According to my twitter profile, I joined the social network in April 2008. That is more than 13 years ago. And for those 13 years, I’ve been using a variety of third-party apps. Tweetie started it all, then Tweetbot. I have also used others like Aviary and Twitteriffic. But never the official Twitter app. Not for much longer.
That is going to change sooner rather than later, whether you want it or not.
Over the years, we’ve seen Twitter go to great lengths to remove third-party Twitter apps. We’ve also seen it roll back, giving developers access to an improved API. Tweetbot 6, one of the best iPhone apps, uses that API and it happens to be my preferred Twitter app. But it’s not enough.
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In the last few months, we’ve seen Twitter on a roll, announcing, and getting people to find, new features and changes to the platform. Super Follows are an example. Now you are also testing some kind of dislike button. Twitter makes it easier to avoid people in its mentions and Birdwatch fact-checking is rolling out as well.
But you need the Twitter app to use it. Tweetbot cannot, and will probably never see, any of these changes. That’s bleak, and it means people like me will have to change.
Now, I know that’s what Twitter wants. They want me to have to see their ads (I’d pay to remove them if possible) and they want their algorithm and tweet recommendation system to hold me hostage. They can’t force any of that on Tweetbot users, but those using their own app is fair game. Soon it will be me too.
It’s not just about what the app does either. It is what it does not do. Twitter quiet it doesn’t sync the position of the timeline across multiple devices and sometimes I dip my toes in the iPhone app, it jumps around the timeline every time I update the feed. it’s infuriating and will make using Twitter less enjoyable when you have to use it.
The solution? Ideally, I’d rather have Twitter treat third-party apps like first-class citizens, but that’s not going to happen. At the very least, I’d like my own apps to offer some of what Tweetbot and Twitteriffic offer, starting with timeline syncing.
Oh. And let me pay to never see an ad again, too. I can’t imagine that I’m alone here.