When we walked through UberTwitter for BlackBerry, we noted that there are a ton of BlackBerry Twitter clients out there. Never ones to shy away from a self-imposed challenge, we’re going to run through a bunch more. Hey, might as well do it while Twitter’s still hot, right? This time around we’re going to examine Twibble. It’s a Java-based application which debuted for Nokia phones, but has spread to the BlackBerry. They even have a desktop client, though it seems most people prefer TweetDeck from the desktop. Anyway, here’s a walk-through of Twibble, from download to sending pictures.
As a preemptory note, if you have an older version of Twibble already installed on your BlackBerry, it’s best to uninstall it before downloading the new version. As of this writing, the version is 0.9.19. If yours is older than that, delete first. To download Twibble, head to http://m.twibble.de/ from your BlackBerry. At the top of the screen, right below the version number, you’ll be prompted to click a link if you are on a BlackBerry. Obviously, that’s what you’re looking for. That will bring you to a page containing the system requirements and Terms of Service. I always recommend reading the ToS, though no one (myself included) actually reads them. Under No. 3, click the link to start the download process. Once you download and run the app, the first screen you’ll see is Options. This will allow you to enter in your Twitter account information and set a few preferences. These preferences include the application’s theme, serveer API root (leave it at twitter.com if you don’t know what this means), how often to check for new tweets, and vibration. In addition, you’ll be able to set a few text templates, either for your tweets or for searches. Finally, there are options to show profile pictures and to jump atop the list when new tweets arrive. Once you’re done there, hit the Menu button and save up.
Sending a tweet and pictures
First thing’s first. If you want to send a new tweet, just hit the Menu button and select the second option, “tweet.” That brings you to a plain text screen asking the basic Twitter question: What are you doing? Enter in your new status, and then click in the trackball. There you can either hit twibble! and share your status with the world, or you can check out a few other options. Right below the twibble! option is Attach picture. Sending pictures via Twitter is pretty popular, and many users ask us how to send pictures from the various Twitter clients. Twibble makes it easy by placing the function right in the tweet screen. Not only can you do this from the menu, but you can also do it right from the status screen. There’s an option to add a picture right below your status, so you can’t miss it. In the menu there is a quick way to clear the picture, too. This is also where you can select your template text for insertion. If you have a few go-to lines, this might come in handy (mine’s “Ty Cobb stabbed a guy”). And, if you’re the uptight type, you can spell check your tweet here. Though given the lingo most twitterers use, I’m not sure it matters.
Replies, direct messages, retweets
Another popular Twitter feature is the ability to reply to fellow twitterers, to retweet what they said, and to send direct messages. Anyway, the process is pretty simple. Just click the Menu button when you’re highlighting the target tweet and select “@-reply to”, or “direct message to”. That will automatically fill in the proper fields. You can send a direct message to anyone by clicking on the third menu option, “direct message”, and then entering in the recipient manually. Retweets work similarly. Highlight the target tweet, hit the Menu button, and select “retweet”. That will automatically fill in the proper fields in your status field. The only issue is that if the “RT @” field makes the tweet too long, twibble will truncate the message, clipping off the beginning. This is annoying, since it will take of the “RT” part.
Location-based services are starting to pop up more and more, particularly with social networking. Since Twitter is essentially a social network, you can imagine that many Twitter clients use this in their interface. To announce your location on twibble, hit the Menu button and select “location”. Select Start GPS to get going. You’ll have to allow the application certain permissions. Once you hit Allow, you can broadcast your location. To stop this, go to “location” again and select Stop GPS. Just like you can normally do in Twitter, you can change your location manually with twibble. In the same “location” screen, select “Update profile location”. There you’ll be able to broadcast your whereabouts without letting people know specifically where you are. Finally, you can check out your friends’ locations if they have GPS enabled. Highlight the friend’s tweet and hit the Menu button, going to “location” again. The top option will allow you to display this friend’s location on a map.
Following and unfollowing
Another aspect people always ask about regarding a Twitter client is the ability to follow and unfollow people. Sometimes this is straight forward. In others it is an adventure. Yet in others it is not offered at all. Thankfully, it’s rather easy with twibble. Highlight the user you want to unfollow, click Menu, and select “(un)follow”. Here you’ll see the user’s name in the “Name” field, and a little note that you will be (un)following this user. You can either keep the name or enter in a different username. Then click the trackball, which will bring up two primary options: Follow! and Unfollow! Select the appropriate one, and you’ve added someone to follow — or unfollow.
Search has been all the craze with Twitter — in fact, it’s how many commentators believe they’ll eventually make money. Real-time search is valuable, and it’s available with twibble. Just click in Menu on the main screen, then go to “search”. Here you’ll be able to search for your own string, or else hit the Menu button to select one of your template strings. You can also search by username. To see where your friends have been mentioned, you can enter their user name, preceded of course by the @ sign, in the search field. Or else you can highlight one of their tweets and select “links” from the menu. Here you can choose to search for the user, or else view his or her timeline. The only quibble I have with the search function is that I haven’t been able to find a way to get back to my own timeline after performing a search. After a few minutes of frustration I just closed twibble and reopened it. Has anyone else noticed this as a problem? Am I missing something right in front of my nose?
Twibble has a series of keyboard shortcuts to help you navigate without hitting the Menu button every two seconds. Here’s the quick list: Update timelines: * or u
tweet: 1 or t
DM: 2 or d
@-reply: 3 or r
RT: 4 or f
DM to user: 6
Search: # or s
Options: 0 Remember, you’ll have to use the ALT key as needed.
Just a couple of final thoughts, in closing:
- I love the speed. If you don’t let avatars load, twibble is a fast, streamlined Twitter experience.
- I do have that gripe about not being able to return after a search.
- It would be nice to have a place where you can see replies, but a search for your own username will take care of that.
- Same thing with direct messages: no place dedicated for them.
Other than that, I’ve quite enjoyed my twibble experience. Both it an UberTwitter have set a high bar for other Twitter apps. NOTE:If you would like to check out some other options for using Twitter on your BlackBerry, please be sure to read our BlackBerry Twitter Applications Ranked post where we fill you in on all the best Twitter apps available.