Up until a few years ago, I used to feel good when sharing Twitter links. Compared to the other handful of websites that now make up our entire lives, it was the best option:
- Not a walled garden like Facebook or Instagram where you either don’t see any content at all or are bombarded with “sign up to continue” popups after scrolling down more than ten pixels.
- Not horribly confusing and overwhelming for people that don’t use it regularly like Reddit, be it the old or the bad design.
- Mostly clean and straightforward links.
None of that is true anymore. As a user that isn’t logged in you’re now bombarded with the same engagement nonsense as anywhere else.
Even if logged in, they’re so desperate for increasing engagement that UI clarity suffers, for example when “Related Tweets” will be shown in a way that makes them look like they belong to a thread.
And since a few weeks (for me, seems to be rolled out in stages) there’s some weird, random new tracking parameter when sharing links to tweets. Now I have to make an effort to share clean links, or rely on additional tools that automatically remove tracking garbage from URLs in my clipboard.
As a year-long Twitter user who’s always logged in on all devices, I didn’t really consciously notice how things deteriorated over time. But thanks to the fresh hell that every damn iOS app has its own integrated “browser”1, even despite already having an account I now often see what Twitter unleashes on people not willing to succumb to their pleas for signing up.
Sometimes that is actually preferable, but I still think that overall it’s quite the indictment on how much iOS still sucks for multitasking that just opening a link is so much more cumbersome and interrupting than it is on a desktop. It’s ridiculous how many high-profile apps have a dedicated setting for where you want links to open. Some (Apollo, a great app!) even have specific options for links to specific sites. ↩︎