Tag Archive for ‘Tweetbot’

Digital Social Distancing

A handful of weeks ago I started unfollowing people on Twitter. Whenever someone consistently shared anything that made me upset or angry, whether I agreed with their position or not, I unfollowed them.

Before I started unfollowing, I made extensive use of Tweetbot’s mute feature to remove this type of stuff from my timeline. Initially doing so by muting some keywords, but too often things would slip through the cracks. So I began muting individuals for a period of timing — sometimes for a week, and other times for a month. But what that resulted in was the anger and frustration returning to my timeline once the mute filter lapsed.

So I began unfollowing. And some of the people I unfollowed are genuine friends of mine. But I’ve sort-of reached a breaking point. I was becoming more and more miserable with each passing day and my Twitter timeline — a place that used to be filled with links to neat applications, interesting gadgets, and positive ideas — was filled with political stories that just made me unhappy.

I don’t want to lose those friendships, though, I simply want to take a break from their ability to inject those sorts day-wrecking tweets into my life. So for every person that I unfollowed, I added them to a private list on my Twitter account. That way, once things have settled down a bit — hopefully in about a month or so — I’ll be able to refollow and start conversing more regularly again.

But I propose a term that can be used for this:

Digital Social Distancing: the act of distancing yourself from others on social networks — by unfollowing, muting, etc. — with the goal of preventing anger from infecting your mental health.

Defaulting to the Share Sheet for Read Later Services Is Lazy ➝

Josh Ginter:

The debut of app extensions effectively eliminated those custom sharing actions to Pocket and Instapaper. Within a few software release cycles, apps like Tweetbot and Reeder opted to shelve development of their own sharing extensions for Pocket or Instapaper and left the sharing mechanism to the system-wide system. […]

In hindsight, this feels like a lazy decision and has hampered the speed and efficiency of saving content to any read-it-later queue.

The share sheet was a massive step forward for iOS, but it shouldn’t have resulted in the removal of these excellent custom sharing features built-in to applications. I’m glad that Unread brought back its custom read later sharing option in its most recent major release. I’d love to see more applications implement it as well.

➝ Source: thenewsprint.co

After the API Changes

In light of recent events regarding third-party clients, I’ve had to make some changes to the way I interact with Twitter. I’ve been a diehard Tweetbot user for years and its going to take a bit more than some relatively minor API changes to get me to switch to Twitter’s first-party client. But I’m not able to use Tweetbot in the same way that I used to — push notifications for likes, retweets, follows, and the like are no longer functional.

The folks behind Twitterrific have been encouraging users to enable notifications in the official Twitter app and to launch Twitterrific whenever they just want to browse their timeline. This isn’t a terrible solution, but I’d rather interact with the Twitter app as little as possible. That left me to revert back to the original third-party Twitter client — SMS.

Surprisingly, the good old 40404 shortcode continues to work. And although the increased character count causes some occasional truncation, its still a better experience then launching the Twitter app, which I find to be an abhorrent piece of software. The setup is quite simple, assuming you already have your phone number associated with your Twitter account. Just enable the notifications you want to receive from the mobile settings page on Twitter.com, which is only visible on the desktop version of the site.

Twitter Mobile Notification Settings

I have it set to send me an SMS message whenever I receive a direct message, someone follows me, and when a tweet is liked or retweeted. I’m still using Tweetbot’s notifications for mentions and replies. It’s a bummer that they’re a little delayed compared to the official Twitter client or SMS, but I frequently interact with these notifications and I’d rather them launch my preferred Twitter client when tapped.

It’s also notable that I’ve added the 40404 shortcode to my contacts, added Twitter’s logo, and changed its text message tone to iOS’ built-in Tweet sound. It may sound silly, but it does add quite a lot to the experience.

This setup gives me all of the notifications I’m accustomed to, but there’s still the matter of Tweetbot’s activity panel, which was also removed when the API changed. I always kept the Activity panel open next to my timeline on iPad because it helped reduce the line length of tweets and gave me something nice to glance at in the sidebar.

Tweetbot with Sidefari

The solution I’ve come to utilizes Sidefari in Split View to display the notification tab on Twitter’s mobile site. This gives me all of the glanceable data I’m used to and forces Tweetbot’s timeline to have sensible line length. I’ll occasionally be prompted to sign back into Twitter in Sidefari, but its a small price to pay in order to continue using the best Twitter client ever made.

Tweetbot Over Twitterrific

I’m a longtime, diehard Tweetbot user and it’s been one of my favorite apps on the platform since it’s debut nearly seven years ago. But Nick Heer recently pointed out a nifty feature that’s exclusive to Twitterrific — “Delete and Edit Tweet”. Many Twitter users have been clamoring for the ability to edit tweets and the folks at Iconfactory have developed a clever workaround.

When you choose the option, through the ellipses menu on one of your tweets, Twitterrific will delete the selected message and open a compose view with the contents of that tweet filled in. This gives you the ability to quickly fix typos or grammatical errors without having to go through multiple steps to accomplish it.

Twitterrific and Tweetbot

This feature alone piqued my interest in the app. I haven’t revisited Twitterrific since the last major release and thought this was a great opportunity to give it another try. I’ve spent the past week with Twitterrific as my primary Twitter client and the following is an unordered list of thoughts and observations regarding the app:

  • I wish that I could hide display names in the timeline. I tend to prefer minimal user interfaces and would rather my Twitter app only show usernames within the timeline. If I want to see a user’s display name, I’m more than willing to tap their avatar to see it in their profile view. Display names aren’t used within tweets for mentions or replies, so why should they be emphasized in the timeline?
  • I find myself searching Twitter several times each day and wish I could set the search view as a tab, but there’s no option to do so. The only way to access it is through the sidebar, which adds another interaction to the process — tap or swipe to open the sidebar and then tap again to open the search view.
  • I’m not happy with the font options in the app. I’ve used Avenir in Tweetbot for a couple of years and it looks like trash in Twitterrific. The weight is too heavy for my taste and it looks sort-of blurry — it’s not crisp and clean like it is in Tweetbot. I’ve settled on using Helvetica Neue with a slightly increased line height. I’m not in love with it, but it’s better than all of the other options.
  • I don’t like how replies are displayed. I wish usernames were included within the tweet rather than being displayed on their own line above the tweet’s content.
  • The unified timeline is Twitterrific’s best feature. Displaying all of your mentions and replies within your primary timeline, whether you follow the person or not, is absolutely brilliant. If Tweetbot was to steal one feature from Twitterrific, I hope it would be the unified timeline.
  • The Project Phoenix icon is gorgeous — one of the best app icons on my device.
  • In Tweetbot, when you setup a mute filter, you can choose an expiration date. This is perfect for hiding tweets about a specific event during its duration to prevent spoilers and keeps your mute filters tidy by automatically removing them after their specified timeframe. Twitterrific doesn’t have that ability. Muffles, as they call them, are either on or off — there’s no way to set an expiration date and that’s pretty lame.
  • I keep my iPad in landscape mode the vast majority of the time, but Twitterrific gives you no way to hide the tab bar in this view, even if you have the sidebar displayed. And the sidebar is necessary to keep line length reasonable. You’re forced to choose between good line length and redundant user interface elements or terrible line length. Both of those options lead to a bad user experience.
  • I understand what they’re trying to do, but I don’t like the use of emoji in notifications. It doesn’t do enough to help me distinguish between mentions, likes, and so on. It only feels like it’s adding to the noise.
  • I’m not fond of how tweets are dated. I don’t need relative and absolute dates on each tweet. And displaying this information below the contents of the tweet — instead of right-aligned next to the username as Tweetbot does — adds unnecessary height to each tweet giving you less content on the screen at once.
  • I enjoy the use of color within the timeline to differentiate between your own tweets, mentions, and everything else. It’s a nice touch.

Twitterrific is a well-made application with some bright spots, but after spending a week with it as my primary Twitter client, I’m going back to Tweetbot. I’ll miss the Project Phoenix icon in my dock and the utility of the unified timeline, but those two features aren’t enough for me to make the switch. Tweetbot features beautiful type, a perfectly minimal user interface, and it makes better use of screen real estate on the iPad with the multicolumn view. Overall, Tweetbot is still the best Twitter client on the platform.

Tweetbot Update Brings Image Support in DMs, New Compose UI for Replies ➝

Federico Viticci, writing on MacStories:

Similarly to Twitter’s iPhone app, Tweetbot 4.6 doesn’t count usernames against the 140-character limit. To present this change in functionality, Tapbots has opted for a Twitter-like design where usernames aren’t displayed in the compose box upon starting a reply. Instead, a “Replying to…” banner at the top of the screen highlights the tweet’s original author and other participants in a conversation. […]

Unlike Twitter’s official apps, usernames are still displayed in the body of a tweet in both the Timeline and Mentions views, providing a familiar format that doesn’t force you to tap on the “Replying to…” banner from every section of the app.

This is why I continue to use third-party clients — I can actually trust them to do the right thing with their user interface decisions. The same can’t be said about Twitter itself.

Tweetbot 4.4 Brings Timeline Filters ➝

Federico Viticci gives a rundown of Tweetbot 4.4’s timeline filters. I was a little bummed when the media view was removed from Tweetbot in the transition to version 4, but I’m glad to see it return alongside the ability to create your own filters.

Scrolling Tweetbot to the First Unread Tweet ➝

Apparently Tweetbot will scroll to the first unread tweet if you double tap on the timeline icon in the tab bar. This is amazing. And seriously, why am I just now hearing about this?

(Via Michael Tsai.)

Make Wooden Toys ➝

Daniel Jalkut, in response to Rene Ritchie’s recent piece in which he likened indie app development to wooden toys:

I remember when my kids were younger, marveling at the powerhouse of wooden infant toys, Melissa & Doug. If you have a baby and are part of a socioeconomic culture that can sustain it, you have seen these toys. They are everywhere. And they are far from cheap. […]

Make software that is inspired by wooden toys. Although the market is dominated by cheap plastic, there is real money for thoughtful, careful developers in the market that favors charming, slightly overpriced throwbacks to another era. Make wooden toys.

I believe there will always be a sustainable market for these types of applications. I know I’ll continue to buy them and I’m almost certain my small circle of friends will as well. I wish we could convince more of the general public to spend a fair amount of money on good applications, but I’m afraid those days are behind us.

But rather than give up on the indie app racket altogether, I think it’s time developers start charging sane prices for their applications. Follow in the footsteps of Tapbots and The Soulmen who charge $10 and $20 for their flagship apps. The market exists, you just have to start pricing your wares so that you can build a sustainable business from it.