Today Twitter cut millions of mobile users off without warning

UPDATE: Late Sunday, over 48 hours after the apps were updated at Twitter’s request, Twitter finally allowed them to reconnect again. Why the ridiculously long delay? No word from Twitter on that yet.

Guess what? Twitter didn’t have to turn off the Twitter apps for millions of users by childishly pulling the plug on UberTwitter (now renamed UberSocial) and Twidroyd.

Did. Not. Have. To.

But they did. Am I surprised? Not in the least. And then Twitter followed up by delaying for many hours the reactivation of those apps for users. The minor issues with the apps that caused Twitter to turn them off—throwing users into a panic—were fixed quickly, as this tweet points out. Yet Twitter did not restore them, still has not restored them.

While these actions look like disdain for users, I know it’s just corporate immaturity on Twitter’s part. Twitter has a track record of acting first, thinking later—and breaking things. They had options besides disconnecting users without warning, of course. They could have tweeted a public warning, for example. (Heard of Tweets, Twitter? They’re these cool short messages that are good for keeping people in the loop on important news.)

Don’t hold users for ransom, Twitter!

My gosh, just as the headlines are all about how Twitter mobile users are facilitating revolutions, Twitter cuts millions of mobile users off from their connection to Twitter. (See, for example, from just a few hours before Twitter made its foolish move, “Twitter used to report Bahrain violence, injuries in real time.” Unless Twitter deletes your app, of course.)

Not only that, just before doing so, the @Twitter account tweeted about official mobile apps, and then just after cutting users off, the @Support account tweeted this ransom-note sounding tweet:

“Want to keep using Twitter on your phone? Download an official Twitter client here…”

It almost reads like “Want to keep using Twitter on your phone? Send 1 million dollars in unmarked bills to Twitter, Inc….” In fact, to users of those suspended apps, Twitter’s tweets looked very ominous. No I don’t think these two tweets, trying to get users off of non-Twitter-made apps was accidental. But I believe Twitter can and will do a lot better.

Twitter people care. Twitter, the company, does not

Plenty of wonderful people at Twitter care. And other wonderful people at Twitter have a vision of what Twitter can do for the world. But  Twitter overall is immature as a company, can’t control its own bureaucracy, and isn’t user-centric…yet. Love Twitter? Love its users? Lots of us do. But Twitter, as a company, does not yet.

But they will. I believe that the people that care will take the reins eventually, change the culture, fix the system, let employees help users. I love Twitter. I would love to be able to trust Twitter, the company with this wonderful service that I love.

The first thing to fix? Tech support

Of course, users shouldn’t take it personally! Twitter is equally indifferent and immature in dealing with their community of developers. In fact, by cutting off applications for which Twitter offers alternatives and then promoting those alternatives, Twitter is saying—yet again—that it doesn’t care about its community of developers either. That’s right—build something to help Twitter users and Twitter can remove it without warning. Which wouldn’t be so bad if Twitter actually supported their own interface well.

The first sign Twitter is growing up will be when their tech support people actually read the problems people submit. Even when I get multiple personal responses back for tickets I submit, I find none of the Twitter support personnel have actually read my request. They just scan for keywords that they can then link me to a hopefully relevant support article. And of course as many users report, getting any reply at all from Twitter support is often not in the cards.

When will Twitter start caring about its loyal users?

As venture capitalist Mark Suster said today, on his blog and earlier on Quora:

“Twitter, I’m a friend. I love you, man. Please try to play nicer. I writing as a friend. I come in peace. I use you every day. I use you more than email now. I hate email, by the way.
…as a user of a product Twitter chose to punish. It sure would have been nicer on your users if you issued a public warning and had given them 72 hours to respond. Who you fucked was me. Your loyal user.”

Latest news and updates

The list below updates every 20 seconds with the latest news from the app makers that Twitter cut off today:

The #FailWhale has a lot of explaining to do

As this tweet pointed out, this is what a lot of us would like to hear from Twitter after today:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>