I like Twitter.com for its speed, lack of API call worries and because it’s still the easiest way to follow (and unfollow) somebody, but it doesn’t support columns, nor does it provide me with a one-click way to retweet (in the style I prefer) or send a direct message.
I like HootSuite a lot (it might actually be the closest thing we have to perfect), but it defaults to ow.ly URL shortening, which lots of readers don’t like, and doesn’t let you change this to anything else, like bit.ly. Which means when I want to use bit.ly, I have to go to bit.ly. Which takes me away from HootSuite.
I like Seesmic Desktop – or rather, I did – but the latest build defaults to Twitter’s style of retweet and they’ve removed the buttons from the account pane (which I loved).
I like TweetDeck on the iPhone, but unless you’ve got a strong 3G signal (or access to wireless) it runs super-slowly (if at all), and loading new tweets can take forever.
I used to like TweetDeck on my PC, but it started to have fits when you followed a large amount of people and was prone to ignoring the tweets of some of my network altogether. And while I like the audible notification, I really, really hate the sound it makes.
The thing is, nothing is perfect. We’ve still yet to see the ultimate Twitter client. There is always, without fail, some kind of compromise. You find the software that does most of the things you like well and either ignore or put up with the rest. And this is why whenever a brand new client comes out and gets some hype, many of us will install and try it out. We have some loyalties to our existing software, but they only go so far. If a competitor’s client has what we have now plus one, we’re very likely to abandon ship.
This is why I really believe that a plugin-supportive Twitter client is absolutely the way forward. If you want function X, then you install it. If you don’t want function Y, then you uninstall. Reality check: no Twitter client will ever be perfect for everybody. But with plugins, it could very easily be perfect for you.