Twitter: Always have a back up

They own their API’s. Fine. They have a terrible online product. They even charge users for “editing” their tweets. There are people who “joke” about paying a substantial amount each month for the “privilege” of “editing”.

Nevertheless, I can ignore the institutionalised and public display of ignorance/stupidity aside. I, however, read these claims from the sidelines and generally avoid these accounts.

I had a Twitter account from its inception, but I couldn’t make any specific use case out of it (I still can’t). It is “cool” to have a pulpit to demonstrate your “achievements” and I get the cultural display of demonstrating “work in public”; even if your “tweets” are scrolled by. I can’t remember anything in my brief interactions and wonder if the effort to “create” content has any visible measurable impact. Nevertheless, it was clear to me from the outset that Twitter’s algorithms determine “social interaction” (from “likes/follows” or “recommendations”) and even the timeline. I explored the third party clients that displayed timeline in a serialised fashion- incrementally without algorithmic dependence (random information from accounts). I prefer to read in continuity instead of random tweets springing up – one head and neck cancer tweet, for example, interspersed with an advertisement for a new car followed by a link to a random blog. Those who have “mastered” the service speak about following the “hashtags” – however, that still remains one of the most inefficient ways to consume content.

Third party clients displayed everything chronologically. However, the volume of information overload was terrible. There were no filters to follow specific accounts (I use private lists extensively now on Inoreader, with additional filters to clean up useless information).

Twitter “quietly” updated its “privacy policy” around third party access.

Twitter’s new developer terms ban third-party clients | Engadget

In recent years, clients like Tweetbot and Fenix have had devoted followings due to a lack of ads and other features many longtime users dislike. In fact, Twitter previously changed its developer policies in 2021 to remove a section that discouraged — but didn’t prohibit — app makers from “replicating” its core service. The change was part of a broader shift by Twitter to improve its relationship with developers, including the makers of third-party clients.

That strategy seems to now be officially over, as the developers whose apps have been cut off have still received no communication from anyone at Twitter about the policy changes. “It’s not totally unexpected, but the lack of communication is a bit insulting,” Matteo Villa, the developer of Fenix, tells Engadget.

Here’s another blog post:

Twitterrific: End of an Era • The Breakroom

Since 2007, Twitterrific helped define the shape of the Twitter experience. It was the first desktop client, the first mobile client, one of the very first apps in the App Store, an Apple Design award winner, and it even helped redefine the word “tweet” in the dictionary. Ollie, Twitterrific’s bluebird mascot, was so popular it even prompted Twitter themselves to later adopt a bluebird logo of their very own. Our little app made a big dent on the world!

Does that change anything from a user’s perspective? Yes. Even though you had an active Twitter account, you wouldn’t contribute towards the “daily active usage” of the application. Third party access usually bypasses the limitation of the main application by eliminating the algorithms. I have moved away from the Mac ecosystem, and I still remember that these third party applications were buggy and compute intensive. However, the loss of their business saddens me.

A lesson learnt – never be too dependent on any platform for your core “business”. Always have a “back-up” ready.

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