Federico Viticci wrote a
post review as close to a book as you can get about Twitter clients. He really does get down into the specific details of each one. Since Twitter is one of my favourite ways to waste spend my time, I jumped in with gusto. A few paragraphs in, I noticed the following words, which tie in exactly with my own thoughts.
I’m a Twitter completionist. Because I’ve always used the service to discover interesting new apps and links, I’ve developed a habit of trying not to miss a single tweet that is shared or retweeted in my timeline, with the only exception for the weekends.
Particularly after launching better linked posts on the site and starting our MacStories Weekly newsletter with a dedicated Links section, discovering stuff on the Internet has become essential to my livelihood, and Twitter is the best (and most diverse) service for this. I know that I haven’t missed cool apps, links, and news thanks to my dedication to reading my entire timeline every day, and for this reason, in spite of strong evidence suggesting that Twitter doesn’t intend timelines to be consumed this way, I won’t change how I read Twitter.
This behavior makes timeline gaps and timeline sync one of the most prominent aspects I have to consider in a Twitter client. I want to be able to wake up in the morning and start reading my timeline from where I left it the night before; and, I want to know that I can close Twitter for a couple of hours in the afternoon without losing my place in a stream of tweets. More importantly, whenever a timeline gap occurs I need the ability to load tweets without making the timeline scroll and lose my position.
Unfortunately, the official Twitter app doesn’t support sync and leaves much to be desired for timeline gaps.
I read or skim my whole timeline, sometimes curating it as as I go up and up, on my way to Tweet Timeline Zero. I know of people who, upon seeing a few hundred tweets, prefer to scroll up and then go down the other way, just to catch up on the last hour or so. This is not something I am comfortable with, nor is it something that I can do with with a clear conscience. I did try to use the Twitter’s own app1 at one point, but the fact that the app would sometimes reload the whole timeline and scroll me all the way up killed it for me. In fact, Federico makes note of this…
In practice, the Twitter app results in several minutes I spend scrolling and trying to find the last tweet I saw when I closed the app. Every morning and whenever I leave the app for a couple of hours, Twitter either completely reloads the timeline (pushing me to top to see the latest tweets) or inserts a timeline gap that occasionally fails to load new tweets above my position.
In 2013 I wrote an open letter to Twitter, which included the following:
What is important to me is reading my timeline. My whole timeline. I follow some two hundred sources. A bit too many perhaps, but I carefully curate my list to allow me to quickly read that which satisfies my interests in chronological order, as events unfold. The only reason I am still doing this is because of developers like Tapbots, Iconfactory and all the other great Twitter clients out there.
2015 is almost upon us and Twitter is still lacking, especially for “completionists”, as Ticci put it. I cannot fathom how Federico can use Twitter’s app despite his strong motivation to read his whole timeline—I’m still on Tweetbot and when it finally dies, so will most probably my love for Twitter. In the meantime, I’m still waiting for Tweetbot 3 for iPad…
- I believe this was when I was playing around with Android a bit. ↩