Twitter developer changes surprisingly took effect on October 5th, putting any app in jeopardy that doesn’t display Tweets according to rigid specifications. Based upon the recent example of IFTTT and Dick Costolo’s recent antipathy for Twitter developers, changes may come swiftly.
In the past few months I have been (semi) exclusively using Tweetdeck and Twitter for iOS to manage my feed. Given the Twitter developer changes, I thought it might be an opportune time to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each. There probably won’t be a doomsday scenario when all apps lose API access, but as of Friday nearly all apps are at perpetual risk of losing access to Twitter, so the “company store” alternatives are something to consider.
TweetDeck is a pretty solid product
Tweetdeck isn’t going to blow anyone’s mind (unless your mind is easily blown). It’s a pretty solid social management tool in the model of Hootsuite, except that it only allows you to manage Twitter and Facebook.
The biggest issue with TweetDeck is the frequency of the Twitter feed. It’s frankly quite unmanageable. There are no controls for time or speed, it just vomits a glut of tweets into your feed, and it’s too much. Unless you’re using really well-developed lists, TweetDeck isn’t a very powerful app to control your feed.
Tweetdeck allows you to schedule tweets and posts in the same, clunky way that Hootsuite and Facebook do. Innovative developers like the team behind GrabInbox and Joel and Leo at Buffer have come up with more efficient ways to queue tweets, and it’s frustrating to use a product that schedules things so inefficiently.
Finally, just to address their Facebook functionality in passing. You can manage Facebook more powerfully within Facebook proper than you can through most third party apps. Because Facebook penalizes third party posts with diminished reach and users can’t tag anyone in TweetDeck, it’s not a particularly viable product offering to use with Facebook.
Twitter for iOS
Twitter for iOS is the Amanda Bynes of apps. Attractive and erratic: a car wreck waiting to happen. Their mobile product (for iOS anyhow) is an unreliable Twitter manager. If every mobile app went away tomorrow I suspect that Twitter would have a real problem.
The most glaring problem with the Twitter for iOS app is that it loses tweets. A lot of them, in fact. If I don’t check in for six hours or so, I can’t see hours of tweets. The app apparently isn’t equipped to capture them. In contrast, TweetList (my favorite iOS Twitter app) gives you an opportunity to get more tweets if there’s a lapse in their sync time.
I’ve also written a bit about how erratic the alerts are with the Twitter app. They seem to have fixed the problem with alerts coming up when turned off, but if you’re into alerts they are erratic and not all inclusive. It’s not a particularly valuable function.
If you are on Twitter mobile 24/7, this may be a great solution. But if you live a little of your life in between social updates this isn’t a good solution.
Twitter will go public
If there were no other apps available to manage Twitter, there would be user outrage similar to Apple Maps. The products that Twitter offers are inferior to the products that outside developers have created. I suspect Twitter knows this.
It appears that Twitter understands the limitations of their products and are going forward despite. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said in no uncertain terms that Twitter will not go public, which probably indicates that they will soon. Hopefully they’ll funnel some of their advertising resources into improving their products as well.
But lately it seems that Twitter does the opposite of what you want them to do. Be warned that I may be inconsolable if TweetList goes away.