Twitter. 5 years ago that was a word that described the sound a songbird makes. And while that’s still the first definition in almost every dictionary you check, in the public mind it means something else entirely. It’s a social network, one composed of short little messages intended for public consumption. Like any good ecosystem, Twitter has changed the definitions of more words than just its name. Now we have “tweet,” “retweet,” “follow,” and of course “hashtags”. More than vocabulary, the sphere of influence Twitter has created has its clients buying into the ornithological metaphor as well. You’d be hard pressed to find a Twitter client that doesn’t have a bird or something bird-related in its icon.
It’s true of the Twitter client we’re going to talk about today. It’s called Wren, and has an adorable yellow bird as its icon. However, the similarities with its Twitter client brethren ends there. Wren is something different. By some people’s definition, it shouldn’t even be called a Twitter client. It has no timeline, no “river of information” to wade through. And yet I contest it is a Twitter client, one that every Twitter user should take a long, hard look at and see if it’s the missing piece in their Twitter workflow. Let me show you what I mean.
Have Your Day and Tweet It Too
Wren’s premise is simple: Twitter is inherently a distraction from whatever you might be doing. If what you’re trying to do is important work, then Twitter becomes a liability. So lets say you’d like to maintain your productivity during the workday, but contributing to Twitter has become a habit for you, one you’d rather not break. In theory you can’t have it both ways. If you want to Tweet, you need a Twitter client, right?
That’s where Wren comes in. It’s a Twitter client that leaves out one important thing: the timeline. Here’s what it looks like.
Conceptually, it’s a fascinating direction. And in a realm glutted with Twitter clients, I think Wren carves out a unique niche for itself. It’s an app that its creators wanted and use themselves. That has to be the start of every great product, and I’m glad to see it’s true of Wren.
So, just what does Wren show? How informative is the UI? And just how feature rich is it?
Let’s start with the first bit, what does Wren show? Well, the UI is basic enough, how about a walkthrough?
Beautifully compact, isn’t it? First (1), we’re greeted with the main Tweet area. Subtly skeuomorphic, with its notebook-inspired background, Wren doesn’t handicap itself trying to digitize analog metaphors. It takes advantage of the medium with the Drafts (2) area on the right. A nice feature right at home in a Twitter client that’s strictly about tweeting. Across the bottom is the closest thing to a timeline, (3) your most recent tweet. Not the most recent tweet in your timeline, not your most recent @mention. The last thing you said on Twitter.
A Little Egocentric?
Ok, I can hear you. Yes you in the back. You’re saying that this app seems little egocentric! After all, it’s just about tweeting what you have to say, not caring about what others say back. What happened to conversation? Isn’t that what Twitter’s so famous for?
Well, I’d like to kindly say, “I think you’re looking at this all wrong”. No where did I, or the creators of Wren for that matter, say that this should be your one-and-only Twitter client or that this is “the best way” to use Twitter. It’s not. It’s inherently lopsided, but that’s also the point.
Wren is a utility. It’s meant for select scenarios and certain circumstances. The workflow that I’ve been using is this: when I sit down at my computer with the goal of working, I quit Twitter for Mac and launch Wren. Then, if I feel the need to tweet, I can, in quiet and solitude. Once I’m done “working” I relaunch Twitter for Mac, and see what I missed.
Wren really does allow me to have the best of both worlds.
Now Go Get Wren, Then Get Back to Work
So, why are you still here? For a measly $4.99, Wren can be yours today. Go visit the Mac App Store, pick up your copy of Wren. And then get back to work!