Twitter is actively working on a “big overhaul” of its TweetDeck platform, which lets you arrange lists and feeds into easy-to-read vertical rows, and it plans to share more about the project publicly later this year, product chief Kayvon Beykpour said in an interview with The Verge published Tuesday.
TweetDeck, as one of the oldest and originally third-party account management apps for the platform, hasn’t seen much in the way of design or major feature changes in years. The app launched 12 years ago and was acquired by Twitter in 2011, and it’s more or less still the same column viewer for your various Twitter feeds it started as. Mostly, Twitter has ported over new functions added to its main website and mobile apps while keeping the core TweetDeck design relatively static.
That appears to be changing. Beykpour and the product team recognize they haven’t “given TweetDeck a lot of love recently,” and they’re actively working on a new TweetDeck they plan to show off later this year. It’s part of a broader push to improve Twitter’s developer tools and repair its relationship with app makers, with the latter being a longtime contention between Twitter and the broader software development community. (Beykpour’s answer doesn’t specify whether the new TweetDeck will be released this year or simply previewed for the public.)
Here’s Beykpour’s full response regarding TweetDeck:
Nilay Patel: The Verge’s newsroom runs on TweetDeck.
Beykpour: Totally. And we haven’t given TweetDeck a lot of love recently. That’s about to change; we’ve been working on a pretty big overhaul from the ground up of TweetDeck, and it’s something that we’re excited to share publicly sometime this year. And so that’s just an example of a Twitter-owned and operated service that we will continue investing in. We also, over the last five years, I think, haven’t given a lot of love to our developer ecosystem. A bunch of reasons for that, some missteps that we’d taken in the past, then also sort of prioritization. We are also changing that; in the last year and a half we’ve really stepped up both our commitment and follow-through on just innovating around the API again, getting the API back to parity from our own internal APIs that we use to build functionality.
I think we’ve got a lot of trust to earn back with developers, since we’ve made a lot of mistakes in the past, but it’s something that we’re actively investing in. We hope we’ll allow developers to build really awesome stuff around the Twitter ecosystem. One of the reasons why Twitter is where it is today is because of developers doing cool shit that we would’ve never thought to do. And so that’s something that we’re trying to do more of, not step away from. More to come on that as well.
It’s not clear whether this new TweetDeck would feature a refreshed visual design, all-new features, or both. It’s also up for debate whether Twitter plans to eventually charge money for TweetDeck; a Bloomberg report last month said the company was mulling over a premium version of TweetDeck it could attach a subscription fee to.
Whatever form the new app takes, it will be a breath of fresh air for TweetDeck’s longtime users (myself included) who would like, at the very least, a fresh coat of paint.