After 10 years, Tweetbot – along with every other third party Twitter app – shut down last week.
It would be remiss of me not to comment on the happenings at Twitter. Easily my most beloved social network, its demise for those of us who help found its rise to success is now seemingly inevitable.
Personally, with the loss of Tweetbot – a beautifully crafted and designed app that brought out the best of the platform – my usage of Twitter has plummeted to virtually nothing.
The irony of the situation is seemingly lost on its idiotic new owner. He believes the future of Twitter is about monetisation and ads – he’s grossly wrong, and has completely missed the very essence of its success. So much for a ‘smart’ guy.
Twitter was never built on ads, it was built on conversations and hashtags. A lurker since 2007, the much-loved Tweetie app finally got me hooked enough to create an account and contribute in 2009.
In those early years, it was largely tech people – a real community of like-minded individuals. Even when things like sports, tv and other realtime events overtook the hashtags and trends, it still felt like a small world, rather than a huge entity like other social networks.
But, like everything these days, money talked. Adverts soon became prevalent, and started the decline we see the ramifications of today. People used it for hustling and grift, rather than conversations. 140 characters became 280, and is now even proposed to jump to 4,000. Trends are overtaken by endless automated bots. Retweets, memes and gifs soon became the norm instead of comment and discussion. And then, unfortunately, the darker aspect of social and political manipulation appeared.
Whereas once you could engage and converse with those you followed – whether friend, industry peer, or even those more famous – now everything is lost in a sea of garbage. And in the case of the official Twitter app and website, deliberately dark UX patterns. Again, how ironic for a platform originally championed by those in tech.
Rather hilariously, on the same day Tweetbot died, the official Twitter site gave me a notification celebrating my 14 year anniversary on the platform. Unfortunately, I fear, like many others, it may well be my last.