iPad Mini vs Nexus 7
Thirst For Twitter: app of the day
Thirst Labs Inc.
What is it?
Thirst is an iPad app that aims to solve that most pressing of problems for geeks in 2012: how to avoid being overwhelmed by an increasingly busy tweetstream on Twitter.
Its ability to aggregate and analyse all the tweets by people you follow, however often you fire up Thirst, and identify the key topics you should know about.
iPad - free
Twitter used to be fun. Now it's starting to feel like a full-time job. As more people sign up and more microblogging uses become apparent, staying on top of your tweetstream is increasingly challenging.
Yet having it running in a visible window on your computer throughout the day can be incredibly distracting to, well, your actual full-time job.
It's a very 2012 problem, but one that's begging for good solutions: ways to make sense of your tweetstream by pulling out the important stuff, so you can check in once or twice a day and feel like you've not missed anything major.
Thirst Labs Inc.
Flipboard is one popular example of an app that aims to do this. News.me is another. And Twitter is clearly alive to the problem: in January this year it bought a company called Summify that turned people's social feeds into daily digest emails.
Now there's Thirst For Twitter too. It's an iPad app whose blurb promises that it "condenses the hundreds or thousands of tweets you get everyday into a beautiful digest of topics your friends and following are talking about", however often you check.
Like Flipboard and News.me, it's a step in the right direction without quite being the full solution I was hoping for. It works well: not just identifying the main topics in your tweetstream, but serving up the tweets, news stories, pictures and related topics around them in a very visual 'newspaper' view.
It looks good, although it's clearly taken most of its design cues from the official Twitter iPad app - swiping panes included. Thirst acts as a Twitter client in its own right too though, so you can tweet, browse your timeline and mentions in the normal way, run searches and browse trending topics.
It's worth remembering that Thirst is only as interesting as your tweetstream. At the time of writing, the first 10 topics in my Newspaper are Twitter, Facebook, Game of Thrones, Google, Apple, Samsung, iOS, BBC, Spotify and iTunes.
As a technology journalist, it reminded me how skewed towards work my use of Twitter is, and felt like a bit of a busman's holiday as I settled down to test the app in the evening.
That's not Thirst's fault, of course. But it would be nice to be able to drill down specifically into, say, what music people have been linking to, or what YouTube videos they've been posting. Youknow, non-work stuff.
Even so, there's something good going on here: a kernel of something useful enough to deserve a space on your iPad's homescreen alongside your Twitter client of choice.
Making sense of people's tweetstreams is a complex challenge, but Thirst is one of the apps giving hope that it can be solved.