I was worried about Twitter's Tweetdeck annoucement, but it might be okay

There's a lesson to Twitter and other tech firms here

New Tweetdeck
(Image credit: Twitter)

Twitter is working on a new version of Tweetdeck, and its announcement caused absolute panic among those of us that actually use its aging interface. With good reason, everyone using Tweetdeck does so because they don’t like the regular Twitter interface. However, tweets from people using the beta seem more positive about the redesign. 

Twitter’s initial announcement falls into a common trend with modern “teases”. It’s intended to elicit excitement, but the small amount of information provided can only end one way. With users jumping to conclusions. So Twitter’s little snap of a Tweetdeck interface that looks a lot like the main web interface was always going to strike fear into the heart of people who love their columns and customisation. 

Tweetdeck started as a third-party app, and a very good one, in 2008 and it offered numerous features the official apps did not. Including the ability to also post to Facebook. Twitter bought the app in 2011 and shut all the mobile versions down which was upsetting at the time. While Tweetdeck was promised innovation it has largely languished, unloved, ever since. The only thing keeping it going for people like me are the great column layout and lots of customisable ways of displaying Twitter content. 

So you can imagine when the company showed an interface that looked like the existing Twitter.com that many of us hit the proverbial roof. However a Tweet by Eric Zuckerman does put some of those concerns to bed. There’s still a dark mode, you can still have customised columns and it looks like the things missing from Tweetdeck currently, that are common on mobile apps, could be added. 

We have yet to see if multiple accounts will be supported, which is another key part of Tweetdeck currently, and there are questions over how it will work generally, but the fuss over Twitter’s announcement seems, somewhat, to be a bit overblown. 

I will say this though, big companies need to learn their lesson on this. There is a desire by these firms to tease a release in advance of its launch, clearly intended to excite people and build hype. The restrictive scope of this information is problematic though, because it can mislead people. So while Twitter might do a good job, it shouldn’t be surprised when people react with anger when it offers only a small amount of relevant information.  

Ian has been involved in technology journalism since 2007, originally writing about AV hardware back when LCDs and plasma TVs were just gaining popularity. Nearly 15 years on, he remains as excited about how tech can make your life better.