Earlier this year Twitter got into some heated debate over their changing policy on third-party developers. Their clampdown on the Twitter API and the strong suggestion that developers should move away from replicating the experience of the official Twitter apps, was met with some frustration.
Trickle, however, is exactly the kind of app that Twitter is happy for third-party developers to push on with. A new take on the Twitter experience. Something that doesn’t compete with, or try to replace, fully featured Twitter clients, but merely complements them.
Read on to see if Trickle could transform the way you experience social media.
Trying to keep up with your social networking feeds can be exhausting. Depending on how many people you follow on Twitter, and how prolific they are, actually reading all of your incoming Tweets could become a nightmarish task.
While many will argue that this is not how Twitter works best, that you shouldn’t feel the need to ‘catch up’, most Twitter clients save your place and give you the feeling of being left behind. While it’s not quite the same with Facebook, the focus is always on the most recent updates, it can still leave you feeling heavy with information overload.
The pace and strain of your feeds doesn’t depend entirely upon the number of people you follow and how many friends you have, it also rests on how prolific they are. I have one friend on Twitter who seems to use it for communicating with the person opposite him in the office, he’s been known to post upwards of 40 tweets in a morning…
Trickle aims to lift the weight of feed overload by giving you one Tweet or update at a time. That’s right, just one.
Each update appears in large white letters that fill the screen, the contrast with the background making them effortlessly easy to read. New updates are pushed in from the right the moment they land.
You may have noticed by now that I’m actually doing a joint review here, Trickle is not a single app but rather two apps – one for Twitter and one for Facebook. Their functionality is almost identical, so I thought it apt to review them together.
Apart from the core functionality described above, there are actually a few really nice touches to the functionality of Trickle.
Trickle for Facebook allows you to tap on an update to see a couple of potential actions. The time the status was posted is shown, as is the info icon (which takes you to the settings page) and the ‘like icon. Simply hold your finger on the ‘like’ icon for a second or so and it goes a bright blue – an update is sent to Facebook immediately.
Double-tapping on the status itself will take you directly to it in Safari, a really useful feature!
The setting for Trickle allow you to customise almost anything. You can have the ‘like button permanently displayed, set a refresh time, set a minimum time for new updates, and adjust which links are tappable, among other things.
Trickle for Twitter allows you to instantly Retweet and favourite an item, while double-tapping the Tweet itself will take you to your favourite Twitter client – another nice touch!
Tweetbot support was recently added, showing that development of Trickle is currently continuous and thoughtful.
It’s interesting that in order to favourite something, Retweet, or ‘like’ it you have to hold your finger down for around a second. It’s something that many developers would make happen at a single touch. In practice, however, I rather like the gradual fading in of the colour – it somehow gives added weight to your actions!
The suggested use of Trickle is in an iPad dock, so it’s raised and easily viewable. The iPad 2′s Smart Cover works perfectly for this, Trickle can just sit on your desk and drip feed you updates all day long.
While the concept behind Trickle is great, and the execution hits the spot, there are still a couple of suggestions I’d like to make. As you’ve probably been thinking since earlier on in this review, why are there two separate apps?
It’s not that the apps are expensive, they aren’t, it’s that most people will have both Twitter and Facebook and I’m sure would love to have the option of joint functionality. It’s strange that you have to choose at the beginning of your day which social feed you are going to follow.
If it’s a choice based on keeping the simplicity of the app, then it’s understandable – if a little frustrating. If it’s a money issue then I’d suggest slightly raising the price and creating a universal app – $1.49 is still a reasonable price for a strong single-function app.
Finally, and this is a very small note on the suggestions front, why would you choose not to go with the official colours of the two social networks you are using, unless it’s a copyright thing? The trickle icon would look great in both Twitter, and Facebook, blue.
Trickle is a good example of an app that is based on a strong single concept and has succeeded. The extra functionality merely complements the central concept, rather than distracting from it.
It really is less obtrusive and stressful to have only a single update at a time visible. Trickle allows you to feel in touch with your social networks, but not overwhelmed by them. It’s a very useful app to have open while you’re working on something else, so long as the occasional distraction isn’t too costly.
I, personally, like to stand my iPad in a slightly raised position and allow Twitter, and occasionally Facebook, to continue around me while I’m working. Both Trickle apps are well priced at only $0.99, although, as I said before, a universal app would be ideal.
If you’d like a new way to experience your social feeds, that doesn’t require any strain on your part, then Trickle may be for you. It’s a wonderfully passive way to engage with the world.
Trickle is a passive Twitter client. It shows you a single tweet at a time, allowing you to feel in touch with your social networks, but not overwhelmed by them.7