No matter what smartphone or tablet you own, chances are, you will find a large selection of Twitter applications (a.k.a. “apps”). These are fairly easy to find when you Google the brand of your phone or tablet + Twitter, in your query.
If that search does not provide enough search results, add app. If you have an iOS/Mac OS device, add App Store. If you have an Android device, add GooglePlay . You can also try searching on WebToolsWiki.com for information about apps and how to use them.
Is the Twitter App Enough?
“But I already have Twitter on my smartphone and Twitter.com …Why would I even want to do this?”
Although Twitter’s native desktop and mobile app give us complete control of our Twitter accounts, you may find that their layouts may not be exactly to your liking. For example, sometimes it is inconvenient to have a big browser window open on your laptop, or to refresh to see what’s new. Maybe you don’t like Twitter’s default black text on white background. Possibly there is something else that is not your favorite component.
That is where third-party applications (a.k.a. “third parties”) come into play. Twitter’s developers included a flexible application programming interface (API). This interface is the communication bridge between Twitter and the third parties. It is what the applications use to exchange information with Twitter.
Many Options Available
Thanks to intrepid app developers and Twitter’s API, we have many free or low-cost options which allow us to read and send tweets on mobile devices or desktop clients. The desktop clients are those non-browser-based interfaces and applications.
Some apps are feature rich, but the biggest draw is that their interfaces are customizable, to some degree. That is the sweet spot where people decide a certain app is more to their liking and become fans of that app.
Third-party desktop clients for Twitter are usually OS-specific, such as Twitter Windows clients, or for Mac OS only, though some are cross-platform. The mobile ones are always OS-specific such as Android Twitter. Warning: GooglePlay apps have little labels to let you know whether a mobile app is best suited for a phone or tablet by indicating “For tablets” or “For phones”. These labels aren’t very large, so look carefully. The Mac iOS also has a breakdown between iPhone and iPad.
Third-party tools are software of a different stripe, but they have some similarities to the third-party clients, which is what we’ve been discussing so far. Tools are normally convenient desktop web apps, where no download is necessary. Tools tend to focus on a bundle of specific purposes, rather than acting as a client. For example, there are chat tools out there to enhance the experience of Twitter chats. Personally, when it comes to Twitter chats, I don’t need any outside chat tool because I’m really fast with standard Twitter. Mobile tools are far less common, but you can always try using a web tool on a mobile browser if you feel you absolutely need to, but just know it can potentially be a wonky and frustrating experience.
Twitter smartphone apps do act as a kind of Twitter client, but they’re mobile, which is supposedly going to be the new rage in how we use social media. Unlike tools, they don’t really aim to do “specialty” things.
Hopefully you have a better understanding of the two buckets — Clients and tools.
In the past, the iPhone’s normal Twitter was once a third-party named Tweetie. In 2010, through a corporate acquisition, Twitter rebranded Tweetie as “Twitter for iPhone.” Tweetie also had a desktop client, which Twitter also acquired less than a year later. That version was renamed “Twitter for Mac” and appeared in the new Mac App Store the same day.
When apps and clients ask for your username, password, consent, etc., it’s all normal and required. Without authorization from you, nothing will work. You can control most things as you would with normal Twitter. Using mobile touch menus, you will see buttons to read tweets, @replies, @mentions, add-to-lists, and in many cases, without a browser opening, the option to rapidly open webpages within the app or client itself.
So, rock on with third parties; they are really all about preference and you are still partying inside the giant party known as Twitter.