Code & Sundry

Jon G Stødle

Switching to the official Twitter app - sorry Tweetbot

572 words, 3 minutes to read

I recently began using the official Twitter app. I've been a long time fan of Tweetbot, but I've become more and more frustrated by Twitter's insistance on hampering third party developers by limiting their public API.

In my earlier attempts at using the official Twitter app, I've always been frustrated with the way the app orders tweets. In case you missed it shows tweets out of order, conversations are ordered in reverse order from the rest of the timeline and "promoted" tweets pops up all over the place.

After using the official Twitter app for about a week, I'm finally starting to get into the groove. To get there however, I've had to change the way I use Twitter. I've been using Twitter old-school style, and I don't think that's possible anymore.

Way back, when I first joined Twitter, I read everything everyone I followed tweeted. Today that's no longer possible. I follow too many people to do that, and I don't want to spend that much time on Twitter. Despite that, I've been doing what I've always done: start at the tweet where I left off last time and make my way to the top. At some point I'd have to give in and jump to the top of the timeline, just to keep up.

Now I do it the other way around. I always start at the top and scroll downwards. In the old days that didn't make sense as everything I read was in reverse order. But the Twitter app has added a few feature which makes this not only possible, but better than what I was doing before.

These feature are not new to the Twitter app, but as a recent convert, they're new to me.

I've come to really like In case you missed it. It let's me get a glimpse at some of the interesting things that's happened since I last was on Twitter. It's not perfect, but it's better than scrolling through over 1000 tweets. I'm now able to jump on Twitter, spend a couple of minutes scrolling down my timeline and actually feel like it was worth it. I have, in fact, seen tweets in In case you missed it multiple times that I know I wouldn't have seen otherwise. It's convinced me that it's actually useful.

With conversations ordered from top to bottom, they're a lot easier to read when scrolling from the top. While I disliked them when scrolling from the bottom, old-school style, they're really nice when scrolling from the top. I actually prefer having the conversations automatically organised.

I also learned that you can remove annoying "promoted" tweets, by muting the tweet's account. That keeps them away from the timeline in the future. I keep the accounts with interesting "promoted" tweets, in case they advertise something nice in the future, but I mute everything that's annoying.

A side effect of starting at the top is that I don't have the same fear of missing out anymore. Previously, I would worry that I was missing out on interesting content as I jumped to the top of the timeline. Now I start at the top and trust in the algorithm to show me the best of my timeline. It's likely far from perfect, but it's good enough for me.

I've actually ended up enjoying Twitter more since switching. That's probably what's surprised me the most.

(Also, the polls are nice)