June 16th, 2012  |  Published in mac and iphone, web design

 tweetbot  Flipboard











On the left is a screen shot of Tweetbot for iPad browsing one of my Twitter lists. On the right is a screenshot of Flipboard browsing the same Twitter list. 

One of the things I don’t like a lot about Twitter is a convention that’s become common among its more institutional voices, where it’s considered o.k. to repeatedly tweet the same link several times in a day, then again a few more times over a week. I’m not going to argue for or against, but for a time, when I was using Flipboard to browse through my Twitter lists, the practice drove me crazy. I’d see a headline, flip a bit further down the list and see either that headline again or — worse — a slightly different headline. Had I already seen it? Had I already read it? Was it offering some new information on a similarly titled piece? No telling. 

I recently started using Tweetbot to follow my Twitter lists, and noticed the same thing going but felt  more relaxed when it happened. Probably because with Tweetbot it’s possible to rip down a list, nine or ten posts at a time, and there’s no deceptive visual cueing going on, which is something I was irked about  two years ago:

Stuff that looks designed to optimally present information but is actually designed merely to ape the designed presentation of information doesn’t make the information on display any more useful or comprehensible. In Flipboard’s case, it makes it worse, because the design of the app strives to present a sense of competently arranged information but is actually presenting merely prettily arranged information. A tweet that warrants a giant piece of stock art and a large headline on one page suddenly becomes the smallest, least obviously placed aside a few pages later. 

A decent RSS reader (and not Flipboard’s low-density interpretation of Google Reader) would be preferable to both Tweetbot and Flipboard, but Twitter has provided a pressure valve for the need to share asides and no-comment linking that linked lists used to provide, and Twitter is commonly a repeater for RSS feeds, so for any topic you’re trying to follow in depth, Tweetbot’s terse and unromanticized display of The Latest is the most comprehensive and efficient way to get it all in one place. 

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