Switching to the Native Twitter App
I’ve been a long time Tweetbot user. The aesthetic, simplicity, and mute functions always made me a firm believer in the third-party app. I’ve tried Twitterific several times in the past but I never was a fan of the design. Not that there is anything wrong with the design, the dislike is purely personal, but it never jived with me.
So what did I decide to do a couple weeks ago? I installed the Twitter app to test out for a couple weeks.
At first sight my face wrinkled in disgust, stomach churning as I became queasy from the design, I could feel blood running through my veins as I just pondered why anyone could use this horrible thing. But I decided to press on. Give it a chance and push through my initial reactions. And…
I like it
Don’t get me wrong, I think there are several major design flaws. I don’t have easy access to my lists. Promoted tweets are annoying. Searching my previous tweets are difficult. The share sheet is atrocious. I can’t customize the icons at the bottom of the screen.
On paper, this seems to be enough to send me immediately back to Tweetbot. I can’t remember what exactly instigated the switch. I think it was getting a couple notifications for replies that weren’t showing up in Tweetbot but they did in the Twitter app. Additionally, searching to mention people in a Tweet was a crapshoot. Half the time nothing would come up in my search and the other times it would be wildly inaccurate. If those were the exact reason for trying something new then it is something that definitely has bothered me in the past. Regardless, Tweetbot was seemingly losing some of its attractiveness to me.
Twitter used to open up everything for third part developers of apps but awhile back they began limiting features they would allow them to implement in hopes, I guess, of sending people to their own app. The default app for almost anything always has certain advantages over third party solutions. The third party solutions in turn provide usually a more creative design, unique features, and rethink the goal and focus of the app. For example, the Notes app has significant advantages to other third party note taking apps. Its automatically added to your phone, you can add it to the control panel (iOS 11), begin writing from the lock screen (iOS 11), share sheet functionality is the best, and more. But apps like Ulysses and Bear offer what I would argue a better design, unique functionality, support for writing in Markdown, different themes, and more robust settings. This isn’t a one-to-one analogy because unlike a Twitter client you are more likely to use different note apps for different sorts of tasks (at least I do).
So lets get back to the Twitter app. I’ve found that notifications, replies/mentions, direct messages are much more consistent in the native app. I’ve never missed anything that I wanted to see, I can use groups in direct messages, and the replies seem to be more consistent. Additionally, I’ve been able to participate in some Twitter polls and post GIFs easier as well. Searching for people for mentions works immediately and trying to find a certain user in the search is quick and easy. In addition, at some point Twitter added muting to the app. I’ve always been a heavy muting user because I want Twitter to be a place I enjoy. This means no politics, annoying hashtags, articles about hockey, guns, abortion, Trump, Grammys, and more. It doesn’t mean I don’t have an opinion on these things or even read articles on some of these topics but I just don’t want to see them in my timeline. Overall, its been a more streamlined experience. Its not without flaws and minor annoyances but for some reason the features and consistency of the Twitter app are winning the day.
The design has taken quite a bit to get used to. Compared to the Tweetbot app Twitter seems cluttered, the timeline is out of order, and you see ads. Really, this is what drew me away from from every trying it in the first place. The design was just awful. For some reason, I’ve gotten used to the design, instinctively ignore the promoted tweets, and actually like having replies be directly under the original tweet.
So, I don’t have the love affair that I used to have with Tweetbot but Twitter is slowly becoming my Twitter app of choice. If you would have told me a couple weeks ago that I would be doing this I would have called you insane because I was disgusted by the app that much. But certain features and functionality are winning the day and I’m enjoying my experience and that’s all that counts. I know some of you will call me absolutely crazy for thinking this and I would have too a couple weeks ago. But to each his one and use what works for you