I’m an admitted Twitterholic, but I’m the first to admit that many of its basic functions leave a great deal to be desired. While Twitter certainly works on a basic level, it’s also left enough gaping holes in usability to allow for tons of development in a variety of applications.
In the last few months I’ve ping-ponged back between Twitter clients, eventually sticking with TweetDeck by virtue of the fact that it does (most) of what I (sort of) want it to do (when it feels like it). Let’s just say there’s plenty of room for improvement.
So whenever I notice a new client or Twitter service out there, I usually give it a spin. This morning, Lifehacker linked to Flocking.me, a web-best Twitter application that really serves one purpose: improving Twitter’s search. With Flocking.me, you can search your friends’ tweets for valuable information, rather than being relegated to the whole site-wide search on Twitter.
My first impression is that Flocking.me is a little clunky. I’m not a huge fan of the layout. But, all in all, the search function (which is really the only part that matters) is super fast. A quick search for “coffee” yields nine friend’s tweets from this morning. I can definitely see how that would be useful in the future. The map option is cute, but I’m not sure how useful it would be beyond the novelty stage.
Flocking.me doesn’t seem to have an advanced search, though it does allow for some search tweaking (as demonstrated in their video) as well as auto trend-tracking. It would be particularly nice to be able to search for targeted dates, etc. There have been plenty of times when I vaguely recall a tweet from the night before and can’t for the life of me find out who or what exactly it was.
At this point I’m following over 400 people (which is rather marginal compared to some follow lists I see) and finding the right tweet can be near impossible at times. But perhaps that’s simply a by-product of the Twitter model. It may be that micro-blogging just doesn’t lend itself to long-term searching, since it’s so of the moment. I suppose it entirely depends on how users use it.
Flocking.me is promising, but it does feel like yet another Twitter application that, honestly, I don’t feel like juggling. I’m kind of tired of all these new applications. Some of them do really helpful things, but the likelihood that I’m going to open up another window is kind of slim. What would be particularly great is if a client actually put together a decent search, combined with easy group creation, and a simple, customizable interface.
Maybe I’m just asking for too much from a free program…