Twitter clients are a dime a dozen. I’ve gone through a fair amount of them before finding my current favorite: TweetList (on the recommendation from Hillel Fuld on Appboy). So when I read Jolie O’Dell’s piece on a new, quirky Twitter client called “Twheel” I wanted to give it a try. I didn’t expect that I would love it as much as I do, but more on that later…..
The Twheel concept
Rather than displaying Twitter feeds in a linear form, Twheel displays a wheel. Each cog in the wheel represents a tweet in your Twitter feed. As you move your finger around the wheel, the app displays one tweet at a time with an accompanying bar describing how many times the post has been retweeted.
Here’s how its creators describe Twheel:
“We based the look and feel of twheel on our understanding of how human brains work, which derives from cognitive research conducted by our team’s members,” – Fluid Interactions CEO Kalle Määttä (from IT Wire).
“Twheel is designed to help our brains process information. Twheel does not curate or filter information, but reshapes the way data is displayed based on our understanding of human cognition.” - Fluid Interaction Chairman, Kristian Lukander (from Wired U.K.)
What’s great about Twheel
I alluded to the fact that I’ve become a big fan of Twheel and here’s why: it’s simple and uncluttered.
Its greatest utility is in focusing your attention to individual tweets in your feed. I love the simplicity and lack of an overwhelming barrage of tweets. Twheel has a very elegant design and brings a zen presence to an otherwise frenetic Twitter environment. I can’t speak to its proclivity to help our brains process information, but I find it a much more useful way to filter and consume other people’s content than any other mobile app that I’ve used.
The fine print
Despite my enthusiasm there are some drawbacks with Twheel. Most notably, the interface takes some time to get accustomed to. The middle button acts as a back button. When you dig into a tweet the cogs become action buttons allowing you to favorite, retweet, reply, search referenced hashtags or follow a link.
Also, you can use Twheel to see mentions and messages, but I find navigating these more efficient in an app like Tweetlist. And Twheel uses up a lot of memory causing a error and shut down after extended use (it starts up effectively afterwards).
Jolie O’Dell (in the article referenced about) posits that Twheel is going to be a prime candidate to lose access to the Twitter API. So if you’re into long-term commitment, Twheel may not be for you.
Bring it home
Because it’s so radically different from the norm, I imagine that Twheel won’t achieve the popularity that other mobile Twitter apps do. It’s a fantastic app and I highly recommend trying it (did I mention that it’s free?).
You may find that you love it as much as I do.