I’ve written before about Dabr, an alternative way to view Twitter on your mobile handset’s web browser. Dabr has significantly more functionality than Twitter mobile and while there are various downloadable Twitter clients available on most handsets (notably the iPhone and Blackberry) I’d like to discuss why I’ve now switched almost completely to Dabr for my mobile Twitter access.
I have a Blackberry Bold. I’ve been using Dabr for about a week now. Prior to this all of my mobile Twittering was done via a combination of Twitter mobile and an application called TinyTwitter.
I like TinyTwitter. In my opinion it’s significantly better than the more popular Twitterberry. It loads quickly and looks nice and it’s pretty easy to reply to people and interact with the Twitter stream. It also has a decent-sized tweet box which I like a lot.
However, as I’ve become increasingly familiar with the Dabr interface I’ve found myself using TinyTwitter less and less. In fact, the last couple of days all I ever use TinyTwitter for is the act of tweeting itself. This seems like a big deal, because that’s what Twitter is all about, isn’t it? In fact, it’s not that big a deal at all.
Why? Because as I’ve said numerous times, Twitter is all about socialisation, and whereas the act of tweeting is of course a large part of that, most of the time you’re actually reading other people’s submissions. Unless you’re extremely prolific – and I’m prone to the odd tweet or three myself – a big part of your Twitter day is passing your eyes over the stream. The actual time you’re tweeting yourself is relatively small.
And this is where Dabr excels. It loads quickly, gives me fast access to my @reply and direct message inboxes, as well as the public ‘everyone’ stream. There’s one-click access to Twitpic, which runs within Dabr and is even more convenient than visiting the site itself. I also get a neat ‘friends’ tab, which shows me the latest updates of all of my followers (ordered in the date I added them, chronologically in reverse). Very useful.
Dabr has also some nice touches, too. When perusing the site on the main ‘home’ display any @replies to you show up in a different colour, which is really handy and means you don’t have to hang out in the replies tab.
Now, you’ll remember at the beginning of this article I said I had almost switched completely to Dabr. And that’s where we get back to the business of tweeting itself. Most of them I still tweet using TinyTwitter, simply because like Twitter mobile Dabr’s tweet box is a bit on the small side. Yes, I can zoom in and make it bigger with my Blackberry but then it scrolls off to the right and gets very unpleasant indeed. It’s a lot bigger than the pretty pathetic text box you get on Twitter mobile, but it’s still not big enough for my needs. So, when I want to tweet, most of the time I’ll switch over to TinyTwitter and write my tweet there. This may change in the future.
However, Dabr owns TinyTwitter in pretty much every other respect, most notably when it comes to speed, clarity, functionality and all those little extra touches that make you smile. Being frank, if you’re limited to using the standard Twitter.com on your computer (i.e., at work) I’d recommend switching to Dabr.co.uk instead as it has a lot more functionality than Twitter’s pretty minimalist, feature-free page.
As stated, the majority of your time spent on Twitter involves reading, not writing. For that reason, I find that Dabr is more than sufficient for about 90% of my mobile Twitter usage. Certainly when I find myself on the train or the bus, sitting on a park bench or hanging out in the coffee house, Dabr loads so quickly and efficiently that it’s a total breeze to catch up with my followers and engage with the Twittersphere. And for that 10% of the time when I’m writing tweets, it’s not too much hassle to switch over to TinyTwitter.
Although I have to admit it does feel a bit like cheating.