What Happened To TweetDeck?

On December 8 of last year, TweetDeck, one of the most popular multi-platform Twitter clients was relaunched as part of a redesign by Twitter. The new TweetDeck featured an interface similar to the old version, only with less features and less customization possibilities. The new version certainly hasn’t gone down well with users; as of early this month the app has only managed to snag a 2-star rating in the Mac App Store and judging by the reviews left, many users feel that this “upgrade” was really more of a “downgrade”.

Let’s take a look at the new version of TweetDeck to see whether it really lives up to all those mediocre reviews.

Why Was It Relaunched?

In May 2011, TweetDeck was purchased by Twitter for a rumored $40-50 million after a bidding war with rival UberMedia (the developers of another popular Twitter client, UberSocial). Although there was no immediate change, TweetDeck hinted on September 25 that a new version of TweetDeck was going to be released which would make it “more consistent with Twitter.com and Twitter mobile apps” (such as those on the iOS, Android and Blackberry platforms).

Tweetdeck Desktop

The previous version of TweetDeck running on a desktop computer

The previous version of TweetDeck required the Adobe AIR plugin to run, but with the relaunch, TweetDeck has now become a native application for OS X and Windows as well as add-on application for Google Chrome. Although the old name still stuck, there is now a greater focus on the fact that it is owned by Twitter and has been rebranded TweetDeck by Twitter.

What’s New?

A few things aside, there aren’t many new features in the new version of TweetDeck. When you first start the program up, you are asked to log in using your TweetDeck account, which helps synchronize your accounts across all platforms (useful if, for example, you want to use TweetDeck across a range of devices). If you haven’t yet got a TweetDeck account, then you can create one really easily (and it’s free).

TweetDeck Login

The new log-in screen for TweetDeck

The interface has, however, been given a slight overhaul to bring it in line with Twitter’s redesign a couple of months back.

TweetDeck Main

The main screen for TweetDeck, showing your timeline, mentions and own tweets in separate columns.

Adding columns is now a lot simpler in the new version, with larger buttons and a redesigned notification box which, in my opinion, bears a mighty resemblance to the iOS interface and brings it more inline with the web version of Twitter. This version also supports full-screen viewing in OS X Lion.

TweetDeck Columns

Adding new columns in TweetDeck

The new version of TweetDeck still supports URL shortening and scheduling of tweets directly from the application. You can choose either between Twitter or bit.ly URL shortening and the new version does support bit.ly usernames and API keys. You can also choose between Twitter, yFrog and Twitpic for image uploads.

TweetDeck New Tweet

Sending a new tweet in TweetDeck

What’s Missing?

Seeing as TweetDeck is now officially owned by Twitter, support for LinkedIn, Google Buzz, Foursquare and MySpace was dropped from the new release, leaving only Twitter and Facebook supported. Other features that were dropped to bring TweetDeck more in-line with Twitter’s other range of applications include lack of geo-location support (although this is supported in the web version) and lack of deck.ly support, which allowed users to post tweets in excess of 140 characters.

TweetDeck Settings

The customisation options in the new version of TweetDeck

Another complaint (which can be seen from the reviews on the Mac App Store) is that the new version only supports 3-column viewing at once – the previous version supported up to 5 columns on one screen. This is not so much of a quibble if you only use TweetDeck with one account – you only really need your timeline and mentions – but if you are managing multiple Twitter accounts (or you use TweetDeck with Facebook as well) then this can be pretty inconvenient.

How Does It Fare?

Not well, unfortunately. I have to agree with a lot of the reviews posted on the App Store (and with my own experience) in saying that TweetDeck has lost a lot of great features and customisation possibilities which made it a fantastic third-party Twitter client. It seems to me that Twitter has now got too much control over the application. Yes, they can bring it in line with their other applications but did they really have to do it in such a dramatic way?

I was a big fan of the old TweetDeck as it gave me so many possibilities and it made using Twitter extremely dynamic. The web version is great for people who are starting out with the social network, but for more advanced users then it can be a little basic. However, with the new version of TweetDeck it seems like we are all back at square one again. Yes, it gives you more features than the web version but you just find yourself longing for “the good old days” with the old version.

Until Twitter realizes how many faithful TweetDeck users it has let down (myself included), I will keep on using another client until an updated TweetDeck with richer features comes along. And it better come along soon because Mac users won’t wait forever before abandoning the product altogether.


Add Yours
  • My sentiments exactly! The main reason for me using TweetDeck was because it had the ability to post to multiple social networks. With that gone, I’ve moved over to Hootsuite. The interface isn’t as great as TweetDeck’s but I can post to other networks.

    • I moved to hootsuite as well

  • they killed tweetdeck, now it’s useless.

  • Bought a new lap top only to find this new version of tweet deck when downloaded. I hate it. It looks cheap. The other one had a better look. Also a bit difficult to navigate at first. Bring back the original one. At least it could give us a choice which one we want.

  • As Ashraf says above ^^

    I bought a Google Nexus Prime, loaded on TweetDeck and was devastated at the lack of functionality. This killed TweetDeck for me and I moved across to HootSuite – which isn’t perfect but at least allows me to post across multiple Social Networks.
    Definitely not an upgrade – a downgrade instead. :(

  • The new Tweetdeck is worthless. Alot of options are gone and only 3 columns is way to little.

    I’m currently testing a “new” client called: Janetter . It reminds alot about Tweetdeck and has alot of options as well. Can be downloaded from http://janetter.net

    It’s available for both Mac OsX and Windows. I’m using on both right now.

    Let’s hope Tweetdeck get their *beep* together and release an update soon.

    BTW .. For those who still want the “old” Adobe Air version 0.38.2 (I think) I have a saved copy of that file.. I think it’s the PC version but might work on Mac OsX as well.

  • Wow. There actually are people that use twitter. Amazing.

    • Not exactly amazing many professional people use twitter and mostly it professionals and people in development that needed the features that tweetdeck had and it’s a shame that we’ve lost them now…

  • Apparently, I’ve managed to squeak by w/Air version on my MBP and iMac. And I’m going to leave them alone! I have multi columns set up to keep track of conversations, gurus, favorites, etc.

    No longer being able to post to LI would be a serious PITA!

    • I have the newest AIR version too on my MacBook (38.2) and in the last day or so, it’s stopped populating certain Lists. They’re just empty, even though I know accounts I follow have updates. The paranoid part of me thinks that Twitter has somehow blocked the Desktop App and is forcing me to the new version. I get constant API errors, so who knows. I’m going to try that Janetter app alternative mentioned above.

  • Agree with everything said here. Really disappointed in the new TweetDeck. My biggest gripe is the notifications. They won’t work at all. I’m hoping that Twitter will get their act together real soon and give us back the features this new TweetDeck is seriously lacking. Until then, I am keeping my old version.

    • I have an older version installed, and like it a lot more .. just like you.. but lost my installer.. i want to install it on my new laptop.. do you know where I can find it?

  • I, too, am disappointed with the new TweetDeck.

    HootSuite is now my social application of choice.

  • Who wants a huge, bulk UI for Twitter anyway? Twitter for Mac and Echofon are the only two Twitter apps for Mac worth using.

  • Who wants a huge, bulky UI for Twitter anyway? Twitter for Mac and Echofon are the only two Twitter apps for Mac worth using.

    • Not true for those of us who manage multiple Twitter accounts and could utilize Tweetdeck to post certain updates across multiple social networking channels. The old Tweetdeck allowed me to take full control of my social networking, the way few others have been able to do.

      • That’s exactly how I feel.

  • I keep thinking I’ll find a real use for Twitter since facebook is so uber (or too) useful to me, and virtually none of my 400+ friends there or any n the “real” world Tweet with any frequency – so I follow it more as a social/tech phenomenon than as a user, tho’ I did come across a site with a live Twitter feed during the height of the Arab spring and it was fascinating to see history literally scrolling up my screen – so, yes, it’s my lack of a practical use, not that there are NO practical uses.

    And every now and then I push something out into the ether, tho’ not much has ever come of that.

    I have found one use however. I use it to sign into sites instead of registering for them to comment – instead of giving all those sites access to my fb data and wall, since I don’t have anything on Twitter (I hope) that would help with stealing my ID and I’m not concerned about spammy posts in my feed, since all I ever see there are endless repetitions of the same forwarded links and re-tweets anyway. Boooor-ing!

    Meaning I’m commenting from the cheap seats here. But two small notes:

    1. it WOULD be kinda tough to support Google Buzz, now that it’s a discontinued product.

    2. the lack of deck.ly “long tweet” support bespeaks nothing more than short-sighted corporate cheapness – constricting the amount of data transmitted per tweet to cut data center costs. Short-sighted because that capability might make me actually become a more active user.

  • Way to ruin a good piece of software, Twitter! I installed it and immediately uninstalled it when asked for tweetdeck account. I don’t need another un/pw to remember (I only have one twitter account)

  • “…the new version only supports 3-column viewing at once…”

    Not exactly. I have 5 columns running. Just need to expand the window.

  • for me tweetdeck is dead when they first removed deck.ly

  • I HATE the new Tweetdeck, it’s clunky, the 3 column thing is wack, and i haven’t yet been able to add a coumn to find a running report of my #newfollowers! Anyone know how to do this?

  • I can’t get my Tweet Deck to close on my MBP! I have tried several ways to “quit” but it won’t close down. All I can do is hide it. Any suggestions?

  • I still have my old Tweetdeck in my computer and won’t upgrade at all, I am glad I read the reviews beforehand. I have my followers in groups and lists accordingly, and if they only allow 3 columns the rest of them get lost in the shuffle.

  • On the recommendation of a respected friend (jetcollective.com) I trashed Socialite for TweetDeck. Looked good and simple to use – Several hours later and I discovered just how “simple” it really is (basic would be a better word) and there isn’t even a control anymore, to stop fast loading tweets scrolling by like the clappers!

    What goes on in the brains of these developers? Its the Microsoft story all over again. Get too big for their boots and think we users will accept anything. BIG mistake… Sorry but TweetDeck needs urgent improvement.

  • The new @TweetDeck is the WORST upgrade I have ever experienced. I wish there was another term. I hesitate calling it an upgrade. I don’t even want to stick around to wait for a fix. I am running away as fast as I can from this steaming pile of HTML5 code.

  • I am so disappointed that they cut off LinkedIn. This ‘upgrade’ is forcing users to resort to two applications or eliminating TweetDeck altogether.

    I have tried Buffer, Hootsuite and Grabinbox and so far Hootsuite is the winner, ONLY when there’s no bug that doesn’t allow scheduled tweets. This all seems like quite a mess if you ask me.