Twhirl minimizes time spent on microblogging

I'm a big fan of microblogging services like Twitter, Pownce, and Jaiku, but a number of solutions that have popped up to help you make the influx of information more bearable can also be overwhelming.

To help sort through some of that chaos is Twirl, an Adobe Air-based communications application for Twitter that sits on your desktop and monitors the traffic flow of your friends. Sure, there are similar apps that do this, like Snitter, Spaz and Tweetr, but none of those let you post to services besides Twitter.

The latest build of Twirl is nice enough to let you plug in your log-ins from Jaiku and Pownce (two popular competitors) in order to cross-post whatever you're Tweeting about. Yes, there were ways to do this before, but this involves no such RSS hackery, and lets you tweak either of those two external accounts in one place. And for those of you who have more than one Twitter account, you can add in as many as you'd like (I successfully added six).

As an app, Twhirl feels very similar to Snitter, although I found the selection of skins to be a little more robust. There are a dozen to choose from, and none of them are tied to the size and style of text, or the shape of the window. It's also got several handy features that the Web front end for Twitter doesn't have, like a built-in tool to shorten URLs from two different services (Snurl and, and message notifications that can be tweaked right down to how much speaker volume you want to give them.

The one crucial thing that's missing (and such a tease) is the inability to pull in feeds from the other two services. While it's nice to send out your message to three places at the same time, it's a one-way street. It's also worth noting that Pownce and Jaiku differ distinctively from Twitter in making replies from other users more of a public experience, which might get a little hairy when all three are getting the same message from you.

Twhirl's been kicking around since mid-November of last year, and you'll need the latest version of Adobe' AIR runtime to have it work on your system. Screenshots after the break.

Related: The many flavors of Twitter

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I've been experimenting with Twittercasting live Web news lately (see Facebook press conference and Web 2.0 Summit reports). But I found doing so from itself a little tedious. So I went searching for desktop Twitter applications. Previously I've used Twitteroo, which is solid if light on features. But there are new Twitter apps being written for Adobe's AIR platform. Here are three that I've tried and like.

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