The new Twitter recap
As I was telling a fellow compatriot on Twitter, the Twitter apps exist as the gateway drug. Twitter’s app isn’t for the Tweetbot socialites who are connected to their timelines 24/7, nor is it for the Twitterrific users who treat Twitter as the break room water cooler. While many writers were waxing poetic on a disappointing update following the leave of Loren Brichter from Twitter, I tried to look at how Twitter was making their experience friendlier for everyone, and not just for the power users (who have, admittedly, established Twitter as what it is today).
Twitter’s focus shifted to answer two questions, “How do we retain users who leave because they don’t get Twitter, and how do we make money?“ The Twitter app exists not to serve people who want to mange their timelines, but for people just joining the service. It exists to show new users what Twitter is all about: this was made obvious with the Connect tab ousting Direct Messages. Its sole admission is to help newcomers get accustomed to finding and following people, things, or companies they are interested in. Then there’s Promoted Tweets which insert themselves into your timeline — it’s as intrusive as an advertisement but so far minimally impacts the experience. Twitter’s app is designed to show what you can do in (what I think) is an aesthetically pleasant package. It’s not for you, Tweetbot users.
Trying to defend Twitter gets people upset. Most everyone who read MacStories and are interested in tech want features — they want the Twitter emblematic of Tweetie and Tweetbot, not of the new Twitter. And I certainly understand that Twitter took away what was once an optimal experience for lots of people. In my approach, I understand that while Twitter shunned power users (which Tweetie users happened to be), they’re trying to make something everyone can use. It’s not an app fraught with finicky settings, but rather an app that provides a simple, core experience. I initially reviewed Twitter from a perspective of a newcomer — I think the app looks nice and for what functionality it does provide, that functionality works as intended. Unfortunately for Twitter, this message isn’t getting across. The audience Twitter wants (the audience I tried to put myself in) isn’t as vocal as the established user base is.
Let’s be honest: even I, despite trying to account for what new Twitter really is, use Tweetbot — heck, I still go back to my old favorite Twitterrific from time to time. And I don’t think anyone should mind that Twitter’s app exists as-is if Twitter is presenting their app as the gateway, and not as the path. I’m in agreement with what Twitter is trying to do as long as their app coexists peacefully with 3rd party Twitter clients. However, I’m not going to continue making my claim for why Twitter’s experience is okay if they’re shunning 3rd party developers and sending mixed messages in the process. I’m not okay with Twitter’s experience being the only experience.