Seesmic Desktop will Destroy Tweetdeck through Gamification

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TweetDeck vs Seesmic Desktop

Up to this point, I have always been a fan of Tweetdeck. I have told quite a plethora of people to download Tweetdeck as soon as they made their first tweet (yes, I do a search on that) . Downloading Tweetdeck is also one of the major steps in my post about how to start and fall in love with Twitter.

As far as I know, TweetDeck is the only Twitter App that raised sizeable funding during the “old days” (like 90 days ago) when people still wondered if Twitter would die any day. Good job Tweetdeck!

TweetDeck is not perfect

However, recently I have become a bit more frustrated with Tweetdeck. After they did the Facebook integration (which is great), it was noticeably eating more memory than before. What got me REALLY annoyed is the Group Function of TweetDeck. Yes, the Group function is actually one of the most useful functions around, but creating a new group and adding new friends to it is a PAIN.

Right when I was being frustrated with this unintuitive way of adding friends to groups, I saw @zaibatsu mention the same frustration about the Tweetdeck group function:

zaibatsu: @ReallyShecky You should see what happens when I try and create a group… OMFG

However, Tweetdeck’s biggest flaw to me actually lies in the inability to handle multiple accounts. As a professional who runs various Twitter campaigns for companies, I often find TweetDeck not very helpful outside of running my own personal account. Most entrepreneurs have a personal and a company account anyway, and a tool to manage all accounts would be very helpful. In case you are curious,  I usually use a combination of Hootsuite and TweetLater to manage client accounts. Here’s also a list of some cool Twitter Apps that I compiled.

Seesmic Desktop Steps In

In recent weeks, I learned that Seesmic (owns and Twirl) is about to launch a new Twitter Desktop Client called Seesmic Desktop. I’ve always had a decent amount of respect for Loic Le Meur, and I trust in his abilities to launch something that a person like me would want to use. They’re in “Preview Mode” right now and users simply need to signup to Team Seesmic to get a free preview download.

One thing that you will notice is the similarities between Tweetdeck and Seesmic Desktop. Yes, there are only so many ways you can display columns of information, but even the buttons on the user icons are almost identical. Seesmic obviously modeled it after Tweetdeck and took the useful features while solving some of the flaws, so it does have an unfair advantage. Being in Preview Mode, Seesmic is still buggy and lacks some core functions but I imagine it would be solved soon.

Here’s an analysis and comparison of Tweetdeck and Seesmic Desktop.

Tweetdeck vs Seesmic Desktop: Memory Usage

According to people who spent more time than me on this, Seesmic Desktop only uses a fractions of the RAM compared to Tweetdeck. It seems like with normal usage, Seesmic Desktop can be run with under 100MB of RAM, where Tweetdeck could go up to 600MB. However, there’s been some people who have complained that when you are running multiple searches with a lot of columns, Seesmic Desktop becomes as slow as Tweetdeck.

From my own experience, everything on Seesmic Desktop is much faster. They send out Tweets faster, and they pull in data faster. It has not caused a burden to my laptop at all. I think at least before they pack on more features (like connecting to Facebook), Seesmic Desktop is definitely the powerful client that uses less resources.

Tweetdeck vs Seesmic Desktop: Viewing Updates

While both Tweetdeck and Seesmic Desktop uses pretty similar column views, I think Seesmic has an edge on this one too. Seesmis Desktop’s interface is much smoother and cleaner. It is also a lot more easier to adjust the columns and move them around. As you may know, moving the columns from the most left to the most right is quite a hassle on Tweetdeck. Seesmic Desktop lets you simply drag and drop it Apple style.

The most amazing thing about Seesmic Desktop on this end is it’s ability to combine ALL your accounts updates into one stream, while deleting the duplicates. You can choose to see all the replies, DMs, timelines, or just single out a single account.

The default of Seesmic Desktop seems ot be slower than Tweetdeck in terms of retrieving messages. A flaw of Seesmic Desktop is that this current version does not show an account’s API limits. I never know if I’m about to be locked from the Client world and forced to humble myself and go back to That should be an easy add though.

I also want to talk about Notifications. Little things like these matter. Tweetdeck’s notifications are PRETTY annoying. I can get used to the sounds and all. What I cannot get used to is how it blocks the right top of my screen when I want to click on a tab, Spotlight, or whatever right top rights I have during normal usage. There is no way to get rid of it besides waiting for 3 seconds before returning to my normal workflow. Yes, to people who work over 90 hours a week like me, it can be quite irritating when moments of productivity is wasted due to slow internet or blocking alerts.

Seesmic Desktop solves this problem by having a very small and unintrusive alert at the BOTTOM right of the screen. Even better, I can adjust how long I want the notifications to stay around before disappearing. Clearly this was built with people like me in mind.

Tweetdeck vs Seesmic Desktop: Handling Multiple Accounts

As I said earlier, this is one of the most important features for people who not only play on Twitter but also work on Twitter. I believe the success of Tweetie over Twitterfon is largely based on it having the multiple accounts handling function (btw, the former is the best paid iPhone client, while the latter is the best iPhone FREE client).

Not only does Seesmic handle as many accounts as you want, accessing each account is just a click of a button on the left. I mentioned earlier that they have a cool feature that combines the entire timeline for all accounts while taking out the duplicates. Even better, when you reply or DM someone, Seesmic Desktop will automatically tweet that individual with the appropriate account that is associated with the receiver.

Tweetdeck plain out doesn’t have this feature, so in this category it is definitely losing.

Tweetdeck vs Seesmic Desktop: Grouping and Userlists

Grouping (or Userlists) is one of the most useful functions that allows you to follow more people without being overcrowded with information. One of the heated debates of’s Awesome Revolution show is the topic Twitter Hoarders vs Twitter Snobs, where people discuss if it is “wrong” to not follow everyone who follows you. The “snob” side said they would rather have a list of people they really care and can feel proud of, while the “hoarders” said you could just use the grouping function. Yes, the grouping function is considered by some to be an essential tool that makes it practical to not be a snob.

To be honest, Tweetdeck and Seesmic Desktop both have their advantages and disadvantages in the grouping/userlist feature, and none of them do it ideally. In terms of actually creating Groups/Lists, Seesmic is a lot easier and faster. However, Tweetdeck allows users to see a scroll down list and click through whoever should be in this group when you create the group.

Personally, I think this is a terrible way of doing things. The only reason why people want to use the Groups functions is because they are following too many people. So how does it help if they have to scroll up and down for half an hour just to locate the 100 people they truly want to follow? Even worse, this is when Tweetdeck freezes up the most. I usually want to create Groups of 30 people on Tweetdeck but often give up after 4. The rest I have to slowly pick out as I see their tweets in my already overflowing timeline. It’s not fun.

Seesmic Desktop, however, DOES NOT allow users to add people to their Userlists at the beginning at all. For that, you can ONLY add people onto the Userlist by identifying them on the timeline. True, their faster search function allows you to find people a lot faster than Tweetdeck (and I highly recommend you to do that), but not providing a list for you to add people at the beginning is very unintuitive to me.

The solution is really simple. When you create a group, you have a textbox to add people you want in your group. The textbox must have an autocomplete function so you don’t need to be concerned if your friend is cuteaznbiscuit13 or cuteasianbizcut14. That way you can easily add 100 people onto your new List/Group within a few minutes. Problem solved. I don’t know why this has not happened yet.

Tweetdeck vs Seesmic Desktop: Tweeting

I think that Tweetdeck and Seesmic Desktop both have their strengths and weaknesses in terms of Tweeting too. Seesmic Desktop provides a smoother tweeting flow, but Tweetdeck gives you a good punchy feel, as if your Tweet made a bigger difference in the Twittersphere (which is, of course, false). Tweetdeck has a few more small features like helping you shorten your tweets, and also allows you to go over 140 characters by replacing the end with a link that has your entire over-twoosh in a Twitpic manner. Yes, you can still send out your tweet when it is showing the red negative sign. Surprise!

Besides recognizing which account it should tweet with, Seesmic’s key Tweeting differentiation is that it adds an instant-photo function to your tweets. So as long as you have a webcam, you can allow your followers to not only know what you are doing every second, but what you look like every second. One of the most extraordinarily useful features I have seen.

A good props I want to add to Seesmic Desktop is that they allow you to shorten your urls with the new DiggBar, which may or may not become something big depending on how spammy people think it is (like the urls). Finally, Seesmic allows people to drag and drop images into twitpic instead of browsing through your folders. Again, Apple style.

The main power Tweetdeck has right now over Seesmic Desktop is the Facebook Integration functions. Now I can actually see what all my "real life" friends are doing. Also, I can tweet more actively into my Facebook status. After this feature was introduced, I noticed a lot my friends started to talk to me more on Facebook, which is definitely a sexy plus. After all, Facebook is about keeping in touch with your existing friends, while Twitter is about reaching out to new people, new fields, and new knowledge.

Rumor has it that Seesmic Desktop will integrate the Facebook features too. Lets just hope it doesn’t kill RAM usage.

Tweetdeck vs Seesmic Desktop: Search

Again, both clients have their own playing fields in my mind on this one. Seesmic Desktop makes it easier to do searches. It also makes it easy to switch back and forth between search results. However, I feel that it is actually harder to view the search results through Seesmic Desktop. Perhaps it has something to do with the silver gradient (compared to the boxed in solid feel of Tweetdeck), but I believe it is mostly due to small spaces for each column.

Since Seesmic Desktop utilizes the left side for calling out things, the 4 columns need to become smaller compared to Tweetdeck. Because the columns are narrower, each Tweet takes up more lines, resulting in fewer tweet displayers on the screen. If only I can call up the Search Results through Seesmic Desktop and view it on Tweetdeck!

Seesmic Desktop also does not allow the user to Follow people through its interface. It’s somewhat funny because you can add people you don’t know to your userlists, but not really your follow list. I’m sure that is just a few quick fixes away.

One really big flaw for BOTH clients on search is the lack of ability to modify search results. I usually like to do searches such as “RT, Brilliant OR Ingenious OR Amazing OR Hilarious” to find things that are extraordinary and worth Retweeting about. Sometimes I would like to modify these terms. Both clients force me to delete the current one and and create a new search. In that case, I still prefer Seesmic Desktop because it allows me to put the new Search where I want to, whereas for Tweetdeck, it’s the slow column maneuvering again…

Other Twitter Desktop Clients?

What are your experiences relating to Seesmic Desktop and Tweetdeck? Or do you think the Killer App actually lies somewhere else? I know there are people who love using DestroyTwitter and Nanbu. I would love to hear from all of you what are the best Clients and how can each improve.

Also, for a comparison of how Loic Le Meur compares to Jason Calacanis of Mahalo, check out this article 🙂

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68 thoughts on “Seesmic Desktop will Destroy Tweetdeck through Gamification”

  1. Yes Yu-Kai, we decided to push very early to gather maximum feedback and we’re not disappointed check so now we are improving Seesmic as fast as we can on the feedback. There are very basic things missing but we will have a new version up very soon.

    We wanted multiple-accounts available in multi-columns, that’s already something. Also, Seesmic is designed day one to support several services and accounts, so very flexible to grow.

  2. One feature missing from TweetDeck (and other Twitter clients) that would help productivity is the ability to see new followers. Then, it would be easy to follow them and add them to a group if wanted.

    I’m always clicking on email links to go to Twitter and follow people I think should be followed back. If it’s someone I want to add to a group, TweetDeck is not up to date to add them to a group plus I have to scan for them in a long list.

    Just an example to say there’s a lot of space for improvement in Twitter clients.

    1. Hey Jerome,

      You have a point. Still, you don’t need to open email by email. If you click on your “follower” page, it will show you your new followers in chronological order. That should save you some time!

      Take care 🙂

  3. Just 2 things.

    TweetDeck does let you add people to groups just like seesmic.

    Also, as for the color of tweetdeck, you do have the options to change the color however you like.

    1. Haha, this is clearly a response from someone who didn’t read anything. Do you know that Seesmic owns Twhirl?
      A lot of people still like Twhirl. I wonder if Seesmic will focus on one of the two or have them somewhat compete a little.

  4. @Yu-kai Chou DestroyTwitter has improved day by day. It’s definitely miles better than how it was 2 months ago, which is actually a long long time. Its developer is doing an awesome job and is quick to fix things.

    1. I see. Maybe I should devote an entire day just to play with it again 🙂
      Why do you like it so much?

      1. I actually pointed all that out in my last comment.
        “It’s sleek, feature packed, easy to use, highly customizeable and not a bloat on system resources, neither does it precious waste screen space.”
        It’s just worth giving a try. I’d like to see a blog post from you comparing these 2 with DestroyTwitter.

  5. As I said in my review, the biggest problem with SD if running on Windows is if/when it crashes – which happens regularly, certainly on shutdown – you lose all your front-end configuration, which is extremely irritating. It remembers the back-end settings but all your groups, searches etc are lost, which makes it fundamentally useless unless you’re happy with a minimalist set-up, in which case you may as well use

    Seesmic contacted me today and said they’re aware of the bug and hope to have it ironed out in the new release. Until then, unless you have a Mac, TweetDeck remains the app of choice, if only because it’s incredibly robust. SD also doesn’t support clickable profile links, and it doesn’t display which tweet the user has replied to, so tracing conversations is awkward.

    TweetDeck has something like 13-16 per cent market share right now ( only has about 30 per cent) and I’m not sure SD is sufficiently different nor offers enough ‘wow’ features to give it enough legs to ‘destroy’ TweetDeck. I think it will have some share, notably on Apple products, as it’s clearly been designed to appeal to their fanbase, and the multiple accounts will appeal to some, but I would have to imagine the majority of people only run one account on Twitter. And even that’s going to be unimportant soon enough, as TweetDeck will inevitably support multiple accounts over the next few revisions (it’s still in beta, of course, but then so is everything nowadays).

    Your review makes some excellent plus points but I think the only really important one (apart from the multiple accounts, which I addressed above) is that SD does occupy about one-half of TweetDecks memory usage. But that’s only an issue if you have a low-specced computer. My Samsung NC10 netbook with 1GB of ram handles it with no problems at all.

    What TweetDeck definitely needs to address is the problem with groups over 5,000 users – they just cease to work. I’m not sure if this is an issue on Seesmic Desktop but it’s definitely a major concern for many power-users on Twitter. But to TweetDeck’s credit they pay attention to stuff like this (have even listened and acted upon some of my own suggestions) and I think the product has a rosy future.

    1. Hello Sheamus!

      Thanks for a super elaborated response! I read your post and it is very informative as well!

      You bring up some good points regarding the inability to find the correct replies. Another issue I have encountered is that when you @ someone during a search, the default account is randomly set and annoys me when I have to adjust for every single person.

      However, the biggest killer is definitely the resetting everything issue. That’s like years ago that car that drives great but explodes whenever someone hits it in the butt. Definitely a killer for the killer app.

      Tweetdeck definitely has a decent marketshare right now. However, I feel that Seesmic has more total social media influence and budget to out-maneuver TD in terms of product quality and marketing.

      We’ll see though. I would be happy if both become extremely successful!

  6. DestroyTwitter will destroy both these clients. It’s sleek, feature packed, easy to use, highly customizeable and not a bloat on system resources, neither does it precious waste screen space.

  7. Unfortunately I won’t be switching to either client until they incorporate updates like twhirl has. However, it’s my understanding that it is on the “to do” list for Seesmic 🙂

  8. Seesmic Desktop misses one fundamental feature: twitscoop.

    As long as SD doesn’t have it, tweetdeck is safe IMHO…

  9. why would anybody care how anybody else in the twittersphere is looking at any given time? a good example of an utterly useless feature which was just included to push seesmic.

    as if the zillions of “drinking coffee” tweets weren’t enough of redundant information already.

  10. Both offer the same problem – scrolling horizontally is a problem. To avoid the need for horizontal scrolling you’d need a ridiculously large monitor and insanely high screen resolution. On a 15 inch new Mac Book Pro you can get only 4 columns up before scrolling becomes necessary.

  11. @Amu: Haha, I personally don’t like to drag/drop so much on the Mac because I find it hard to drag something from a full screen to another full screen. Are you sure you were not sold by the ability to take a picture of yourself any moment you want to tweet? 😉

    @Jussi: well, they are in “preview mode” so it’s just to show the potentials, but not necessarily everything it can be. I’m sure a lot of these problems will be resolved. Right Loic?

  12. I think I resolved the issue. Let me know if you still see the problem.

    Does anyone want to talk about your experiences with the other Desktop Applications? I know a lot of you guys are talking to me about’em on Twitter.

  13. if that can help, when I load your blog on firefox, at the end it stays stuck on “transferring data from” looks like something does not load, while it loads fine on Safari. I tried several times, really weird.

  14. @Loic

    Oh great you said the exact same things here so I will need to respond the same way…:P

    Haha, Destroy just means beating someone very badly. It doesn’t mean causing destruction or leaving no space for them. Do people not say that else where?

    Thanks for clearing up my mis-statement. I apologize for the lack of knowledge on that. The great thing about the internet is, uh-hum, giants standing on top of each others’ shoulders. (In the tweet I could only say Giants being ontop of each other, lol)

    There is no need to express gratitude for a good feedback. I write about what I see so thank your engineers instead 🙂 We’ll just hang out some time.

    I did point out some things to work on, so hopefully that can help the product become even better!

    Hmm! Strange about the browser! I can see the entire site really well with Firefox on a Mac. Let me check around on this….

  15. Hello Yu-Kai Chou, thank you so much for such a good review of Seesmic Desktop as well as your good words about me, made my day! However, we don’t want to “destroy anything” there is room for everybody.

    About your comment on the buttons: “even the buttons on the user icons are almost identical. Seesmic obviously modeled it after Tweetdeck and took the useful features”. Seesmic Desktop was created by the same time that created Twhirl and I believe these buttons were first introduced in Twhirl about a year and a half ago, so we got our fair share of inspiring others for a long time! We simply reused our own buttons 😉

    Thank you so much for your good feedback and let me know if I can help in any way.

    btw for some strange reason I cannot read your blog correctly on Firefox (the background stays green making the texte unreadable) while it’s perfect on Safari.

    talk to you soon!

  16. Hey Ruthe! no problem! Thanks for leaving a comment and sharing it with people. I see a lot of people complaining about the little feature or even the “grayed out” stuff. They have to realize that this is “Preview Mode” and it is meant to show all the potentials instead of being perfect.

    We’ll see if the Tweetie desktop app would disturb the equalibrium.

  17. Great post! You’ve hit all the key points so eloquently, thanks for fwding me the link. I’ve switched to Seesmic Desktop and completely uninstalled TweetDeck/DestroyTwitter after using it for a while. @loic has assured all that the *icing* features are coming soon so I believe all of the minor kinks we’re experiencing will be gone soon. Regardless, Seesmic Desktop is the BEST app out there in my opinion as even in their “preview” release the limited core features already meet all of my tweeting needs.

  18. @LavannaMartin: Thanks for commenting! I see what you mean, but a lot of people love using Tweetdeck though. It gives them a sturdy feel. Seesmic is clean and light weighted.

    Btw, I think your Twitter profile might have a typo. I doubt you paint people on the “sly” but more possibly on the “fly” 🙂

    @Kevin: Haha, I guess it comes down to whether you need to manage more accounts, or if you need to manage more things with one account 🙂
    Have you tried before?

  19. @Jun: you should definitely use Seesmic Desktop. However, you might want to wait until all the features are finished.

    @Olina: I actually like the bird 🙂

    Auto-follow features should not be the responsibility of a Desktop Client. It would make more sense that you use a Web App such as Tweetlater to do that for you!

  20. Hello Olina,

    Thanks for the feedback. I am glad that you found this post useful. I hope that Tweetdeck would get a chance to read it and make it better though. I don’t necessarily like the little Racoon in my icon box 😉

  21. Well, they may be #1 yet but not before they have the UI make some sense. Way too laborious to create groups etc.

  22. I like the look of Seesmic and I like that it allows you to manage multiple accounts, but right now the differentiator for me is the ability to post to Twitter and/or Facebook from one place in TweetDeck. So it’s TweetDeck for me until Seesmic incorporates that functionality.

  23. I could never use Tweetdeck because the designers had built it using a black background with reverse type. Anyone with a fundamental understanding of graphic design knows that this slows down readability to a crawl. Hurray for Seesmic!

    Thank you,

    Lavanna Martin
    @lavannamartin on Twitter

  24. Oh, if Tweetdeck get a chance to read this post, I hope they can enable one more function–Allow user to have an option to automatically follow those ppl who follows them, of course if you find out it’s unnecessary, you can always unfollow them later on. But this function will save me lots of time!

    Also, their logo is not that friendly, tweets should be a happy experience, but everytime I saw that dark bird, I got scared a little bit. Did Jun mentioned the same thing before? Haha…

  25. I have not read everything, but this is amazing!

    Can you tell me just one thing?

    SHOULD I SWITCH TO SEESMIC DESKTOP? I really just need a yes or no here.

    thank you, that is all.

  26. Good article! I pretty much got the same experience on Tweetdeck after I saw your last post and download the tweetdeck. Yes, I wish Tweetdeck has the ability to allow me follow ppl there. Now the problem is that I need to go to add them one by one. It’s a big pain.

    Also, agree on the the search funtion part, they really need to enable the modify function too. Maybe it’s time to try Seesmic? 🙂

    Good job! Thanks for spending time explain it.

    1. Actually you can follow people through TweetDeck. Just click on their Twitter username to bring up their profile; or you can do a search for an username and then click on it to bring up their profile, from there you can follow (or unfollow) them. However, if you have several Tweeters you want to follow (or unfollow) then it’s slow and a pain to do it through TweetDeck.

You must engage in the conversation!!