Tweetie (now Twitter for Mac) used to be my very favorite Twitter client. Unfortunately, while it’s added long-overdue features like true retweeting and list support, it falls behind clients like Echofon or Twitteriffic in some significant ways:

– Twitter only displays conversations starting from the tweet you select and following the reply chain up to the tweet that started it. It doesn’t follow the chain forward to tweets that may have followed up on the selected tweet. Echofon follows the chain both ways, making conversations much easier to follow.

– The developers decided that any ancillary views, such as conversation or profile views, should be loaded on top of the main timeline. While this saves on width, width is not really at a premium with today’s displays. It’d be much more convenient to be able to view these added panes alongside the main timeline.

– Widgets representing additional accounts are placed below the main navigation. This was a kludge back in Tweetie 1.0 and it’s not any better now. Accounts should be grouped together visually, preferably in a single drop-down menu.

– The Esc key doesn’t work for cancelling a new tweet. There’s a super-secret hidden preference for enabling this feature; but it should have been the default behavior. Triggering a Cancel button via the Esc key isn’t just a nice-to-have — it’s Mac OS expected behavior.

– URL-shortening behavior is too smart for its own good. Twitter won’t let you manually shorten URLs; instead, it numbers the remaining characters as if all URLs were already shortened. While one can get used to this, it’s initially confusing. The manual URL-shortening keyboard command that Tweetie 1.0 featured should not have been removed.

– Tweet text is rendered in a shade of gray that even to my youngish eyes is not the most legible. A couple options for customizing tweet appearance would have been welcome. Heck, Tweetie 1.0 at least had a font size preference. It’s gone in Twitter for Mac.

Maybe an update will address some or all of these issues. For now, you can do better than Twitter for Mac — even for the price of free.

January 6, 2011