The Echofon for Twitter Firefox add-on is
an unobtrusive way to keep up on Twitter posts without a lot of
distraction. Usually, Echofon’s window is completely hidden; blue
spot in the lower right of your browser represents the add-on.
Clicking that spot brings up a small pop-up window that stays on
top regardless of what page or tab you’re on.
For the uninitiated: Twitter is social media that involves
microblogging, or short posts about anything and everything. It’s
become the choice for people with short attention spans or little
time for a blog of their own. Twitter has its own Web site, but
some users prefer browser add-ons or standalone clients so they
don’t need a window open at all times.
One trade-off for Echofon’s unobtrusiveness compared to, say,
the enormous real-estate taken up by competitor Yoono, is that
Echofon is somewhat feature-lite. You can view a single account at
a time, and move between the Friends, Mentions, and Messages tabs.
If you see a Web site you like and want to tweet the address,
clicking the link icon will do that.
Doing anything more advanced, such as trying to view a Twitter
poster’s profile or clicking a conversation brings up Twitter’s Web
site to perform those functions directly in Twitter. Trending
topics and search, along with newer Twitter features such as
re-tweeting and lists, aren’t supported at all. (You can do a
manual re-tweet by right-clicking a Tweet and selecting re-tweet,
but this simply automates the older “RT in front of the copied
tweet” method and not Twitter’s newer re-tweet function.) This is
kind of clunky, as it’d be better for a browser add-on to have all
currently Twitter functions built into it directly. The point is to
avoid having to use the Web version at all.
There’s no standalone PC app of Echofon to integrate with this
browser add-on; currently Naan Studio only supports the iPhone and
Mac as far as standalone apps. However, it’s possible to link the
browser add-on with your iPhone app so that unread Tweets are
synchronized. The iPhone version in particular is all-inclusive,
and can follow conversations and view profiles without the Web; it
even has an integrated browser for viewing links.
Out of the three editions of Echofon, it seems as if the Firefox
add-on is an afterthought, considering the missing features
compared to the iPhone version. Still, it’s unobtrusive and not
very complicated, so light users of Twitter will prefer it. Power
users might prefer the Yoono Firefox add-on instead.
Note: This link takes you to the add-on’s page at
Mozilla.org, where you can automatically install the file into your