Digsby unveils new Twitter features

Multiprotocol instant-messaging client Digsby announces new features at DemoFall focusing on a completely revamped Twitter interface.

Multiprotocol-messaging client Digsby has announced new features at DemoFall focusing on a completely revamped Twitter interface.

At the time of writing, users must download Digsby build 65, which will then auto-update to build 67, which includes the new features.

The new Twitter timeline window in Digsby features new posts at the bottom, plus a Favorites option. (Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

Once logged in, users, set to follow Digsby on Twitter by default, are given two ways to manage their tweets. The tweet timeline is a single-window column that starts with the oldest ones at the top. It is accessible only by double-clicking on the Twitter bar in the Digsby Buddy List pane.

Running the oldest tweets on top runs counter to the Twitter Web site, as well as just about every other Twitter client around, and already, there's a heated debate over the tweet order in the Digsby blog post announcing the new feature.

Most recently received tweets and the status update box reside at the bottom of the timeline window, but every time you open the timeline window, it will go to your most recently read new tweet. Mouse over a tweet, and Twitter functions such as Reply, ReTweet, and Direct Message will appear.

There's also a new option that should be familiar to Internet Explorer users: Favorite. Mark a tweet as Favorite, and when you switch the view to Favorites--accessible behind the drop-down arrow at the top of the window--you'll see a list of all your Favorite-marked tweets. Other options include a History view that shows off only your tweets, as well as group creation and editing.

Digsby's mouse-over Twitter stream. (Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

Mouse over the "quick look" Twitter pop-up window that's part of the Digsby Buddy List, and the tweet timeline runs in the traditional direction. Although Reply, ReTweet, Direct Message, and Favorite are also available from this view, forcing users to switch tweet stream directions depending on which pane they're using doesn't strike me as particularly logical. There's no option for altering the defaults in the timeline or the quick-look pane.

Twitter account options in Digsby. (Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

In Digsby build 67, users get two methods for updating their tweets. They can use the text field at the bottom of the Twitter timeline pane, or use the global status updater available from the drop-down menu at the top of the Buddy List. It comes with a character counter, useful, even though the global updater can be toggled to work for other social-networking statuses. The Twitter timeline text field and the global-status updaters will both automatically shorten URLs and automatically upload photos. Auto-shortening can be toggled in the drop-down menu by clicking on character count.

Some users have been complaining about stability problems that are probably related to the untested nature of programs that debut at DemoFall. If you don't mind the unusual flow of the timeline window, or if you're a Digsby user to begin with, this Twitter implementation isn't perfect, but it's a strong step forward for a program that already supports MySpace, Facebook, and LinkedIn.