twitter is not a desktop application


with more and more interesting people joining twitter every day, i’d like to remind everyone, or teach the new people, that twitter is not a desktop application. it is multi-modal. not only can you send your tweets from the web and desktop applications, but also by text and from mobile browsers.

this means you can receive tweets the same way. and you have no control over how i receive your tweets.

so please, do not put a link to something on the big-screen web in every one of your tweets, because many times i’m on my phone and i simply can’t (or won’t depending on what phone i’m on) read them. take the time to summarize the link for me. scott sets an excellent example here. don’t act like i’m going to click it right away. and for that matter, even a linkless post about your computer is usually irrelevant to those of use who are truly mobile.

also, twitter is not IRC or pownce. that fact that it is not either of those two things it was allows it to be so flexible, and work on so many different types of devices. please stop trying to make it into IRC or pownce. really. those applications are great, but are really single mode. if they have features you prefer over twitter, then by all means USE THEM. stop trying to make twitter into something complicated and difficult to use on mobile phones. though mr. messina seems to be a culprit here, i will at least give him credit for keeping his conventions limited to those available on all mobile phones. but what he forgets is that by crowding the 140 character message with group names and all sorts of other delimiters, he’s taking valuable characters away from what count’s most. THE MESSAGE.

twitter is about content. it doesn’t have to be mind blowing, earth shattering super important content, but it should at least have some value. if you can’t post tweets with value, and without URLs, i’m simply not going to subscribe to your stream. ever. even if you’re my friend in real life. tell me more than “eating dinner” or “new blog post [URL]”. seriously. if you were sitting next to me in the real world would you say that? no you’d say “this steak is delicious” or “i just blogged about my twitter pet peeves”. see the difference??


13 Responses to “twitter is not a desktop application”

  1. Hi Eric — I agree with you. About Twitter being about “content”, however loosely defined.

    I also agree that Twitter is not a desktop app (I’m not sure that anyone made that assertion, but I guess you’re talking about people’s behavior). Twitter is essentially a message router. It works because of what I’ve called “transmogrification” — turning content produced in one medium into another (IM, web, SMS, mashup, webapp, client app, etc). In which case, everyone’s experience of Twitter is unique and not necessarily known by others.

    This is also where the richness of Twitter lies — and how adaptable it’s proven over time.

    While Twitter is not IRC and shouldn’t become a replacement for it, people nonetheless are interested in similar or related topics. As well, people are often not interested in other topics even if they’re generally interested in what’s going on with someone. Currently you have no control over what kind of content you get from your friends; you get everything.

    I’ve proposed a convention to use hash delimited tags to mark up status updates, as both a convenience and a courtesy to others. It’s also a way to express more explicitly *what* you’re twittering about. And, most importantly, it’s entirely optional and voluntary.

    The benefits come when you’re at an event like SXSW and you *do* want to hear all about the event. The benefits come when you’re *not* at an event and want to filter out all your friend’s updates about the event. The benefits come when you want to see trends in what you’ve twittered about in the past. And the benefits may come from other places that haven’t been discovered or thought up yet. Who knows.

    I really don’t want Twitter to turn into IRC. It’s not a good substitute for tools that excel in synchronous communications. It’s also best at communicating simple content that works over the lowest common denominator of SMS. But that doesn’t mean that Twitter can’t evolve, and in such a way that doesn’t interrupt most people’s use of the system.

    Anyway, if you get a chance, read over my proposal and let me know what you think. I think we’re in more agreement than not.

  2. 2 Anjuan

    I agree that twitter is not a desktop app. It is a service plain and simple. However, I would like to see more features like an easier way to track replies. But, that is what the api is for I suppose.

  3. 3 Marvin

    I’m just in the process of setting up twitter and have added a twitter update to my blog. I am curious about how it works and so all the information provided here is very valuable. I hadn’t thought through the possible implications of having an open forum on the blog. I can see now that it is something I will have to watch and consider more carefully.

  4. Well, I have taken quite a close look on your website and I must say that I find it extraordinarily interesting. You can be sure that I will come back pretty soon.

  5. 5 Sticker

    Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Sticker.

  6. 6 henry

    quit bitching.


  7. 7 BFLarry

    Достаточно интересная и познавательная тема

  8. 8 Doctor

    Мог бы долго с вами спорить на эту тему 🙂

  9. 9 scotslawstudent

    That seems very reasonable. It’s worth pointing out again and again that people might well not receive your tweets in the same way that you sent them. I agree it’s not a desktop application, in fact I think the various ways (and particularly mobile ways) of accessing Twitter is exactly its greatest strength.

    I think the not just a URL rule is quite sensible, I followed a version of it not out of a conscious sort of respect to mobile users but simply because the alternative is expecting Internet users to click a link with no explanation of what it is. That sounds like a good way to get a virus to me so I simply don’t do it. For example, the last Tweet I sent was a simple public service announcement about a new blog post, there’s not enough room to say much in a Tweet so I stuck to the basics:

    ” scotslawstudent New blog post about blogging (microblogging with Twitter)- very meta. “Twitter as a legal blogging tool”:

    I think I took time to summarise the post and I even included the title next to the link, that’s not just good for people who don’t click the link, it’s good for people who DO click the link. What reason does anyone have to click a link sent by someone who doesn’t even tell you what it is? It’s a hyperlink, not a Christmas present. Don’t make it a surprise for your followers.

  10. офисная магия лол

    Пропущено несколько запятых, однако для интересность сообщения это никак не повлияло

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  13. I think the family model is very well suited to a startup, mostly because it is almost a necessity: in a startup, the boundary lines between work and home and not well defined. In my experience, it is true even if not all employees are white collar workers. Come on

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