This article was published on March 30, 2008

Stop making useless Twitter apps, please

Stop making useless Twitter apps, please
Ernst-Jan Pfauth
Story by

Ernst-Jan Pfauth

Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He a Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He also served as The Next Web’s blog’s first blogger and Editor in Chief, back in 2008. At De Correspondent, Ernst-Jan serves as publisher, fostering the expansion of the platform.

Ok, I admit, I’m not really good in keeping track of my Twitter feeds. My following list consists of only 116 people, yet I feel like I’m missing a whole bunch of stuff. For example, I’ve been following this guy who posts an update once a day about what good movie will be broad casted on Dutch television. Yet I’ve never, ever, seen one of his updates. Same goes for some of my friends, I’d love to know what they’re up to, but when I want to find out, I’ll have to check all their personal pages. That’s a lot of work on a busy day.

For a Good time Twitter meOn the other hand, services like Twitterific drive me crazy. Since I don’t want a distraction moment every 5 seconds. So what I’ve been doing is gathering the RSS feeds of the people who are closest to my heart or professional interest to merge their feeds with Yahoo Pipes. Pretty ok as an temporary solution, but I’m still waiting for something better to come along.

I think I’m not the only one with this ‘problem’, as everybody has a limited attention span. So I figured I might write a post about this tool I saw on Killerstartups: Tweet Peek. It promises that you can group your Twitter contacts. Some examples:

  • your company – updates from your office
  • your industry -updates from your colleagues
  • your community – updates from your friends

From the description Killerstartups gave, I expected to just join the service, mark the friends I want to gather in a group and paste a widget on my blog. But this turned out to be a wrong expectation. Tweet Peek does nothing more than just importing the tweeds of an account, so there’s no actual grouping involved. After a quick Google Blogsearch, I found some sort of manual:

  • Create a Twitter account for the entity.
  • Follow the folks whom you would like to participate in the flow of the conversation.
  • Head over to Tweetpeek and tell it the name of the Twitter account you created.

Hey! That’s cheating! The actual grouping is done on Twitter, by myself. If I wanted to that, I could easily grab the RSS feed of that Twitter account. I don’t need some fancy-designed app to show me the result of that Twitter account. Moreover, I think creating new accounts is a hideous way to group youe friends. It just makes a mess of the Twittersphere.

Sure, Twitter is service that just begs for expansion by overlay-services. And there are some great examples like Twitterfic (not for me though), Twittermail, parts of Remember The Milk and Twitterfeed. But please, stop making useless apps that don’t add any functionality. Instead of that, focus on developing a service that really groups your Twitter contacts.

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