One of the best aspects of Twitter is the sheer number of clients that can be used with the micro-blogging service. While some services such as TweetDeck provide a full-screen dashboard of your timeline, direct messages, and searches, some people find that much information overwhelming--especially when you just want to watch your timeline. Enter Itsy, a minimalist Twitter client available for free from the Mac App Store.
Itsy appears as a single column on the desktop. It can be lengthened to match the height of the screen and narrowed or widened to take up between 1/8th and 1/4th of the desktop. The timeline appears with the icons of your followers next to their words in white bubbles. Along the top of the Itsy window are dark gray icons for the home timeline, @ replies, direct messages, search, and new tweets. Hover over a tweet and icons appear for retweeting, replying, and favoriting. New tweets appear via Growl pop-ups.
While Itsy's presence on the desktop is unobtrusive, we like the ability to instantly hide or show the app by clicking on the icon in the bar at the top of the screen. We also enjoyed how posted pictures appeared right within the timeline. Likewise, clicking on links instantly loaded the linked story in our default browser, but Itsy remained in the foreground, which allowed us to keep scrolling through the latest tweets.
Composing a tweet in Itsy is a breeze. Click on the word bubble icon and enter up to 140 characters. There's a link shortener just to the left of the "Send" button, which took us a tweet or two to discover. We wish Itsy included mouse-over labels for all of its icons to reassure users that the icon does what you think it does. Considering the real-time nature of Twitter, no one wants to be post an errant tweet.
In addition to the home timeline, Itsy also displays your @ replies, direct messages, and basic searches. The @ replies column appeared just as crisp and clean as the timeline, but direct messages were another story. Instead of grouping direct messages by conversation or person, they're listed by when they were sent. While the messages are in the same bubbles as the timeline and @ replies, a small envelope appears below direct messages you receive, which creates a reply.
If you're composing a new direct message, you have to manually enter the direct message command and the user's name, as Itsy doesn't auto-fill from your followers list. For example, in order to send a message we had to type "d geekinchief" and then compose the message. We hope Itsy addresses this issue soon.
Itsy is still growing as an app, and we expect that newer versions will fix our minor quibbles. The clean interface, smooth scrolling, and mostly intuitive icons make this app easy on the eyes, and we really like the simplicity with which it displays your timeline. If you're big on direct messages, this app might drive you nuts, but if you're more of a Twitter scanner than a tweeting fiend, it's worth a download.