There’s been a bit of a furore in the world of Social Network Aggregators of late and it’s all down to what’s considered the second biggest Social Network on the planet. Earlier this year, Twitter and UberMedia went head-to-head in a bidding war for Tweetdeck in which Twitter eventually emerged victorious. There were an incredible amount of questions regarding the purchase and the answers to which are finally starting to appear.
There was hope that the purchase would empower TweetDeck, no I lie, that it would super-power TweetDeck with resources that TweetDeck had lacked. TweetDeck for a while had been under pressure to add support for more social networks, namely Tumblr and with the growing buzz around Google+, users were hoping for the best.
However since the purchase of TweetDeck by Twitter, we’ve in fact seen the opposite with Twitter releasing a statement stating they’d attempt to bring TweekDeck more in line with their current products. The first change of which has lead to the removal of features and the first of which to get the chopping block was deck.ly a service that would allow for extended tweets. It’s hard to imagine how Twitter envision the product. I mean if they want to put their mark all over it, what can users expect from the way that Twitter would do Facebook?
TweetDeck has or at least had the biggest market share in terms of clients that use Twitter and given Twitter’s previous announcement that they wanted to move away from having third party clients making software in favour of their own flavour of how Twitter should be interacted with, it’s simply looking like Twitter have gone about killing the share the third party client has in the most expensive way. Sadly for Twitter the sheer arogance and ignorance they’ve shown won’t empower the service but will rather malign it. The question is a simple one and the answer even simpler. People use the other clients because they’re simply more in tune with what they want from a client. Twitter’s vision isn’t right for everyone and they choice of client and thus experience is what made it so appealing compared to the likes of the competition which often didn’t provide alternative experiences. This is echoed through the story of Tumblr that has a high turnover rate of users due to the fact that there’s a lack of choice in the way consumers interact with the product.
Tweetdeck fans all had their ideas on what would improve the client, ranging from features implemented in a fuller fashion to new features added all together. My personal top of the list was push notifications for the mobile client. When using my phone, I’m more likely to reply via the official Twitter app due to the notification and the notification alone. The Tweetdeck model meant continuously polling the twitter API which ultimately meant a very dead battery. People want instantaneous interaction where possible and that was never a choice with Tweetdeck unless your phone lived on it’s charger.
For a long time now I’ve thought about alternatives. The obvious and most glaring choice has to be Seesmic, it like TweetDeck has both desktop and mobile clients and that’s important for this generation where synchronisation is quickly becoming the barometer for what’s considered good modern software. However, the choice of platform for the desktop version is where Seesmic falls down having opted for Microsoft’s Silverlight. Now I hear people saying that they offered a web version and indeed, as do Tweetdeck. However there’s something about Social Aggregation session that I want separate from my browser. It’s an entity on it’s own. Sometimes I’m happy to have the two running side by side, but in most cases, I’ll be on a webpage and I’ll want to flick away and to my session checking out TweetDeck. Sometimes I’ll want to kill TweetDeck due to it locking up my system somewhat and sometimes, I’ll simply want to watch a movie and still use TweetDeck. All in all, TweetDeck isn’t a part of my browsing, it’s a process alongside it. Which may sound odd as I often use my browser to compile documents on Zoho Docs or of course log in to WordPress to compile a post like this one here. But perhaps that’s because I view Social Aggregation as a distraction and the browser as the focus to my sessions on the computer.
So given all of that, why is it that I’d advocate the Mozilla Platform as the perfect platform to launch a competitor off of? Well aside from being Android-ready, Mac OSX-ready, Windows XP/Vista/7 -ready, what else is there? Forgetting the flexibility and the ability to support extensions pretty much out of the box meaning that any competitor would put services in the driving seat allowing them to add their services in a manner they want while allowing the users a choice of official plugin or user plugin. I think the argument speaks for itself. Tweetdeck as it currently suggests is heading for dark days, at present it doesn’t even provide inline photo previews for the hugely popular Twitter-image site Lockerz let alone the hugely popular social network Tumblr. I wouldn’t bet on it’s future, but alas, there’s no real alternative that betters it.