Reports circulated last week that Twitter is in the process of building a set of enhanced features for Tweetdeck, the “power user” publishing and management tool it bought a few years ago, that would add a paid tier to the free product. Those features include a dashboard offering insights on trending topics as well as analytics for people to view how their Tweets are performing.
This kind of additional feature set makes a lot of sense for Tweetdeck. If you’re not familiar with it, Tweetdeck is for serious usage of Twitter, already allowing for easy List management and viewing as well as the creation of columns tracking hashtag or keyword searches. This isn’t for the casual user, it’s for people who are managing multiple accounts, tracking different Lists of people they’re following and so on. It’s heavily used by social media brand managers and others who need to make sure they’re getting as much out of Twitter as possible.
So it makes a lot of sense that there would be a group of people just chomping at the bit to open their wallets (or those of their agencies/companies) to get access to these features, which are designed to make everyone’s lives easier. The problem is that these features are coming a bit late in the game to be truly differentiating. Many of the things listed in the set of upcoming potential additions are already available in similar tools like Hootsuite and others. These aren’t wholly new offerings that can keep Tweetdeck users plugged in and active.
Seven years ago, before Twitter introduced its own native analytics, when Twitter reporting was still largely the purview of just a couple third party tools, social media managers would have fallen over themselves to pay for the kind of features that are reported to be coming soon to Tweetdeck. But now we’re in a world where these kinds of numbers are widely available through other systems, many of which are already being paid for. We’re also at a place where Twitter is under more fire (sometimes self-inflicted) than ever before. Every six months there’s another round of “will Twitter survive/who will buy it” press speculation, casting the company’s future as being ever in doubt.
The key differentiating value proposition here is that people would be able to manage even more from within the single Tweetdeck dashboard/interface. That’s attractive, sure, but it also mimics functionality that is still already available elsewhere. But for those who aren’t already Tweetdeck aficionados there’s little here to make them consider a switchover.
Finally, this seems like the kind of thing a developer community – the kind Twitter used to have and cultivate until several years ago – would have built on their own. But that community isn’t anywhere what it once was because Twitter decided to essentially shut it down, exerting control over the API and making sure that the product was controlled more tightly since it impacted ad buying and display.
These enhanced features are still in the planning stages, so it remains to be seen what they’ll wind up looking like when they are officially rolled out. The one thing that seems certain is that this is the type of feature set that is at least six or seven years late, at least from the perspective of those for whom Tweetdeck is an essential part of their daily engagement, monitoring and publishing routine.