New Tweetdeck: Prettier, Sure, But A Whole Lot Dumber

Posted by admin on 1/5/2012

New Tweetdeck: Prettier, Sure, But A Whole Lot Dumber

Let me tell you the story of how I first came to understand the true power of the Twitter platform. It was thanks entirely to a widely used desktop client called Tweetdeck. Tweetdeck was a tool that arranged the information Twitter has to provide and presented it in an incredibly helpful and efficient way. In one twenty inch LCD you could hold six streams of information without any scrolling, all updating in real-time in later versions, and monitor trends in real time as well with Twitscoop or Twitter Trends. It, arguably, created the wildfire pace of breaking news we have today.

So, on to my story. In the beginning Tweetdeck utilized a simple word-cloud tool called Twitscoop as a source of “buzzing” words being tweeted at a given time. It showed you, in real-time, what was being talked about across the world right that minute. On this particular day, as I watched, the phrase “Los Angeles” and the word “Earthquake” began to grow larger on my screen. “Oh no” I thought, as my brother lived in Los Angeles. I quickly clicked through to view tweets causing these trends, and voila, I was informed as it was happening that a small earthquake was shaking the City of Los Angeles. Within 2 or 3 minutes of it occurring I was able to call my brother to check on him. Not a single news organization I would have seen in Atlanta carried that news at all, yet because of this information tool I surprised my brother by checking on him within minutes of it occurring.

I had never seen a more brilliant information delivery system in action, and I was instantly hooked to Twitter thanks solely to this tool and, yes, my own info-mania.

This continued to be the case as events unfolded around the world making Twitter the primary news driver, in many cases, including the Iranian elections in 2009 and, later, the Arab Spring. This level of access to raw input was directly transforming that world. Tweetdeck more than anything helped make that clear.

Indeed, I had not even utilized Twitter, aside from signing up, until I found Tweetdeck. It arranged your information, made everything you wanted to know available to you with a very small number of clicks and usually just a short scroll of twenty or so streams I maintained. These streams included the regular mentions and timeline of various accounts, but also important information like “New Followers,” Twitscoop, Favorites, Trending, and Searches. While you were monitoring the immense amount of data this client made available to you, you could create a new tweet without disturbing your ability to monitor it. It made twitter a far more dynamic platform, with a huge number of preferences that you could customize to your liking, and it gave power users a highly useful management tool that could also include a host of other social networks.

Tweetdeck 1.o

This is where this story becomes a tragedy. Twitter, as I am sure most readers of this piece will know, recently bought Tweetdeck and finally released a “1.0″. We had all spent months waiting to see what Twitter would do with this powerful tool that, without question, helped make Twitter what it is today.

The first thing they did was rebrand Tweetdeck to match Twitter branding. Great, everyone likes the color blue. Second, they fundamentally changed the product into, essentially, a multi-stream version of making it nearly useless to their core power users. I will list exactly how they did this, and specifically note which changes make it no longer a viable tool for my use.

- DEALBREAKER: The update box now opens on top of your data, disrupting you from monitoring any information while you tweet, therefore making voluminous tweeters unable to monitor their tweets a majority of the time.

- DEALBREAKER: The preferences have been limited for simplicity. So simple, in fact, that there aren’t any. You can turn off Twitter Streaming (oh thank the lordie, wouldn’t want to live in real-time!) but you cannot adjust notifications in any way, placement of the composition box, make twitter RT’s viewable, adjust size of the streams to fit more information…nothing. You can add accounts, change image and link shortening clients, and add filters and that is all. Simpler, dumber and far less useful.

- DEALBREAKER: They have limited what streams you can add to your “deck” including:

  • Removing any way to monitor trends passively, such as Twitter Trends and Twitscoop. You can monitor a specific trend but there is no longer a way to monitor what is going on in the world.
  • You cannot monitor your “New Followers” to see if you want to follow them back or block spam accounts.

-  DEALBREAKER: You can no longer view “Twitter Style” retweets in any way. Tell me, how does Twitter buy Tweetdeck and remove this feature that they invented? If you are into thanking your RTers or at least care to know who’s listening, as many are, it is imperative you know that it occurred.

- Tweetdeck used to provide options for each stream, now you can forget about the best of those. Notably “What’s Popular,” and “Filter This Column,”  have been removed. Finding specific tweets or filtering streams in any way are gone. Now you can only move a stream, clear it, or change notification settings.

- You can now only add Twitter and Facebook accounts. That is 1/3 of the type of accounts you used to be able to manage through Tweetdeck. Google Plus or LinkedIn didn’t make the cut, I suppose.

- Because of the new larger design you can, at best, monitor no more than five streams on a 20 inch monitor at one time.  This makes the design less compacted aesthetically, to be pretty, but makes it less efficient and cuts into the tools core purpose.

- Tweetdeck is no longer available for Linux Operating Systems.


Very simply Twitter has dismantled Tweetdeck as a suitable tool for power users, the core of Tweetdeck users. By taking out each feature that made this client so immensely necessary for anyone seriously needing a tool to manage their online persona, they destroyed the product and created something imminently less useful and less effective.

The bottom line is this product is no longer at all suitable nor useful for power users of Twitter. The core of the product, delivery of key information efficiently, is no longer the goal of this client apparently.

I have not yet found a single user that prefers Tweetdeck 1.0. But hey, at least it looks pretty with that Twitter bird on it, and that’s what really counts. Right?


4 Responses to “New Tweetdeck: Prettier, Sure, But A Whole Lot Dumber”

  1. Posted by Martin Evans on 1/5/2012

    Great post. I’m by no means a “power user” but I enjoyed the functionality that Tweetdeck used to offer. I upgraded and went straight to the settings page and was shocked to see basically nothing. I’m now trawling through trying to find a new desktop client. I use the basic Twitter one for the Mac and have settled (until I find something better) on MetroTwit for my Windows machines. It’s not that much different than the new Tweetdeck but out of some hard-done-by feeling I’m not using that anymore. Any suggestions?

    • Posted by admin on 1/5/2012

      Hey Martin,

      Right now I am continuing to use the old Tweetdeck and I am aware there are ways of removing the new version and reinstalling the old package. I am not sure how that is done at the moment so I will look at it for you, but that is the route I would suggest as long as old Tweetdeck continues to work which for me and numerous others it has so far. Other than that Seesmic Desktop has been the only other client I have seen that closely matches the functionality of Tweetdeck, though I haven’t used it in some time.

      I will post any instructions on returning to old Tweetdeck when I can find them.


  2. Posted by admin on 1/5/2012

    Here is a source for the old Tweetdeck. You can uninstall the new version and reinstall the old and, voila, you will have old Tweetdeck back.


  3. Posted by Shoq on 1/5/2012

    Great post.

    The old version will work right up until Twitter makes some major API change. Then the old version will just die. It’s the only time I ever seen seen a company downgrade a popular product But twitter doesn’t make money from clients, so they don’t care. It’s quite bizarre.

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