Tuesday, April 17, 2012

TweetDeck, The Story of a Maligned App

In today's technology and communication heavy world, it is important to have a presence in a wide range of social networks, from Facebook to Twitter to Tumblr to FourSquare and so on. If you want to submit a single message across all of these different networks (or even across multiple accounts on the same network) it is nice to only have to do it once. That is were a social media manager or dashboard can come in handy. There are several applications out there that can do that for you, but I want to talk about one in particular: TweetDeck.

As part of my job I have to manage the company's social network presence. I tried several apps, web-based and Windows-based. I tried HootSuite, Seesmic and others, but my favorite was TweetDeck. To put it simply TweetDeck had everything I wanted. It had among other features:
  • the ability to look at multiple accounts across multiple networks
  • use Bit.ly to shorten links
  • a neat feature called Deck.ly that allowed users to post messages longer than 140 characters to Twitter
TweetDeck had a web version, an Adobe AIR version (which would run on PC, Mac or Linux) and a iOS version. All in all, I was very happy with it.

And then, Twitter bought it...

At first, I had great hopes for the purchase by Twitter. I expected great new feature to be added. I was wrong.

Shortly after purchase, Twitter released a new version of TweetDeck that was no longer written for Adobe AIR, but was now OS specific.(I imagine that this makes it harder to write.) This new version looked much plainer. This new version dropped support for LinkedIn, Google Buzz, Foursquare and MySpace and killed the Deck.ly feature.

I have the uneasy feeling that eventually, TweetDeck is going to be renamed the Twitter Manager (or something else with Twitter in the title). It's already been changed to TweetDeck by Twitter.



Even the logo has been changed to look more like Twitter.
I guess what I'm saying is that I'm very unhappy that Twitter bought a program I like and messed it up. I wished they would have kept the features and improved them. But I get the feeling that Twitter is trying to boost their own product line to the detriment of some customers.

In the end, I still use TweetDeck, albeit, the pre-acquisition Adobe AIR version. The only thing that does not work is Deck.ly, so I'll need to find something else for that.

On another topic (but one very similar), Twitter has recently purchased another product that I use: the blogging platform Posterous. Twitter says they are not going to do anything to Posterous at the moment, but rumors are flying that they just bought Posterous for the talent. Lifehacker even had a article on how to switch your blog from Posterous. We'll see what happens next.