It doesn’t take much to tweet, right? You just think of something clever, bang out 140 characters or less, and you’re done.
Would that it were that simple. Being an active and effective “tweeter” involves retweeting your favorites, making lists of accounts most important to you, choosing the best URL shortener for your needs, etc. I could go on but you get the idea. Give me an iPad app that helps me focus on my tweets, and I’m all over it.
That’s what Tweetbot for iPad by Tapbots does ($3; current version is 1.0.1). The app’s beautifully designed interface strips away the clutter you see in most other Twitter applications, so you can focus on the important stuff. The app also gives you more detail on specific tweets if you want it. And it lets you customize lots of things.
Let’s start with the interface. Tweetbot’s gray background highlights whatever you’re viewing or doing in the app. A single tap on a tweet reveals a menu that lets you see more information on the tweet, such as if it received replies or retweets. In the same menu, you can email the tweet, translate it, copy it, and so on. And you can reply, retweet, or favorite the tweet. Tap the tweet again and the menu vanishes. Double-tapping a tweet brings up the details. You can also customize the app so that a triple tap automatically lets you reply, retweet, favorite, and more.
Ready to post a tweet? Click the compose icon and everything but a new, blank tweet box vanishes. By comparison, the official Twitter for iPhone/iPad app leaves open the Timeline, mentions, messages, or whatever else you were viewing before you were inspired to tweet. Some might call that convenient; I call it clutter.
As for customization, Tweetbot lets you choose between the Twitter, bit.ly Pro, CloudApp, or custom URL shorteners; select the image and video uploading services of your choice; and send tweets to a desired ‘read later’ service (such as Instapaper or Pinboard). You can also change the geographic-location setting to see what’s trending in a particular area.
Tweetbot setup is also astonishingly easy. After installing the app, it automatically imported my Twitter sign-in info, though I had to enter my password in order to access Direct Messages and Push Notifications.
Tweetbot can manage multiple Twitter accounts, but this isn’t app the app for you if you also want to manage Facebook or other social media networks. For that, I recommend Hootsuite for Twitter. Despite its name, it lets you manage Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Foursquare accounts on an iPad or iPhone. And it’s free.
But we were talking about being focused, remember? (Or did you get distracted along the way?) If you just want to zero in on Twitter, Tweetbot for iPad is worth the $3. Too bad the iPhone version is a separate $3 purchase.
James A. Martin is a seasoned tech journalist and blogger based in San Francisco and winner of the 2014 ASBPE National Gold award for his CIO.com blog. He writes CIO.com's Living the Tech Life blog and is also a content marketing consultant.