Last night, a couple of hours before the debate, all of a sudden Twitter was radically transformed on my iPad. Previously it had appeared exactly as if I were accessing it on my desktop or laptop. This is as it should be, because the iPad has a full-size screen. And the compromises that designers make for “mobile” websites tend to fit much smaller screens, like an iPhone or Android smartphone.
One might argue that this design is better than the full Twitter website, but that’s unimportant, because no one asked me if I wanted a radical change, especially at a time like this — just before a historic matchup that was going to be followed by all my friends on Twitter, in real-time, in a couple of hours.
There was no way around it, and no time to get adjusted. I didn’t know how to use this interface. I’d click on things and get unpredictable responses from the software. All of a sudden, software that I had mastered was foreign to me. I had become a newbie, in an instant, because of a bug, or some product committee at Twitter, or perhaps the CEO of the company. Someone decided that I would have to adjust, right now, with no warning, and no choice.
This is an awful way to do this. And it’s even worse than the way Twitter treats developers (I know, since I am a developer as well as a user).
The bright side is that I realize that I am addicted to Twitter, and the feelings I have about this are the same feelings I had when I was forced to quit smoking a few years ago. My skin feels itchy. My mind can’t focus. I keep thinking “Just one more tweet, one more, and I’ll be fine.”
So I suppose I have to thank the folks at Twitter for helping me see how hopelessly addicted I am. And maybe, instead of making peace with this awful interface, I’ll use it as a way to remind myself that this is not good. As if perhaps someone had replaced my Marlboro Lights with a menthol cigarette like Kool or Salem. Yuck. Tastes bad. Oh that’s right this isn’t good for me. Maybe it’s time to quit?
BTW, the debate was excellent. I thought the President was fantastic. He told Romney that his bullshit is bullshit. Which made Romney nervous and he said some things he probably wishes he hadn’t said. Finally someone stood up to the bully. Had I been able to tweet effectively this is basically what I would have said.