Twitter’s long-ignored social media dashboard app, TweetDeck for Mac, will be shutting down on July 1. The company informed users of the Mac app of its impending closure via a banner that appears at the top of the screen upon launch. The message also suggests users can continue to use TweetDeck via the web going forward.
The company additionally confirmed the shutdown via its TweetDeck Twitter account, where it noted that the updated version of TweetDeck on the web will offer more invites to users who want to try the Preview of the new web experience over the next few months.
Acquired by Twitter in 2011 for just $40 million, Twitter never really developed TweetDeck to its full potential. It bought the service at a time when rival UberMedia was snatching up social media market share by buying up apps like Echofon, UberTwitter and Mixx. Twitter saw this as a competitive threat and largely bought TweetDeck just to keep it out of UberMedia’s hands, not because it was devoted to the product. It outbid UberMedia in order to win the deal, bringing the app in-house.
But its inattention to the product was clear. Years went by without significant development — despite having a small, but fairly passionate user base who had even said they would be willing to pay for a premium version of the app.
For a company that’s struggled to generate revenue outside of advertising, it’s a wonder why Twitter never took up its most devoted power users on that offer.
Instead, it shut down TweetDeck’s mobile client in 2013, then discontinued its Windows support in 2016. It seemed the writing was on the wall for the end of its Mac app, as well, particularly after the company decided to shut down its own Twitter for Mac native app in 2018, which later returned only as a Mac Catalyst app — a way to bring iPad apps to the Mac using Apple developer tools.
Reached for comment, Twitter declined to share more about its reasoning behind its decision to shutter TweetDeck for Mac. A spokesperson only pointed us back to its tweet, which references the web version, adding that the current focus is “on making TweetDeck even better and testing our new Preview.”
TweetDeck’s Preview version is currently testing with a limited number of people in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, per its website, and aims to offer more Twitter.com features, including a full Tweet Composer, Advanced search features, new column types and “Decks” — a new way to group columns into workspaces.
Although Twitter isn’t fully ending support for TweetDeck, given that it will live on as a web app, many users prefer a native experience. Based on the comments now circulating on Twitter about the shutdown, both in the replies to Twitter’s announcement and elsewhere, many are unhappy with this decision. Several aren’t fans of the web app, either, complaining it’s too slow, has a poor user interface, lacks threads, has wasted space and more.
While there are plenty of lists of TweetDeck alternatives available if you search, often the lists simply point users to broader social media management platforms designed for professionals, like Hootsuite, Buffer or Sprout Social, or to third-party Twitter apps, like Tweetbot or Echofon. Few alternatives aim to truly compete with TweetDeck, beyond something like Tweeten, whose design and functionality are based on TweetDeck. (Something tells us it’s about to get an influx of new users.)
It’s a shame that a product like TweetDeck has been neglected for so long. It’s odd, too. Twitter, as a company, has been inspired to develop many of its core features over the years — like hashtags, threads, retweets and more — based on how people were already using its product. But when a core group of Twitter’s most-active users demanded and even pleaded to pay for TweetDeck, those cries were ignored. That speaks to some of the disorder around Twitter’s product development decisions that have plagued the company over the years. While Twitter had a history of productizing some of its users’ ideas, others were routinely ignored — like the long-requested Edit button or a better verification system.
In recent months, Twitter has been developing a flurry of new products, including a set of creator tools (Super Follows), a subscription product for power users (Twitter Blue), newsletters (Revue), NFT avatars, in-app tipping, live audio (Twitter Spaces) and more. But there’s also been some criticism that these efforts, which are focused on finding new ways to drive platform revenue, have distracted the company from more critical work that needs to be done, like tackling misinformation.
Arguably, they’ve distracted Twitter from work that could have driven revenue, too — if TweetDeck’s users’ pleas are to be believed.
That could still change, however. There are some hints that Twitter may begin to charge for TweetDeck through its Twitter Blue subscription. But it’s unclear how many users will take up Twitter on the offer, when all that’s left of TweetDeck is the web version.