I’m sure many of you are already familiar with Twitter, which is sort of a messaging service to allow for more ubiquitous communication. For those who aren’t aware, the folks at Common Craft have made an excellent video to explain it:
So, there are a variety of ways and places you can include Twitter. Personally, I have it set up via IM using their Jabber service, and also have it added as an application on Facebook. I’ve even added it as a sidebar on my website. These are all free services that haven’t required me to install anything to use.
However, there are some really fantastic other options for those who want a bit more of a robust user experience. Icon Factory has an OS X stand alone application that sort of set the gold standard for 3rd party twitter apps, called Twitterrific, which integrates your tweets right into the operating system, making for a seamless and easy experience. I used it for a while, however when they started charging for it, I stopped using it, and instead stuck with the Jabber services, which, while adequate, lacks both the punch and the reliability Twitterrific offered.
Recently, however, the IM services Twitter offers went down due to overload (a LOT of people use Twitter, and it is a constant battle to keep up with user demand), and has remained down for over a week, leading me to re-look at the 3rd party landscape. So, now I’m trying out an application called Spaz, which has been written using Adobe’s AIR framework, Spry (a free AJAX framework also from Adobe), and jQuery. It’s open-source (modified BSD license), free, and multiplatform (OS X, Windows, and Linux). While I miss the seamlessness (and lack of another icon cluttering my Dock) of Twitterrific, otherwise it seems to be a very respectable client, and well worth the time to check out.