It was way back in November of 2006 when I signed up for this new exciting platform; Twitter. It was a break from the other social media networks as it limited your posts to 140 characters. This limitation was actually a key part of the platform, it was built to fit in with the cellular SMS services; remember this was before iPhones and mobile data was only just a pipe dream. You could send a text from your phone to the service and it would appear as a tweet. Although at the time it was not a tweet, but more on that later.
From those humble beginnings the service grew and whilst it never became the biggest social network it was a great tool for me to stay informed and keep connected. My postings might have been scarce but I was always consuming, but never directly. For the last nine plus years I have used Tweetbot as my go to Twitter client of choice. The guys over at Tapbots continued to iterate the app over the years and it was soon synonymous with my experience of Twitter. Yes, there were things missing such as polls but there was also things missing such as adverts. It actually felt good paying the developers for the app, in my eyes it was deserved.
How killing Tweetbot killed my Twitter
On 12th January Tweetbot suddenly stopped authenticating and I could not see anything. Heading over to Twitter.com showed that the platform was up and running, which was my first concern. Had CEO Elon Musk pulled the plug in a rage due to someone calling him out? No, it turned out he had reset the API keys and Twitter would no longer allow access to third-party clients, although the Twitter dev team had not made any comment to the issue. In fact it took nearly a week for any official word on the issue.
Since then it has been over a month of comical, and I mean utterly comical, tweets and announcements on how Twitter’s new API will perform. Deadlines were set but limits have not quite been finalised and listening to how developers have been left in the dark as to what they can do once the API is live is just a shambles.
More and more news and information was coming out of the developer community. Devs started detailing their slow decline with the platform but also reminiscing about the good old days. For instance I did not realise that the bird logo and term ‘tweet’ actually came about from Icon Factory and their third party Twitter app, Twitterific.
Where to now?
Twitter as company is surely not to blame, but it is hard not to look at the captain of the ship and line up the cross hairs at him. When you look at how these developers have been instrumental to building the platform and then basically completely shafted with no communication or explanation why. So with that I can not bring myself to use Twitter anymore. Of course you can not ignore the platform, it is still mainstream and I’m sure many users have no idea on what is going on or what happened. When the platform dies, which it will I’m sure of, the truth will out.