Written by Polle de Maagt
You might know Tweetdeck, one of the preferred Twitter desktop apps for hardcore Twitterazi, besides gems like Twhirl and Twitterific. I love Tweetdeck’s customizable multi-column no-nonsense interface and quick Twitter servicedesk (@tweetdeck) in case of problems.
At the recent Adobe MAX conference I was surprised to see (on Twitter of course) that Mr. Tweetdeck himself, Iain Dodsworth, was also attending the conference. I was lucky enough to be able to drag him out of one of the many MAX sessions to talk with him about Tweetdeck, Adobe AIR, communities and Tweetdeck’s future.
Beyond the one column
For all of you that missed it: TweetDeck is a twitter dashboard, an Adobe AIR (“It’s just the quickest way to go cross-platform”) desktop application that is currently in public beta and uses multiple columns, group functionality and embeds services like Twitscoop and Twitpic in a clean interface. “The Twitter eco system in a dashboard”, like Iain puts it. The app launched in april 2008 and usage exploded since then. “I just created Tweetdeck because I was following 70 people and missed tweets of my friends. Over time I would even follow more and more people and didn’t like the one-column interface of the twitter apps that were around”.
TweetDeck enables users to split their main feed (All Tweets) into topic or group specific columns allowing a broader overview of tweets. The default columns can contain All Tweets from your timeline, @replies directed to you and direct messages. The GROUP, SEARCH and REPLIES buttons then allow the user to make up additional columns populated from the live tweet information. Once created these additional columns will automatically update allowing the user to keep track of a twitter threads far easier.
New features coming up
And there will be more, as Iain lays out. The first features that will be added are an iPhone app, tweet-syncing accross multiple installs and your iPhone and multi-account functionality. There will also be a User Interface update, which will include a new and easier way to arrange an re-arrange columns, a new mini-column feature (smaller columns), and the possibility to customize fonts, styles and notifications.
Practically all new features are driven by demand of the large Tweetdeck Uservoice community. “I’m not making the decisions, the community does. If you got a good idea and can drum up 10 votes there must be something to your idea.”
Later, other services (Friendfeed if Iain listen’s to the community once again) will be added. Other, more radical, features are currently under wraps but promise to dramatically increase the uptake of TweetDeck and give the users more control on the included functionality.
Iain has a fulltime job pumping out new features and maintaining the Tweetdeck community. So, where is he getting his money? “Actually it is totally self-funded right now which makes him extremely gratefull for spontanious user donations “It’s fantastic when people donate and some of them even donate more than once. Tweetdeck is really community-driven and community-funded”. And what about funding or other business models? “There is future, but I really can’t talk about it right now. But I promise I get back to you on that”.