Tuesday, March 5, 2013

TweetDeck’s #EpicFail


Yesterday TweetDeck announced that they are forgetting their humble beginnings and screwing over most of their users by dropping support for all mobile apps and dropping support for Facebook.

Instead of reading the rest of this rant if you use the Adobe Air app for TweetDeck or still use TweetDeck on your iPhone or iPad you may want to start looking for a new option.  You only have until May to find something else as the apps will disappear and stop working around that time.

TweetDeck came on the scene and actually made Twitter useful back in 2008 and 2009.  Its integration of Facebook originally allowed users to post the same thing to post social networking sites without having to enter things twice.  Then later editions allowed you to see your responses and feedback on both social networks from a single place.  Today’s announcement sends TweetDeck back to 2009 as it drops Facebook support and limits Twitter interaction strictly to a desktop.

Even the way they announced it was a bit insulting:

“In many ways, doubling down on the TweetDeck web experience and discontinuing our app support is a reflection of where our TweetDeck power-users are going.  Over the past few years, we’ve seen a steady trend towards people using TweetDeck on their computers and Twitter on their mobile devices.  This trend coincides with an increased investment in Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for Android –– adding photo filters and other editing capabilities, revamping user profiles and enhancing search.  That said, we know this applies to most of our users –– not all of them.  And for those of you who are inconvenienced by this shift, our sincere apologies.”

So they are saying that since they think we use Twitter on our mobile devices and TweetDeck on our computers that we don’t need TweetDeck for our mobile devices.  Well, duh.  The fact that they haven’t updated TweetDeck for any mobile platform in over a year kinda already said that.  Plus this comparing TweetDeck to the Twitter apps isn’t exactly an apples to apples comparison.  Twitter only works with Twitter while TweetDeck works, at least for now, with both Twitter and Facebook.

They also say:

“We’ll also discontinue support for our Facebook integration.”

What?  That’s it?  You are abandoning one of the key features that make you what you are and all you give it is eight words?  The primary reason I use TweetDeck on my desktop is because it can post to both Twitter and Facebook and because TweetDeck posts to Facebook directly as opposed to going through the Facebook API there aren’t any rate limits imposed, like what HootSuite struggled with.  You can read more about that here. 

Because of the limits Facebook imposes on HootSuite, I’ve used TweetDeck on my desktops and laptops and HootSuite on my iDevices.  That has worked well but now it appears I’ve got to go back to HootSuite and then when I get limited go back to posting directly to each social network.  It appears TweetDeck wants to be like Google + and not play nice with anyone.

I can’t say I didn’t see this coming.  In 2011 when Twitter bought TweetDeck, I figured the days of Facebook integration were numbered.  I also can’t say I’m totally surprised they are dropping the mobile apps instead of updating them for Twitter API v1.1.  Twitter has made no secret of the fact that they want to limit API access and close the ecosystem so you have to get access to Twitter only through them.  The fact that they bought TweetDeck at least keeps that platform alive but everyone else is going to be subject to huge rate limits.

In addition, since being acquired by Twitter, TweetDeck has slowly dropped of connections to other social networks like Foursquare, MySpace, and LinkedIn, to name a few.

I predict that in the near feature all the social networks will be islands not connected to each other at all.  Perhaps Google + has it right after all and instead of technology making our lives easier and saving us time we will all be investing more time in updated our social networks separately.  That or one of the big three will die a slow death as folks eventually get bored trying to update them individually.

I recently bought a Microsoft Surface tablet and was excited that I had a tablet that could run TweetDeck.  That excitement has been short lived as I’ m back to looking for an app that works across platforms and isn’t subject to rate limiting from Twitter or Facebook. 

Way to go technology!  Thanks for helping us take one-step forward and two steps back.  Seems before too long we won’t be able to post anything to Twitter unless we are standing on our heads, rubbing our bellies and jumping up and down when we do it.