If you’re a Twitter fan then you’ll know that it’s not particularly well integrated with your desktop. However, there are two very simple solutions which can transform the way you use twitter – Twhirl and TwitterFox. Thanks to Adobe Air, you can now integrate twitter with your desktop much more easily courtesy of twhirl? By doing so, you can keep your status constantly updated quicker, improve your communication options and even change the look of twitter. In particular, it makes adding new friends much quicker and easier than in Twitter’s standalone version. In addition, this is a cross platform Twitter extension that works on both Windows and Mac and connects to multiple twitter and Friendfeed accounts. It provides instant desktop notification of new tweets and even allows you to post images to TwitPic. Also useful is the fact that if you’ve been pestered or bothered by either spam twitters or just someone really annoying, the most recent version also allows you to block other users. The tricky part is configuring it though – if it’s not done correctly, you run the risk of being stuck with old tweets every time you log in and being frozen out of twhirl occasionally although there is a very good user forum to seek help in. Keep track of the latest releases and developments on the twhirl blog.
However, the big downside of twhirl is that it requires installation of Adobe Air. In my opinion, it’s worth doing this although if you’re working a low spec machine, then it may be wise to avoid it. If this is your case, then you’d be much better seeking a lightweight solution in the form of TwitterFox. TwitterFox allows you to enjoy similar advantages to twhirl but the difference is that it simply plugs into Firefox. TwitterFox sits on your Firefox status bar for instant access to your friends and status changes. However, you can’t block contacts or post images like you can with twhirl although on the upside, it requires virtually no configuration whatsoever. One other minor criticism is that as you type, TwitterFox counts up to 140 characters rather than counting down which would be much more helpful because you always have to remember not to go over the 140 twitter character limit.
In summary, there’s probably little doubt that twhirl offers you more functionality than TwitterFox. However, it also requires more configuration and you’ll probably experience quite a few teething problems setting it up. If you’re just looking for a little better integration with your desktop and are working on a slow machine, go for TwitterFox. If you’re a serious twitter user, then you should definitely give twhirl a whirl.