Thinking differently is always a noble notion, and Reportage has created something different with their iPhone app that makes using and reading Twitter updates fun again. If you enjoy following the people on your Twitter list and want a totally different way to follow them on your iPhone, check out the Reportage app from WhereCloud. Tailored to act like a radio tuner, Reportage makes keeping up with your favorite Twitter buddies as simple as flipping through their icons.
Reportage uses an icon based layout which visually conveys information about who the updates are coming from, when they were posted, and where the updates happened. The Reportage app is broken down into four major tabs labeled, World, Marked, Local and finally your Twitter stream.
Once you launch Reportage it asks for your Twitter account information to get started. The World tab shows icons for the latest updates coming from your following list. User icons in Reportage are in the same 4×4 grid format that the iPhone Springboard uses for apps. Under each icon you see the Twitter username and the time of the last update. Similar to the Mail app, on top of each icon you see a number that shows how many updates you have yet to read from that user.
One neat feature of the icons is that when new updates come in or you hit the refresh button, they shuffle around on the screen as the newest ones float to the top using a fluid transition effect. Once you tap on any user icon, Reportage loads in their timeline and will then show you a radio band style navigation on the bottom that you can use to flick back and forth through the rest of the users on your World tab. Tapping on any tweet takes you to a detail card that allows you to reply, forward, message and favorite the user. From here you can also view the user bio, follow/unfollow, mute/unmute, send them a private message, and mark them as a favorite user in Reportage which show up in the Marked tab.
The Marked tab is where you will see all the users that you’ve specifically added to your favorites, who appear with a little yellow ribbon on their icon. The Local tab again pulls in tweets from people within a 1, 5 or 15 mile radius of where you are. These users are not on your following/follower list, but are only people who tweeted within a few miles from where you are.
Finally, the fourth tab is a stream of all your tweets and replies in one convenient list. No more flipping back and forth to see your replies. There are only two lists, your public timeline of tweets and replies, plus your private sent and received messages. We think this is a great feature of Reportage and make keeping up with your followers a little easier using the mixed format.
Under the iPhone Settings you can custom tailor a handful of options for the Reportage app such as how long to filter the World for, whether to load messages automatically, and how many messages to load initially. You also can pick your picture service from TwitPic, Twitrpix, Posterous, img.ly, and YFrog. Reportage also ties nicely into Instapaper and lets you save your favorite tweets for later viewing.
Using the app can take some getting used to at first as you get familiar with all the icons and how things behave. The graphics and interfaces are beautiful and well thought out, so it all kind of makes sense after a few uses. The only complaint we had was lack of support for multiple Twitter accounts, which shouldn’t be too hard to add in a future release.
Overall Reportage is a unique and clever little Twitter client for the iPhone that deserves a great deal of praise for being brave enough to try something different. If you love Tweetie 2 and are looking for a second app to complement your daily Twitter use, Reportage is a great choice.
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