One of the reasons Twitter is popular is for its simplistic take on social networks. Instead of encouraging users to post as much content as they can, Twitter limits the amount of information a user can put out by limiting the characters in each tweet to 140 characters.
You probably knew this already, but I’m telling you this because the app that we are reviewing today intends to bring the simplicity of the original idea of Twitter, to the Mac. It’s called Itsy, want to check it out?
The installation of Itsy is unfortunately not as simple as the app is. In order to get it up and running, you need to complete several steps, like giving permission to the app on Twitter and using a special PIN for security reasons. After you complete these steps, you’ll be able to access your Twitter feed through Itsy.
Unlike Twitter for Mac or other popular Twitter clients, Itsy is very compact, simple, and it doesn’t have many features (at least on the surface). It it is what it is: just a simple way for you to read and interact with your Twitter feed.
Much of Itsy’s appeal relies on its minimalistic looks. Everything is tiny, clean, and there are no elements inside the main app’s window other than what is necessary. Icons play a big part on interacting with the app, like they do on any other Twitter client. All the actions are also handled inside the main window of the app, you’ll never see a secondary window popup, not even for writing new tweets.
You have a small toolbar on top with the usual “Feed”, “Mentions”, “Messages” and “Search” buttons, all represented by an icon. Next to them, on the corner, is a “New Tweet” button, and below this toolbar is your feed, which we’ll get to next.
When it comes to reading your feed, Itsy isn’t much different from the competition, or even Twitter’s web interface. Your feed is shown in a long list where the newest ones are found on top and the older ones are buried below. Each tweet is shown with its corresponding information, like the user’s name, icon and the time it was sent. Retweets are handled just like they are in Twitter’s web interface, with the original user’s info being used for the tweet and a legend below that reads “Retweeted by ___”.
One thing where Itsy differentiates itself from the competition is that it doesn’t ask for you to open anything in other windows. In fact, like I mentioned before, Itsy doesn’t even have the ability to open things through different panels or windows. For example, images are automatically shown inside the feed, without the need for you to open them elsewhere, and if you want to check out a user’s other tweets, you’ll be taken to their profile inside your browser.
If you hover over any tweet in your feed, the usual interaction buttons will show up below the tweet. There, you can reply, retweet and favorite any item in your feed. If you select the “Reply” or the “New Tweet” buttons, the feed will be pushed downwards a little bit to make room for a text box above it, where you can write your replies or new tweets.
Tweets where you are mentioned will have a discrete blue background instead of the normal white/grey one. Your “Mentions” feed is much like you’d expect it to be, but the “Direct Messages” section is where it gets a bit confusing. Unlike other clients, here all of your messages are shown in one window, by date of when you sent them or received them. This makes it a bit hard to keep track of conversations with one specific user, but also makes it easy to see an overview of all your messages in one window.
Another disadvantage of this app is that it doesn’t have a way to show you the current trending topics, or anything similar. Usually these features are hidden inside the “Search” option in other clients, but in this one the “Search” section only works for what its name says.
Itsy vs. Twitter for Mac
Twitter for Mac, being the official client for the web service, is the most popular Twitter client for Mac available out there. For the most part, I think it does a great job and I’m a big fan of it, but I’ve heard people who complain a lot about it. Twitter for Mac is a pretty simple app too, but Itsy goes further in removing features from the app in order to make it less complicated.
However, while Itsy lacks some stuff in comparison to the competition, it also brings a few advantages to the table, that most other clients don’t have. For one, it has the advantage of a clean distraction-free experience. But there are other smaller details, like the inline image feature, Growl notifications for your entire feed, and customizable themes.
Overall, I like Itsy and I like some of what it brings to the market of Twitter clients. There are some elements that I love about this app, the inline images for one. However, I think for me, it lacks a few key features that Twitter for Mac has, like multiple account support and the ability to watch another user’s profile inside the app (along with their replies and other user information).
Which Twitter client do you use? Do you prefer the simple ones, or the overly complicated ones? What do you think about Itsy, or for that matter, about Twitter for Mac?