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Opinion: One Year Without Streaming on Twitter

Last year, Twitter decided that they were going to change their API, which is used by third-party Twitter apps and is essentially the rules that they must follow in order for their apps to be able see, view and use Twitter from an app that is not Twitter’s.

The changes that Twitter made to its API significantly limited and diminished third-party app functionality. We’re not talking things like not being able to send DMs. No. Instead, we’re talking about the fact that the third-party apps no longer have great features like streaming and on-time notifications.

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For those who do not know, I am an avid Twitter user and prefer to use Tweetbot on my iPhone, iPad and MacBook Pro. To me, the app looks better, has a timeline that is in chronological order by design and does not have pointless features like Twitter Moments or anything like that.


Yes, Tweetbot is a premium app that I have paid for multiple times. However, if you give in to the fact that it is an app that I use practically every single day, then you could see that an app costing $5-$20 does not sound that daunting to me. I think of it as like my iPhone’s bread and milk. It’s no longer an app that I can live without and makes me experience on Twitter so much better.

At the time of the Twitter API changes, I was also using Twitterrific on my iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Pro to help manager another company’s Twitter account, so yes, we were hurt by the loss of functionality in that app.

What really hurt me though was the loss of streaming.

Streaming in the case for Twitter, is not something like not being able to stream videos on their device or anything like that. What it means is that in the regular Twitter app, users have to swipe up in order for their timeline to refresh. Apps like Tweetbot and Twitterrific made it so that your timeline was always searching for new tweets, therefore, never had to be refreshed.

That feature was extremely beneficial to me when using Tweetbot for Mac on my MacBook Pro. In class, I could take notes for the class and then also still have Tweetbot open to see my timeline and what was going on in the world.


The loss of streaming has gone for a little over a year now and although on the iPhone and iPad end I have adjusted, I do still think that it hurts the Mac Twitter apps since I know people who used those third-party Twitter apps just for that streaming functionality.

In my experience with streaming, it came in handy while I was in class and wanted to make some tweets, was following an Apple or some other tech event and just that it made the experience better, not to mention that it had a feature that everyone around me (I felt) secretly wanted but did not know about or knew existed.

Now, Twitter’s TweetDeck app does still have streaming capabilities and you might think that it would be a good idea to switch to that. I don’t want to though since I still prefer the look functionality of Tweetbot, and the fact that I support third-party app developers. Over the years, they have been able to make my life so much better, so the best thing for me to do would be for me to help support them in their projects.

I do hope to see streaming come back to apps like Tweetbot and Twitterrific, but Twitter has shown that that is likely not going to happen, sadly.

Tweetbot is currently available in the App Store for $4.99 and $9.99 in the Mac App Store. Twitterrific is available in the App Store for free with in-app purchases. The Mac version of Twitterrific can be found in the Mac App Store for $7.99.

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