As a bit of background I have been using Tweetdeck for a few months. I have it on every computer I own, including my iPhone, and I like it a lot. Deciding to try another on a whim was sort of like trying it even though I figured it wasn’t going to be as good. I was wrong.
Right off the bat I was put off when I went to install it, since Seesmic wouldn’t just install by clicking the install button on their website, I had to go the manual install route. No biggy, but that kind of stuff bugs me when I trying something new – first impressions and all that. Once installed, I was confronted with a light, Mac-like interface that is easy to read and figure out. The setup is quick and simple, so I was up and running in less than a minute. The main core of Seesmic features are very similar to those of Tweetdeck, but the differences once I started using it were quite apparent.
Seesmic has a column on the left that handles views within the interface, making it rather easy to view your groups (userlists), accounts, and saved searches. The saved searches is a feature that I would very much like to see in Tweetdeck. You are also able to set the view to display only your own messages by clicking the sent option, another nice option, although I am unsure how often I would actually use it.
As far as the interface goes, I like the fact that you can make your home column sticky, and all the others scroll, and the custom window skin on the application itself. Like I said I was immediately struck with the overall design, and how easy it was to read. The default color scheme for Tweetdeck isn’t all that great. It’s dark and the window chrome hasn’t been skinned, but you have a lot of control over the colors of the application from the settings – so it all can be changed.
There are equal parts good and bad in each to make it almost a wash, but the saved searches in Seesmic makes me lean that direction just a bit. Tweetdeck is more polished in some ways, revealing that it’s a bit more mature as an application. The drag and drop move features of the columns in Seesmic is a nice feature, but the actual movement is clunky. There should be visual clues to the fact that I moving a column, not just a small box with a plus sign in it. The scroll bars also act up a bit, I’m looking at my friends column from a userlist right now, and even though there are hundreds of messages in that column, the scroll bar moves through only 5 or 6.
Overall, Seesmic is a strong application and it’s quite obvious they did their homework before releasing it into the wild. It has all of the features I would expect, plus a few that I didn’t and would like to see in Tweetdeck. Is all of this enough to make me want to switch over from Tweetdeck? Right now I would say…. maybe? It’s a toss up really. It’s a pretty solid application with an excellent feature set, so that alone warrants a look.