What Will Twitter Do With TweetDeck?

The news that Twitter just bought TweetDeck for a reported $50 million has me a little worried, because Twitter has a history of killing its acquisitions, sort of like Lennie and soft things in Of Mice and Men.

It got worse after Mrinal Desai gave his five reasons why they were going to do it. It made me wonder, would Twitter really spend $50 million to kill a program that makes Twitter work better than their clunky interface?

If they were smart, Twitter would use TweetDeck as a way to win new users, not kill it to force people to use Twitter.com.

I use TweetDeck to keep up with different groups of people, making my Twitter stream easier to manage and follow.

TweetDeck makes using Twitter easy

I don’t know how many people I’ve talked to who didn’t get Twitter. They stared at Twitter.com and tried to keep up with the 50 people they were following. “Everything keeps going by so fast, I can’t even read it all.” TweetDeck lets you divide your Twitter stream into columns, either based on search terms or groups of people, and tweets are easier to read and follow.

Twitter.com is about as clunky as an old Edsel with square wheels, and is a pain to use. I hate having to click to see different tabs If they want people to use Twitter, they’ll keep TweetDeck around.

Twitter can feed ads into TweetDeck more easily.

Imagine if you’re forced to use Twitter.com for your Twitter stream. My tweets go by so fast on there, I’ll get a couple hundred in 10 minutes. If Twitter wants to slip in an ad, it will be easier for me to miss. While Twitter may be able to sell ads based on how often they’re served, “served” does not equal “seen.”

TweetDeck, on the other hand, makes it easier to see the ads. If I have a hashtag search column up while I’m watching a Colts game, I am more likely to see an ad that is not only slipped into that stream, but it can be targeted to me because I’m talking about the Colts. There are already enough bot programmers in the world, Twitter should be able to figure out how to serve targeted ads to people based on their conversations, and should be able to slide them into searches and lists that meet certain requirements.

For example, put a sporting goods ad in a sports hashtag discussion. Slide a restaurant ad in any list labeled with a city name, or even based on a conference hashtag.

TweetDeck is Just Awesome

I like TweetDeck for any number of reasons (to be fair, there are plenty of people who think HootSuite and Seesmic are awesome too. They’re wrong, but I support their beliefs.).

  • TweetDeck lets me communicate with my Facebook, LinkedIn, and FourSquare accounts.
  • I can support more than one Twitter account, which is important since I manage Twitter accounts for several clients.
  • It lets me view pictures and watch videos in little pop-up windows, rather than just visiting the original website.
  • I can schedule tweets for any minute, not in 5 minute increments like HootSuite used to do (they changed it, but when I had to make the decision, HootSuite was still only doing 10:15, 10:20 etc.)

There are a lot of Twitter clients out there. If they want to kill any apps, they need to look at some of the smaller ones that don’t do very much and kill them instead. It would clean up the market a bit, it would prevent future problems by saving them from accessibility and interface problems, and could give them a preferred client to send people to in order to help them use Twitter better.

My hope is that Twitter is taking all of this into account, and will keep TweetDeck as the official Twitter client. If not, I’m hanging on to mine as long as I can, and will use it for as long as it can send and receive tweets.

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    About Erik Deckers

    Erik Deckers is the President of Pro Blog Service, a content marketing and social media marketing agency He co-authored four social media books, including No Bullshit Social Media with Jason Falls (2011, Que Biz-Tech), and Branding Yourself with Kyle Lacy (3rd ed., 2017, Que Biz-Tech), and The Owned Media Doctrine (2013, Archway Publishing). Erik has written a weekly newspaper humor column for 10 papers around Indiana since 1995. He was also the Spring 2016 writer-in-residence at the Jack Kerouac House in Orlando, FL.

    Comments

    1. Interesting how Twitter is acquiring these companies. I assume that the $50 million price was for the technology, and not some multiple of revenue generated. I am also curious to see how Twitter reacts to the rise of Google+.

    2. Erik –

      There are several competitors to Twitter, on of which has traction in the software development world: identi.ca. There is also an open source package called status.net… so building a Twitter competitor is possible. The question is, why do it? We’re due for something new and shiny to come along anyway and people will forget Facebook and Twitter like MySpace, Friendster and GeoPages before that.

    3. Matches and Mike,

      My biggest worry is that Twitter is going to force people to toe their line, and become more like Facebook. If anything, it may end up hurting users who will leave for something better.

      Maybe the solution is to design a Twitter competitor now.

    4. Earlier this year when Twitter strongly suggested developers not waste time on writing Twitter clients, the writing was on the wall that Twitter wanted to get control of you interaction with Twitter. It’s all about getting their sponsored stuff in front of influentials (who probably have multiple accounts and use Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, CoTweet or Seesmic instead of Twitter’s web interface). I think eventually the Twitter API will change a bit to restrict viewing tweets to ensure more people use the official Twitter clients… and will limit third party innovation to analytics, managing followers/followed and injecting more user generated content.

    5. Matches Malone says:

      I can’t disagree with any of the points you’ve made. It is my hope that they use the technology acquired to create a web browser version of the app, that is more functional.

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