Long-term readers of this blog will recall that I have repeatedly sung the praises of TweetDeck, and it’s certainly true that this Twitter client has significantly improved the way a lot of us interact and engage with our networks.

However, a few weeks back TweetDeck started giving me a lot of problems. Specifically, my groups, which I set up to closely monitor my favourite Twitterers, were acting all kinds of crazy. Some accounts – including big guns like @Mashable, @Wired and @NYTimes – stopped showing up completely (not just in groups), and it got to a point where it was almost unusable. It’s a shame, as the rest of the functionality, and the robustness of TweetDeck itself, continues to appeal. There’s no doubt that TweetDeck set the benchmark for what could be done, and I’m sure that they’ll continue to make improvements to the product with each release.

About six weeks ago, I reviewed Seesmic Desktop. At that time, Desktop had several large bugs that meant it wasn’t a viable alternative to TweetDeck for me, even though I liked a lot of the other features.

Seesmic Desktop

Since then, Seesmic Desktop has gone through a few major upgrades, and I started testing it again during version 0.2, and really liked what I saw. The groups (called ‘userlists’) function is far easier to manage and administer than it ever was on TweetDeck, which even when it was working had some irritating glitches, and many ‘power-users’ have stated that groups stop working entirely above a certain number of users (about five thousand, I believe).

Meantime, adding and removing accounts from userlists on Seesmic is a very simple process.

Seesmic Desktop - Editing A Userlist

And get this: you can add users to your groups even if you’re not following them. How’s that for being able to optimise your feed?

Running multiple groups is also a breeze in SD, and I now have my client set up with separate userlists for professional contacts, friends, and so on.

SD also supports multiple user accounts – I only have one, but others like to separate the professional and the personal – and the search panes within the app work the same way as in TweetDeck, so you have that full functionality, too, which helps you limit API calls.

Version 0.2.1 was released earlier today, and with it are a bunch of exciting new features, including, most importantly for me (and lots of other folk), a spell-checker! This was, I think, the only aspect of TweetDeck that I really missed. I mean, I’m a fairly decent writer but we all make mistakes, and I’ve noticed that my typos have gone up considerably since I switched to Seesmic. Not, as they say, no more.

Well, not quite – the spell-checker currently supports US English only, so it’s not a great option for everybody. I imagine other languages will be available in the future, and for me it’s very easy to right-mouse click and add any words I know are spelled correctly to the built-in dictionary.

Other improvements from version 0.2:

  • Ability to view and enter comments into Facebook
  • Now supporting pikchur and yfrog to share images on Twitter
  • Added spam reporting feature to help send spam warnings to Twitter’s @spam account
  • Ability to block users who are following you on Twitter
  • Ability to use Tweetshrink before sending messages (see http://tweetshrink.com/about)
  • Access to view favorites within your Twitter account timeline
  • Improved profile enhancements (added follow/unfollow within a profile along with the ability to reply and direct message)
  • Option to start Seesmic Desktop at login
  • Verification dialog box upon deletions of Userlists, Searches
  • For OSX: Added standard buttons for OSX and improved idle CPU usage
  • Displayed version information in update tab

If you’re a fan of TweetDeck – and certainly if your Twitter experience is limited to Twitter.com – I strongly urge you to check out the new and very, very much improved Seesmic Desktop.

Direct Download: http://d.seesmic.com/seesmic/SeesmicDesktop-0.2.1.air

(Requires Adobe AIR. Works on Windows, OSX, Linux.)

This week, I’m planning to do a video review of the new Seesmic Desktop to show off a few other tips and tricks, as well as revealing how I set up the software to fully engage and manage both the people I follow, and the folk who are kind enough to follow me. Watch my timeline for news! :)