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.
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.