Friday, February 14, 2014

TweetDecking

After a tweet in which I complained (again) about TweetDeck, a follower asked, "What do you get out of @TweetDeck anyway? [I]t seems to frustrate you often." I can't fault him for asking this, because I do. In fact, a lot of things frustrate me often, and I tweet about most of them. In fact, I'm kind of amazed anyone still follows me after all of my griping. In fact, I use "in fact" an awful lot.

First off, for me Twitter is a place for complaining. In addition to learning things and sharing bits of information and funny links and general conversation, Twitter is the first tool that has pretty much forced companies to notice and (optionally) respond to comments. Yes, 9 times out of 10 we're screaming into the wind. But once in a while a company notices and might even make some attempt to remedy the situation.

So I looked at past tweets where I mentioned TweetDeck. Not using Twitter/TweetDeck's search; that blows. No, I used SnapBird--a MUCH better Twitter search tool--and even that can only go back to last June for me. Here are most of the tweets where I directly address issues with TweetDeck:

custom timeline: TweetDeck Gripes

There are a few bug reports in there, as well as a few feature additions I'm requesting because I genuinely want to help. One major/minor issue is how the TweetDeck tab closes when the Chrome extension updates, no matter what I'm doing, and I do not have the ability to not auto-update. To tell the truth, this is more of a flaw in the Google Chrome model than TweetDeck. (My minor quibble is that TweetDeck always seems to push out updates in the middle of the day for the US.)

The vast majority of my actual complaints have to do with TweetDeck refusing to implement a pause/freeze button where I can definitively say "do not under any circumstances move the column until I scroll it myself. Do not load more tweets, do not trim the end of my column, do not close the box where I'm composing a tweet--NOTHING." They've tried to implement some half-assed solution where it tries to guess when it should be paused, but that never works consistently. It mostly fails when I'm scrolling back to see what I missed in the past couple of hours. This is the single most irritating problem I have with TweetDeck.

So the question "what do you get out of TweetDeck?" is a completely reasonable and justified one.

I really liked TweetDeck when it first came out as an Adobe Air app. It had everything I wanted in a Twitter client, and they added new features all the time. My only problem was that at the time, I only had one monitor so I couldn't leave TweetDeck fullscreen all the time!

Then Twitter bought them and everything went to hell. (By now I'm fuzzy on the timeline, so some of this might not be 100% accurate.) Not much changed right away except for being called "TweetDeck by Twitter." When they came out with v1.0 of the Adobe Air version, that's when it went downhill fast. I disliked the desktop app so much that I searched out and reinstalled the previous version. TweetDeck 0.38 was the last time the desktop app was any good.

When I got into using Google Chrome as my main browser, I decided to try out the TweetDeck Chrome extension. It was fairly close to what I liked about the original, and I still had yet to locate a viable replacement at that point. I had tried several recommendations from friends and tech web sites, but there was always at least one dealbreaker for each alternative.

So I still use TweetDeck in my Chrome browser. Here's the shocker: I actually like it--a lot, in fact. It does most of what I want it to. It's just that the one major flaw irritates the shit out of me on a daily basis. So I vent about with a tweet on move on with my day.

I think TweetDeck is a good Twitter client. I just want it to be better because I remember when it was better.