.6 on an Intel-based Mac from what I can see, but it is still available here.
Dennis B. Swaney  2012-08-22 17:03
Unfortunately, it requires an intel processor.
It is still totally unusable because a user cannot adjust the size of the type. On an iMac, the type is so small it is unreadable.
When I emailed the original developer about this critical missing control, he seemed little interested in offering it. WIth this update, TweetDeck continues to snub its nose at those sight impaired that need larger type and those over 45.
Twitter’s own client allows users to go up to 18 point, which is fine for me but even that is too small for those who need larger text type.
It dumbfounds me that such a simple and basic control has been missing for years!