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Twitter on the Mac: Do your job, or get out of the way

Jason Snell | Aug. 14, 2015
Three years ago this month Twitter broke its covenant with the third-party developers who helped fuel its initial growth and create some of its most innovative features. The message was clear: Twitter was in charge of its own platform, and while other Twitter apps would be tolerated, it would only be in limited fashion and for a limited time.

But perhaps Twitter's just given up on the Mac. The tweet announcing tweet-quoting specifically didn't mention the Mac version, and the app itself hasn't been updated since October. I use Twitter on the desktop all the time, but I understand how mobile should probably be Twitter's focus.

Whose app is it anyway?

Still, couldn't this have all been avoided? This is Twitter's platform. It could've placed stricter rules on the third-party apps favored by geeks like me while allowing them to continue innovating on the platform and growing their own businesses, but the rules were too onerous and development is slowly grinding to a halt.

If Twitter doesn't have the resources or inclination to properly support platforms like the Mac (or, quite frankly, iOS and Android), perhaps it should rethink the decisions made by the prior regime and find a way to let other developers apply their expertise to the problem. Alternately, maybe Twitter should figure out how to use its huge team of app developers to create first-class native apps for not just iOS and Android, but the Mac and Windows too.

Finally, there's the nuclear option: Force everyone on the desktop to use Twitter's website. After all, there's no native Facebook app for the Mac. This is true, and yet I use Twitter far more than I use Facebook for just this reason! With a dedicated Twitter app, I can dip in and out of the social stream as it suits me. I never remember to look at Facebook when I'm sitting at my desk.

It's a tumultuous time for Twitter. They need new leadership and the overall Twitter product needs to get a lot better. I agree with Chris Sacca's argument that Twitter could truly become our watercooler when it comes to live events, from TV shows to sports to breaking news. There's a lot of work to be done. But as Twitter gets its house in order, maybe it can consider giving a little love to its apps? They sure could use it, especially Twitter for Mac. And if you can't bother making a good Mac app, could you consider handing the keys to competent Mac developers and stepping out of the way?


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