[Mac OS X] Watch tweets and trends with ‘Echelon: a passive Twitter client’

mzl.bftstxwj.800x500-75We’re lucky enough to live in an age where Twitter news of an earthquake travels faster than the quake itself. Twitter is a great tool to harness the power of crowdsourcing, discover trending topics and news events, or showing the reach of your brand. More and more often, professionals in all fields are using Twitter and other social media tools during presentations and meetings. Sure, you could showcase Twitter with a laptop connected to a projector…but sometimes, you don’t want to use your own Twitter account in such a public way. Enter Echelon: a passive Twitter client.

What is it and what does it do

Main Functionality

Echelon is like a more beautiful version of Twitter’s Trending Topics, paired with Twitter search. Featuring an elegant, beautiful display, this tool is great for showing what’s going on with Twitter at parties, meetings, or conferences.

Pros

  • Search by keyword, hashtag, or @username
  • Requires no Twitter account to use
  • Customizable look and display: you can set background and text colors, and set up how often a new tweet will be displayed
  • Elegant interface that can be zoomed in on with ease

Cons

  • Some users might not see what all the fuss is about: this app is like a Twitter app, but without most of the Twitter features
  • No metrics or graphs to help users break down the tweets being searched
  • “Tweets per minute” function is cool, but it takes a bit to kick in and start displaying results

Discussion

mzl.bkxivxlv.800x500-75At first glance, Echelon seems like a totally useless app. It’s like a full-featured Twitter app…but without 99 percent of the features. Sometimes, these kinds of “single-focus” apps are just too focused on a single thing, and they seem kind of silly.

But the more I thought about Echelon, the more appealing it seems. The interface is sleek and straightforward, displaying just one tweet at a time instead of the constant stream of tweets you’d get if you searched on the Twitter website. It’s not exactly the kind of thing you can leave running in the background, however…unless you have a multiple-monitor setup.

While there aren’t charts or graphs you can enjoy, there is a “tweets per minute” feature that allows you to determine how popular a topic is. It does take up to a minute to get the numbers running on that feature, but it’s updated quickly once it gets going.

There are tons of uses for this app. It’s great for the news-obsessed who want to keep tabs on current events, but it’s also great for figuring out if a given site is down! It’s a deceptively simple app that offers some excellent uses.

Conclusion and download link

If you are hosting a TV-watching party for a major sports event or TV show finale, displaying an Echelon screen would be a really fun idea. This would also be a great way to help people at a company stay connected to what people are saying about the company and its products online. If you want to follow a trending topic on Twitter in a larger, more elegant format, this simple app is just the right tool for you.

Price: Free

Version reviewed: 1.0.1

Supported OS: OS X 10.6 or later

Download size: 1.1 MB

Echelon: a passive Twitter client on Mac App Store

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