The family of TweetDeck apps that made it easier to read and compose microblog posts passed away on Monday evening. It was just four years old.
The TweetDeck apps was born on July 4, 2008 to Iain Dodsworth, a former IT worker and father of two from the United Kingdom. The Adobe Air-based app quickly became popular with media professionals for its ease-of-use and relatively robust feature set, especially compared to Twitter's then-clunky website. TweetDeck's popularity surged even further with the release of an iPhone app in 2009 and an iPad app in 2010, when an Android app also made its way to the marketplace. Then, in May 2011, Twitter stunned the world by buying Twitter for an estimated $50 million. (Okay, it wasn't that stunning — it actually made total sense.) The deal made Dodsworth a multi-millionaire overnight.
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Twitter turned out to be a loving home for the TweetDeck apps, in the beginning at least. A little over six months after the acquisition, the San Francisco company released an impressive new suite of upgrades to the TweetDeck platform, including a new HTML5 web app that could run in a browser window. This is also when the TweetDeck apps started showing signs off illness. Rather than continue to upgrade the original Adobe Air-based versions, Twitter built a new app, one much like the generic Twitter app. The company continued to upgrade the apps, though TweetDeck devotees complained that the new versions didn't work as well. The Tweedeck fell ill, in a matter of speaking, with a condition that it would not recover from. It was a cancer, of sorts, a foreign presence that took hold of its code and never let go.
The family of TweetDeck apps is survived by the web-based version of TweetDeck and the Twitter apps. Its death comes as the company moves to "to focus our development efforts on our modern, web-based versions of TweetDeck." The Tweetdeck team assured its users that the service was not disappearing completely but rather continuing to grow on a new platform. Nevertheless, close friends of the old TweetDeck mourned the news of the apps' demise, some with measured rage. Others called the occasion "the beginning of the end." Commemorations were made. Tears were shed.
Nevertheless, the old Tweetdeck's legacy is eternal, as it lives on in our fond memories. Remember wistfully the days of creating many convenient columns, shortening links with a single click, managing multiple accounts with enviable ease and staring dangerously still at the flickering white text on that black background, eyes darting left and right, finger scrolling down the page, saliva pooling on your desktop.
Services will be held on Tuesday, March 5, when TweetDeck's devoted users will take to Twitter for a memorial service. Expressions of confusion, frustration and disappointment are welcome. Refreshments will be served.