As far as Twitter use goes, I’m definitely a consumer and not a creator. I have a list of people I follow on Twitter, and I do enjoy keeping up-to-date with their new postings, but in reality, about the only time I post to my own Twitter account is when I’m reviewing a new desktop client. I don’t have a legion of fans anxiously awaiting my next Tweet, so I tend to simply read what other people are writing. Because of this, I don’t have a need for a fancy desktop client with tons of features (or even a desktop client masquerading as a web browser extension). All I need is something to let me know when someone I follow posted something. And Twitter Notifier, a new extension for Google Chrome, is just what I need.
Twitter Notifier is one of those pieces of software whose purpose should be obvious from its name. Twitter. Notifier. If it’s not obvious what Twitter Notifier is all about, then something is wrong! It doesn’t do more, and it doesn’t do less. It simply notifies the user of new messages.
And that’s what I love about it. Twitter Notifier is simple. To use it, just install it from the Google Chrome extensions gallery. Once installed, you’ll be taken to the Twitter OAuth page, where you can allow or deny access to your account, assuming you’re already signed into Twitter. If not, enter your Twitter login credentials, then finish the process. With OAuth, all you need to do is allow access; there’s no need to log into Twitter Notifier at any point. Just give it access to your account, and you’re ready to go.
One of the things that makes Twitter Notifier nice is that it uses the Twitter streaming API, so you don’t need to poll Twitter.com every few minutes looking for new messages. Similar to how “push” email works on the iPhone, the Twitter streaming API basically says “you have a new message!” whenever one arrives, so new notifications arrive incredibly quickly. In fact, while testing this out, I posted a new message on my Twitter account, and barely a second had gone by – if that – before Twitter Notifier was showing me a pop-up notification for the new message. Now that’s speedy service!
You can tweak Twitter Notifier so that you receive notifications of Tweets, mentions, and direct messages – either all of them or any combination you want. The notification bubbles use the Google Chrome notification system, and can be configured to remain on screen until you dismiss them, or to disappear after a few seconds. You don’t really have any other configuration options, but then Twitter Notifer doesn’t really need them.
It should be mentioned that for people looking for a full-featured Twitter client, Twitter Notifier is not the way to go. It doesn’t allow for posting your own messages, or even for initiating a reply or direct message. You can’t click on a poster’s name or profile picture to see their account… it is simply a notification system, and as such it works great, but for being wanting more it will be a bit lacking.
For me, however, it’s absolutely perfect.