Well, it happened.
A few months ago, when Twitter announced that it was going to kill a boatload of startups that had sprung up around its ecosystem, I wondered whether that meant I would eventually be forced to abandon the app I spend about 18 hours a day using (on desktop, mobile, and laptop) — TweetDeck.
And based on what happened yesterday, it seems the answer to that question is “yes.”
What happened yesterday?
TweetDeck just stopped pulling in Tweets. All three TweetDeck columns–my tweets, my mentions, and my direct messages–stopped loading. And when I fired up the app on my iPhone, I got scrolling “TwitterAuthFailure” messages and then a bunch of ancient Tweets.
I thought maybe TweetDeck had just had a heart-attack, so I shut it down and reopened it. Nope.
I thought maybe TweetDeck could explain to me what was wrong, so I clicked a “help” link. But then TweetDeck demanded that I “create an account” or some such, and I said screw that. (Why would I want a “TweetDeck” account? If there’s a good reason, this wasn’t made clear to me.)
I thought maybe it was just a temporary thing, so I went cold-turkey last night and somehow lasted until morning without Twitter. But it was the same story then, too.
So this morning I broke down and did something about it. I remembered reading somewhere that Twitter had bought its own TweetDeck to more effectively kill TweetDeck, so on my iPhone I searched for the name of the app that I remembered Twitter buying — “Tweetie.” There was no longer any such app. But there was an app called “Twitter,” which I downloaded.
So now, on my mobile, I use “Twitter” instead of TweetDeck. It has a white background instead of black, but otherwise it works pretty much the same way.
I planned to make the same switcheroo at the office, but when I got there I discovered that, lo and behold, my office TweetDeck was working again, so I guess I’ll hang on to that.
In any event, this experience, combined with our chart showing the extreme fragmentation of the Twitter client market, has disabused me of the notion that TweetDeck might become one of the most important companies in my world. Until this morning, I literally spent HOURS A DAY interacting with it–way more time than I spend watching TV. But now, on my iPhone, at least, those hours will drop to zero.
Whatever Twitter is doing to kill TweetDeck, et al, it appears to be working.
UPDATE: Many well-wishers have already written to suggest that I “update” TweetDeck and that it will then work fine. Many others have written lambasting me for being dumb as a rock because I didn’t know that some OAUTH thing was the problem (guilty). To the former, I will admit I haven’t the time or interest in figuring out how to “update” TweetDeck. I just want it to work. To the latter, I’ll just concede that I couldn’t care less about OAUTH.