September 09, 2009

TweetDeck Intros Twitter Directory, Expands Social Network Support

When TweetDeck first debuted more than fourteen months ago, it changed the game in terms of what users expected from a Twitter client. Iain Dodsworth's creation took Twitter out of the Web and onto the desktop, and introduced concepts such as Groups and integrated search (then done with Summize). Following the product's one year anniversary in July, Dodsworth is expanding the vision of TweetDeck to be more than just a Twitter client, instead acting as a "browser for the real-time Web". Today, TweetDeck moved further in this direction by adding MySpace support, expanding its integration with Facebook, and interestingly, starting a hand-selected Twitter directory that sits in between Twitter's controversial Suggested User List and the anarchy of WeFollow.

The New TweetDeck (Click for Full Size)

For diehard TweetDeck addicts, the changes are obvious. Instead of a string of third-party integrated services, like 12 seconds or StockTwits, you see only the major social networks - including Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. Each has sub-buttons when you select the top level site, and you can select an action below. The additions now mean you can view your entire Facebook stream in TweetDeck, including videos, photos and other social activity, including, yes, status updates. From within TweetDeck, you can also organize Facebook friends into groups and see photo albums without opening the Web browser.

While we may turn our nose up at TweetDeck's MySpace integration, Iain and team are trying to make the application a single destination for the Web's most popular networks. Facebook and Twitter are clearly growing like weeds, and Dodsworth's pet project is positioned to capitalize on that growth - with or without the "real time Web" buzzword.

The New TweetDeck Can Manage Your Facebook (From My Wall)

The New TweetDeck Directory

Meanwhile, the TweetDeck directory is a clear improvement over Twitter's unexplained Suggested User List (SUL), but looks like it's at the beginning stages. From, you can see Twitter users, organized by topic, along with the number of users included. Should you find a group of users you like, click "Add column", and their tweets will be displayed alongside those groups you have already configured. No group in the directory has more than 50 accounts, but some can be quite small, such as "EU Politics", which sports only three. The idea? The site says: "Sometimes it’s hard to find people talking about things you’re interested in on Twitter. So we’ve created the TweetDeck Directory to make it easier to find and follow your favourite subjects, a bit like a TV Guide for Twitter channels." This is similar to WeFollow, where people can tag themselves and be included (although the site is extremely high-follower centric).

Selections from The New TweetDeck Directory

Clear benefits to the new TweetDeck, slugged with version number 0.3 include the ability to browse Facebook and Twitter together in parallel. Should you be one of the odd users who also manages an active MySpace profile, then the story gets even better.

In an e-mail introducing today's changes, Iain clarified the goals, saying that with today's Internet being as much about streams as active Web pages, that " people need a new way to filter and interact with the current generation of online properties." He is clearly trying to take TweetDeck beyond Twitter - becoming what could be the future of social browsing.

Editor's Note: This story was intended to come out in a few hours, when the software was available, but other publications have released early as well - so the proverbial cat is out of the bag.

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