Smack Down: Seesmic vs TweetDeck vs Nambu

16 July 2009 By: Print This Post Print This Post Email This Post Email This Post         

Review Summary

What We Like:
  • Supports multiple Twitter accounts
  • Easy to read small fonts
  • Very stable twitter client
  • Easy to customize
What We Don't Like:
  • No count of unread Tweets
Our Rating:
Our Rating: 4 out of 5 Pens
Price:  Free
More Info:
http://seesmic.com/

Last week I happened to mention on Twitter that I was not thrilled with TweetDeck, as it was unstable and crashed regularly on my Mac, and that I was testing an alternative Twitter Client called Nambu.

Nambu is a native Mac application, whereas TweetDeck runs on the Adobe AIR platform. I really love Nambu, but it has a very annoying bug that finally caused me to once again look to another product, so for the past week I’ve been playing with Seesmic Desktop, another Twitter Client based on the Adobe AIR application.

I received so many Tweets, Direct Messages, and email asking about my testing and my thoughts that I felt it was worth writing a short blog post about……at least I’ll try to keep it short…

I’ll start with the bottom line results, for those of you with limited time or interest….I ranked them in this order, favorite first:

  1. Seesmic Desktop
  2. Nambu
  3. TweetDeck


If you’re interested in why I ranked them this way, read on……

Both TweetDeck and Seesmic Desktop have a lot in common, but Seesmic wins hands down, for the following reasons:

  • It hasn’t crashed even once in the week I’ve been using it, whereas TweetDeck would freeze up and crash at least once daily, sometimes more often;
  • With Seesmic, I didn’t need to spend a lot of time customizing the colors of the fonts, background, etc in order to be able to see everything clearly – it looked great with it’s default setup. Anyone who thinks that TweetDeck’s default white and pale grey text on a medium grey background looks great should go see a shrink – you’re a sick, sick person. Or just clearly too young to be reading this column;
  • Seesmic supports greater customization of the layout of columns;
  • Seesmic supports multiple Twitter accounts;

The only thing that kept Seesmic Desktop from getting a 5 rating is that it does not keep count of unread Tweets, as both TweetDeck and Nambu do But then again, do I really need to be reminded constantly how behind I am in reading the Tweets of those I follow? It was causing me angst, so perhaps not knowing is better.

Nambu would have been my favorite (far and away) except for one annoyance that finally got the better of me – I loved how it looks and works, and being a native Mac app instead of using the Adobe Air platform it was the most stable and least resource-intensive of the three. But it has this terrible habit of “jumping” up or down in the scrollable list of tweets, depending on which direction you’re going it (it jumps the opposite way). It would do this each time it ‘refreshed’ to pull in the most recent Tweets, thus if you were starting at the bottom of your list of unread Tweets and working your way current, it would keep jumping to the top of the list on each refresh, and vice versa if you were starting at the top and working your way down to older Tweets.

At first I was very confused — I kept wondering why I was reading the same Tweets over and over, and thought everyone else was simply having trouble with Twitter. Given that I could find very little support at Nambu’s site, and no way to contact them other than a very odd Digg-like “feature request” system (where you post your comments and then have to wait until enough people vote for it to get considered by the developers?), I decided to pitch it and give Seesmic a try.

Seesmic Desktop is working well enough that I’ll keep it, but I will definitely keep an eye on Nambu, and if the next upgrade has fixed the annoying jumping behaviour, I’ll give it another go. In the meantime I’m happy enough with Seesmic Desktop that I can comfortably recommend it to anyone looking for an easy to use Twitter desktop client.

~Trisha

What Twitter Clients have you tried? Share your opinions!


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22 Responses to “Smack Down: Seesmic vs TweetDeck vs Nambu”

  1. Damien says:

    Bizarre – I’ve never used TweetDeck or Seesmic on a mac but on Jaunty Ubuntu 9.04 Tweetdeck is black with white text by default, intuitive to use and never crashes. Whereas Seesmic Desktop is very confusing in how it handles multiple accounts and barely runs as it is always crashing or freezing up system for other apps.

    Different OS or just each to his own?

    :)

  2. Hey Trisha,

    Great thoughts here, thanks for sharing. I too started out with TweetDeck (for one account, Twhirl for the other), and moved over to Seesmic to check it out. I was pleasantly surprised by all the things you noted – the brighter color palate, multi-account functionality, etc. I ditched the other two and have been using/enjoying it ever since.

    Had never heard of Nambu, though, so your thoughts on that were particularly interesting. I’ll keep an eye on that one, since I’m a Mac guy.

    Cheers,
    Nathan
    Asgood & Better

  3. I´ve tried both, Seesimic and Tweetdeck. At my beginnings, I was deeply inlove with Seesimic because it was useful, easy to use, it never gave me any problems… until its last upgrade two weeks ago!! After I upgraded my Seesimic, I never got back my Facebook on it. Also it crashed lots of time until it became unuseful for me.

    That´s why I have changed to Tweetdeck (on PC both cases, please take note!) this week and I´m stil good impressed…. Missing my Seesimic because I was very used, but good impressed….

    Did anyone got the same trouble with the upgrade?

  4. Trisha
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Damien

    My guess is differences in the OS – I take two Mac laptops with me when I travel, one is an older PowerBook — although it is on the latest version of OS X and has upgraded RAM, it does have the older Power PC chip, not the intel, and that is the one on which I have my Twitter client running (the other one, a new MacBook Pro which is Intel based, runs my primary “work” apps), so it could just be the older processor too.

    I suppose that to be fair, I should load them both on my Intel Mac and test again, but to be honest I barely have time enough in my day as it is – maybe for some vacation fun I’ll give that a try – LOL!

  5. Trisha
    Twitter:
    says:

    @Askgood – thanks for stopping by and commenting – I’ll be sure to let you know if Nambu gets their stuff together and improves their product – I really did like it other than that one annoyance.

    @Karla – thanks also for stopping by – Somehow I’m not surprised that it would work differently (and better?) on a PC – often products are written first for PCs (of course) then they try to make a Mac-compatible version, which doesn’t always work well, sometime poorly. Yahoo Messenger is a perfect example – the PC version is great, the Mac version sucks, and still doesn’t support audibles and other features. I think it takes a team dedicated to making good Mac versions and it appears that Seesmic has such a team, perhaps TweetDeck does not. In any case I’m glad it works for you! Almost anything is better than the web interface offered by twitter.com!

  6. Dave Barnes says:

    My preference is for Nambu.
    I like the simple interface.
    I agree with Trisha that the support just sucks. There is no real support forum and the developers operate out of Dick Cheney’s undisclosed location.

    My problem with Seesmic is that is too clever. Another way of say difficult to use.
    I am also not an AIR fan.

  7. Trisha
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Dave – thanks for chiming in! I agree, I really liked Nambu’s very simple interface and stability, just hated the jumping around whilst I was scrolling. I am also NOT a fan of AIR, but am finding more apps written for it – too bad, as a native app will always be my preference.

  8. Rainer says:

    Hi Trisha,

    thx for this article. I’m not a Mac user myself (running WinXP here), but since two of the programs you mentioned are multi platform I still found your comparison very interesting. If you ever want to do an updated review, here are a few things which might be interesting for you and the other readers of your blog:

    - Recent versions of TweetDeck now support multiple Twitter accounts (that function was included about a month ago). Also a mobile version for iPhones is now available. I couldn’t test this since I own a BlackBerry but wouldn’t be too surprised if they were working on a version for those devices too. The desktop and mobile versions include a sync function for the group configuration and various other items, which is a big plus to have if using more than one computer.

    - Just last week Seesmic released Version 0.4 of their desktop app and also a version that needs no local installation at all, since it’s accessed via web browser from http://seesmic.com/app/. Should have great potential, but currently does not yet include the complete feature set of the standalone version.

    - A very cool multi platform AIR app called DestroyTwitter is available from https://destroytwitter.com/. If one has to handle lots and lots of favorites, I’d say it’s definitely the best of the three apps especially for that task. Also it is highly skinnable and many skins are downloadable from the developer’s website. In contrast to the other two it does not have facebook integration.

    Cheers!
    Rainer

  9. Donna Hull
    Twitter:
    says:

    After tweetdeck’s latest upgrade, I’m definitely ready for another twitter client. I was happy with tweetdeck until the upgrade loaded some bizarre background ad (and accompanying sound) for a rock band. Now I can hardly read the text, even with changing the background colors.

    As soon as I have the time, I’m switching to Seesmic (I’m on a MAC, too).

  10. Trisha
    Twitter:
    says:

    @Ranier – thanks for some great feedback and links! I am checking out Tweetie on the advice of someone on Twitter, and will definitely check out DestroyTwitter as well. My biggest beef with TweetDeck was the constant spinning beach balls (which is the same as the hourglass on a PC) it just drove me crazy that it would so frequently hog my CPU, then freeze and quit. But I’m not opposed to trying it again in the future to see if it’s improved.

    @Donna – that does sound weird. I think you’ll like Seesmic, but I’ll be doing a follow up in a couple of weeks on any new Twitter clients I can manage to test……I’ll keep you posted!

  11. Rainer says:

    @Donna – it seems that the built-in update routine screwed up and downloaded the Blink182-branded version of TweetDeck. To get the latest original and unbranded version just get http://downloads.tweetdeck.com/TweetDeck_0_26.air and install that one.

  12. Dave and Deb
    Twitter:
    says:

    Oh NO, I just switched from TweedDeck to Nambu. I will now have to switch to Seesmic. You see, I love your advice, so whatever you do I do:) But seriously, I had problems with TweetDeck,it kept posting my tweets twice. Luckily people were nice enough to inform me about it because the last thing I want to do is annoy people on Twitter. I just set up my account with Nambu yesterday and finally got my groups in order, so I think that I will try it for a week or so. But I bet, I will be right behind you and on Seesmic next week. I always seem to be one step behind when it comes to Twitter:)

  13. Rebecca
    Twitter:
    says:

    Thanks for the review :)

    I’ve been using Twhirl and like it. It’s compact and doesn’t take up a ton of space like TweetDeck. It’s short and sweet and gets to the point. You can link Twhirl to Twitter, Friendfeed, Seesmic, and a few others. I’ll give Seesmic a try to see how I like it.

  14. Trisha
    Twitter:
    says:

    @Ranier – thanks for the solution to Donna’s problem – I’m sure that will help others too!

    @DaveAndDeb – I know what you mean about Nambu – I really loved it – I would be very interested in hearing if you have the same problem with it jumping about while your scrolling and trying to read….(or is it just me?)….

  15. whygreenberg says:

    Here’s the heads-up…after recent updates, Nambu no longer jumps when new tweets are added to the timeline. It remains at where ever you last were. Funny thing is, my partner and I have had plenty of unstable/spinning beach ball/crashes with Nambu. He’s switched to Tweetdeck. I’m still on Nambu b/c I don’t want to run AIR. But Seesmic does seem an enticing option.

  16. Trisha
    Twitter:
    says:

    @whygreenberg – thanks for the update! I may give Nambu a try again…..I’ve been using Seesmic now for a couple of weeks, and even though I am also no fan of the AIR platform (and not an Adobe fan in general) it does seem to work well and be very stable. Not a single spinning beach ball yet, no crashes (knock wood), and it doesn’t seem to hog resources either.

    Overall I’m pretty pleased with Seesmic, but I am always on the lookout for what’s out there and willing to try anything, if for no other reason than to give my readers my own honest opinion – ‘cuz that’s me, I’m a giver :)

  17. Teri says:

    Trisha,
    Nice post, glad I found it!
    I have not used Nambu (yet) will check it out.
    My twitter/mac experience thus far:
    Seesmic~Never tried, tweets about the app problems kept me away.
    Destroytwitter~Great app for Mac, horrible name. I really liked it and found it to be easy to use. But, found out followers will unfollow when there is an issue with Twitter. And point fingers at you too!
    Tweetdeck.~up in the air about this. still. Used it but found the interface to depressing. Also, didn’t like if you had multiple accounts, sometimes you tweeted to one you hadn’t chosen. Maybe just me….
    Hootsuite~good for scheduled tweets, multiple accounts, etc. and the “hootlet” is good for sharing links. Not so great for realtime tweets. Refreshing always.
    Currently using:
    Hootsuite for hootlet and multiple account scheduled tweets, tweetdeck for live tweets.

  18. Trisha
    Twitter:
    says:

    @Teri – WOW! Excellent addition to this post – thank you for taking the time to share your experiences with those products! Based on your comments I’m going to give Hootsuite a try.

    I had the same experience with Tweetdeck, and also found it hard to read and problems with freezes, but I understand the newest version has fixed that, so I may try it again. I also have read that the latest release of Nambu has fixed the “jumping around” problem that I had so I will likely give Nambu another try as well.

    Currently I’m still using Seesmic and still pretty pleased with it overall – no problems except that I would like it even better if I could make the font larger – I’m told that may be in an update.

    I’ll probably do a follow up post in another couple of months when I’ve had a chance to try a few new apps, and re-test these.

    Thanks again for stopping by and commenting!

  19. Gary says:

    Thank you! It is so hard to find reviews for mac software, particularly new, niche products. You have no idea how thrilled I was to find your article on my first search.

    I too have been disappointed with Tweetdeck, but I don’t have a lot of time for trial and error with new apps – thanks for helping me make up my mind.

    Go Mac people!

    • Thanks Gary – I’m glad you found this helpful! I’m still using Seesmic Desktop as my primary Twitter client, but soon I’ll be posting a review of the Seesmic Web app (which I’m currently still testing). I haven’t seen anything yet that makes me want to switch to the Seesmic Web app, but it does seem cool and I’m sure there are some folks who’d prefer it over the Seesmic desktop client.

  20. Extremely interesting post thank you for writing it I have added your blog to my favorites and will check back.

  21. Art Kercy says:

    It’s onerous to find educated individuals on this matter, but you sound like you recognize what you’re talking about! Thanks

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