By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Official Twitter clients still not ready for prime time

The folks who run Twitter are starting to lose their tolerance for third-party clients, according to Jolie O’Dell of Mashable.

She specifically mentions two of my favorites: TweetDeck, which may already have run afoul of the Gods of Twitter, and HootSuite, which Twitter apparently has no problems with, but which I find to be a bit more complex than it needs to be.

I would have no problem using Twitter’s official clients for my Mac and my iPhone if they included some of the basic functionality that third-party apps offer. To wit:

  • The ability to post to multiple Twitter accounts. I use two — my own (@dankennedy_nu) and Northeastern’s School of Journalism’s (@NUjournalism). As best as I can tell, if I do it the official way, I have to log out of one account and then log into another. By contrast, on TweetDeck or HootSuite, I simply check which feed I wish to post to. I can even post to two simultaneously.
  • Automatic link-shortening. If this is available on the official Twitter client, I can’t find it. Why would I want to copy a link, paste it into a link-shortening site like and then copy the result back into Twitter when I can just copy and paste it at TweetDeck or HootSuite and watch it automatically shrink? (HootSuite does require a trivial extra half-step.)

Twitter recently cracked down on ÜberTwitter, which was literally the only decent client for BlackBerry. Glad I’m not using a BlackBerry anymore. O’Dell writes:

Twitter has already adopted many of the ideas third-party devs brought into the system. For example, the impressive interface of the “New Twitter” felt more to us like a really great third-party app than anything else. And Twitter’s mobile apps, which were a boon to overall Twitter usage, were informed and inspired by existing third-party apps, too.

Well, fine. But Twitter is going to have to make a few more improvements before I’m willing to switch to its official apps. I hope Biz Stone, Evan Williams and company don’t force the issue and more than they already have.

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  1. @Dan: Agreed. And, leave Echofon in Firefox alone too! I’ve tried HootSuite but prefer TweetDeck, especially on my laptop. On the iPhone, it keeps logging out my Facebook account, which is really annoying.

  2. James Harvey

    Just a reminder, the “ly” in “” stands for libya. .ly addresses are assigned by Libya Telecom & Technology, which is controlled by the Gaddafi family. I don’t know what the financial arrangement is between and LTT, but I’d imagine it’s not free. I’d encourage you to use a different URL shortener ( uses Colombia’s TLD, uses Greenland’s).

    • Dan Kennedy

      @James: Yes, and good point. I’m using HootSuite these days, which automatically uses or, if you prefer, Doesn’t seem to be any way to change it.

      • Dan Kennedy

        And you know what? I just switched back to TweetDeck for a while, so I can use tiny.url.

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