TweetDeck, the feature-rich Twitter client that Twitter acquired in 2011, will soon mostly exist as a web-based service, and the native Mac and Windows apps will play second fiddle to the web and Chrome apps. The company is shutting down the AIR-based version of TweetDeck for desktop and will remove the Android and iPhone apps from their respective mobile stores in May. In addition, the TweetDeck team announced today, it will also “discontinue support for our Facebook integration.”
This news, while disappointing, is probably not shocking to many that follow social media. All companies including Adobe itself are moving away from the AIR platform for application development, and though that version of the software was once the most feature rich it had gone without an update in a long time.
But more so, many who worked in social media dreaded the acquisition of Tweetdeck by Twitter. Predictably, the mobile versions have languished. For a long time, a fork of the project called Tweakdeck was a better choice on Android, but it also is out of date. All current versions are lacking in key features of the original Tweetdeck. Bugs linger in the Mac & PC versions long after being fixed on the Web. It’s hard not to agree with TechCrunch that “Given the clear focus on the web apps, it may just be a matter of time before the native apps will also get the ax.”
Even if this decision might have been predicted by a lack of updates, it highlights a problem faced by those who work in online media — and everyone who works with computers. The tools are constantly changing, and the power is held in other hands. I knew many activists who made use of IFTTT to automate a wide variety of tasks on Twitter, until changes to the API made that impossible, along with killing off a number of other third party applications.
The way we work today may not be the way we work tomorrow when the applications we ‘own’ can change or disappear without our consent.
Twitter monster by Rosaura Ochoa released under a Creative Commons license.