A recent tech article over on Wired.com got me thinking about social media again. Even though I’d attempted giving up most social media earlier this year, I, once again, use Instagram and Pinterest regularly. At one point in time I utilized TweetDeck on a fairly regular basis. However, at one point it all got to be too much and I paired all my feeds down to just two columns. It’s been a long while since I last explored this alternate version of the platform, so let’s see if I really should use it again or not. Today I’ll break their article down point by point.
“We’ve seen a lot of changes to Twitter in recent months, including the introduction of a subscription plan with perks, tweaks to the way that replies work, and a new font that hasn’t been universally welcomed. Then there are Fleets, which ended up being very fleeting indeed.”— David Nield, Wired Contributor
I’ll not deny David this initial statement. Twitter has been experimenting with new additions to its platforms, with some of those additions not well received. Why add video content in a way where it’s already being utilized by five other apps? While I may not agree with how its timeline algorithm works, I still much prefer this platform over any video sharing outlets like TikTok or Vine [yes I know, Vine is dead]. Let’s move on.
“But Twitter is also busy updating and evolving its other Twitter client: TweetDeck. Launched in 2008 and acquired by Twitter in 2011, you can think of TweetDeck as a window to the social network for power users – you get real time updates, advanced search tools, and more.”— David Nield, Wired Contributor
But why does TweetDeck have to be just for “power users?” Can’t it be for everyone? Why divide a platform’s user base in such a way? And, from the last time I used TweetDeck to today, I don’t see much “evolving” happening. Unless I’ve completely missed it, which is always a possibility. So I’m cool with giving him the benefit of the doubt on that statement. Next.
“If you’ve never tried TweetDeck, or if you’ve previously used it and since forgotten about it, here are some of its key features – and it might suit you better than the default Twitter web client. As we’ve said, Twitter is testing updates to TweetDeck too, so it looks like even more functionality is on the way (and we’re fingers-crossed hoping they don’t hobble any already there).”— David Nield, Wired Contributor
Oh how I agree with the last statement in the above quote! I swear, every time a platform updates or removes a popular function, they don’t listen to its users. I remember the big stink folks made over updates to Instagram this time last year. Do I remember the result of that stink? No. But I really wish platforms considered their users more than they do. Let’s see if the “key features” David mentions are ones I initially liked when I used TweetDeck a while back.
“[the] Key to TweetDeck is its expansive layout, split up into customizable columns that you have full control over. Whereas Twitter is typically just a single column […] TweetDeck lets you have this column and plenty more […]. If you have a widescreen monitor, you can keep an eye on an awful lot of tweets at once.”— David Nield, Wired Contributor
Ah, multitasking. The one thing I either love or hate when it comes to how I conduct my free time. As much as I can appreciate the intent of these columns, they soon became the exact reason I decided to streamline my use of the platform and stick with the main site.
I’ll admit, sometimes it is nice to have a more simplistic view of Twitter – by simplistic I mean the single column format. However, that often becomes too much for me as well. Why? The timeline showing what everyone else is “liking.” The newsflashes on the right hand side (and the fact we can’t even choose to not see headlines), and ever changing hashtags I’m 90% of the time not even interested in.
This was what drew me to TweetDeck: control over what you see. There are no headlines. Or constantly changing trending hashtags. What can I say? I really do fall under the “simple user” category.
“You could even set up multiple lists for multiple times of the day and switch between these columns based on whether you’re working or not. It’s up to you which order the columns go in, and how many appear on screen at any one time. And TweetDeck is also capable enough to manage multiple accounts through the same interface – giving you more control over what you see on Twitter and when.”— David Nield, Wired Contributor
My main question for all this is simply: why? Who needs this much involvement on any social media platform? Okay, maybe a very popular content creator, or a business account, or even someone who follows dozens of topics at a time.
In my daily quest to find a simpler life, the very ideas of “multiple lists,” “multiple times,” and “multiple accounts” through one interface doesn’t sit well with me. When you let social media rule your life in this way, at what point does it become overwhelming?
When I tried TweetDeck for a summer, I only had four columns: main feed, notifications, and two or three writing related topics. While I greatly appreciate the “live” aspect of TweetDeck, everything moved way too fast to even keep up. It all boiled down to the one word I mentioned earlier: overwhelming.
“This is particularly useful for searches and hashtags, though a column can quickly become overwhelming if your search terms are too broad or too popular. […] All of this gives you a great deal of flexibility when it comes to digging through the firehose of updates that millions of Twitter users post every day.”— David Nield, Wired Contributor
Ha! See? Exactly my point. Customization can only get one so far, and it can often lead to someone getting too overwhelmed with a tool made complicated by their own free will. Let’s carry on.
“TweetDeck lets you compose and schedule tweets too, of course: Click the compose button in the very top left of the TweetDeck interface, and you can tell everyone what’s happening, share links and images and more. The option to schedule your tweet for a future time is available right on the same interface, while you’re also able to send direct messages…if you need to.”— David Nield, Wired Contributor
Now this is where I feel the article is cut short. There’s no wrap up, summary, or overall exact reason as to why “You Should Be Using TweetDeck.” It’s an abrupt, jarring end, so let me finish it here for him: the only thing this Wired article covers is TweetDeck’s functionality. It’s a “tech” article, and not as personal as one might think when first opened.
While TweetDeck does have more customizable options than its predecessor, and perks such as scheduling tweets ahead of time, whether or not you should use TweetDeck or not is entirely up to you. The Wired contributor just assumes you’re going to use TweetDeck at the end of the article, and that’s presuming an awful lot.
Twitter, even though it’s been around since 2006, still has loads of room to grow and change. While I may not agree with all the changes, I don’t think I’ll be running to TweetDeck any time soon. Here are a few reasons why:
- I already schedule all the Tweets I need to via publishing my blog posts through WordPress. When I go to schedule a post or a page, I’m able to pop in exactly I want to say via my connected accounts.
- While it’s nice to see things in real time when it comes to live chat events, I don’t see myself utilizing TweetDeck in this way on a day to day basis.
I think, instead of this article’s title being “You Should Be Using TweetDeck,” it should’ve been “Here Are Some Great Times To Use TweetDeck.” He could’ve offered up times, like live chat events, or following news closely, where TweetDeck could be a great tool.