According to my Twitter profile, I joined the social network in April of 2008. That's more than 13 years ago. And for those 13 years, I've been using a variety of third-party apps. Tweetie started it all. Then Tweetbot. I've used others like Aviary and Twitteriffic, too. But never the official Twitter app. Not for any length of time.
That's going to change sooner rather than later, whether I want it to or not.
Over the years we've seen Twitter do its best to kill third-party Twitter apps. We've seen it backtrack as well, giving developers access to an improved API. Tweetbot 6 — one of the best iPhone apps around — uses that API and just so happens to be my Twitter app of choice. But it isn't enough.
Over the last few months, we've seen Twitter on a roll, announcing — and having people find — new features and changes to the platform. Super Follows are one example. It's now testing some sort of dislike button, too. Twitter is making it easier to avoid people in your mentions and Birdwatch fact-checking is rolling out as well.
But you need the Twitter app to use any of it. Tweetbot can't, and likely never will, see any of these changes. That's grim, and it means people like me will have to switch.
Now, I know that's what Twitter wants. They want me to have to see their ads — I'd pay to remove them if possible — and they want me to be held hostage by their algorithm and tweet recommendation system. They can't force any of that onto Tweetbot users, but those using its own app are fair game. That's going to be me soon, too.
It isn't just about what the app does, either. It's what it doesn't do. Twitter still doesn't sync your timeline position across multiple devices and the odd time I do dip my toes into the iPhone app, it jumps around the timeline every time it refreshes the feed. it's infuriating, and it'll make using Twitter less enjoyable when I have to use it.
The fix? Ideally, I'd rather Twitter treat third-party apps as first-class citizens, but that isn't going to happen. At the very least I'd like the first-party apps to offer some of what the likes of Tweetbot and Twitteriffic offer — starting with that timeline sync.
Oh. And let me pay to never see an ad again, too. I can't imagine I'm alone here.