Anyone who uses Twitter will be aware that it’s recently been purchased by Elon Musk and is changing a lot. I won’t go into the details of it all, but one change has really annoyed me: the apparent switching off of third party clients like Tweetbot and Twitterific, which appears to have been done unceremoniously and without warning or contact from Twitter.
These are not just hobbyist users of the API, but businesses with a lot riding on that access. It is of course twitter’s prerogative, but you can’t help but think that it will ultimately be a negative for the ecosystem. Twitter have talked before about how only a few power users actually use third party clients, and that the vast majority of users are happy with the website and official app (which itself started life as a third party app that morphed into the official one). But they have an outsized impact on the Twitter community.
The Twitter app itself sucks and keeps getting worse. I do not at all like the Instagram/Facebook feel, where tweets are shown out of order or random tweets are inserted into my timeline as “Suggested Tweets” or whatever else they are called that week. The UI is truly ugly: numbers and stats cover the UI, and large previews and notices mean often only a single tweet at a time will fit on the screen. A clean, compact UI like Tweetbot’s can show five or six.
My journey with Twitter started a long time ago, but it feels like it might be coming to an end. For now, I have made an account on Mastodon which seems like a very interesting alternative. It is also this less fun Twitter experience that has motivated me to restart this blog directly.
I believe deeply in the open internet, and having your own domain name and an empty server is the best first step. Tools like Mastodon, where no single entity controls the central system, might finally be gaining popularity. If the downfall of Twitter brings a resurgence in blogging and open tools, then it just might be worth it.