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Third-party party Twitter apps, like Twitterrific, Tweetbot, and Fenix, have gotten quite popular. But these apps can never surpass the official app, because Twitter doesn’t allow third-party apps to have more than 100,000 users.
That’s not the only bad thing about third-party Twitter apps. Many of Twitter’s newest features introduced just aren’t available outside of the official app. Read on to find out what you’ll lose if you intend to use one of these apps as your primary Twitter client.
1. Twitter Polls
In 2015, Twitter introduced polls. The feature is simple: just click the poll button when creating a new tweet and type in your options. Users can also pick how long their poll should last, from one hour all the way up to a week. Viewers of the poll cast their votes privately, and people can’t see the results until they’ve cast the vote (which makes it a little controversial, since some may randomly click on an option to see what the results are).
Either way, there’s no support for Twitter polls on any third-party party Twitter app to date. Poll tweets are just seen as regular tweets in these clients, with the poll options missing. This tends to create confusion, which is why users have resorted to marking these kinds of tweets with a [Poll] notifier.
2. Group Direct Messages
Twitter may not be positioned as an instant messaging service, but over the years, direct messages (DMs) have received some solid features, like read receipts. In 2015, private conversations between more than two people were made possible with group DMs. Like most instant messengers, you start a new conversation, add multiple users, and a group DM is initiated.
On third-party Twitter clients, you can have one-on-one conversations, but you can’t have group conversations. If you’ve initiated a group DM using the official Twitter app or via the web, those won’t appear in the conversation list of other clients.
3. Twitter Moments
Twitter Moments is a feature that lets users curate multiple tweets that can be viewed in an easy-to-swipe interface.
It’s similar to the “Stories” feature on apps like Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and other networks. You can create a Moment by including tweets of your own and from other accounts too. Typically, this feature is used to collate tweets of a particular event — for example, this Twitter Moment is about the Indian PM’s unconventional bear hug at the White House.
Twitter Moments can be created by swiping to the side menu in the official app. Although it’s not a widely used feature, there’s no way to create Twitter Moments using third-party Twitter apps. In the official Twitter app, a shared Moment on the timeline shows its cover photo and title. On other clients, all you see is a link that either opens the Moment in the web browser or the official Twitter app, if it’s installed.
4. Live Streaming Video
Twitter acquired live-streaming service Periscope even before it launched in 2015. Although a standalone Periscope app exists, the live streaming functionality was added to the official Twitter app a year later. Live streaming has become a popular feature in social networks like Facebook that lets people share what they see as it happens. Live video is unedited and unfiltered and is used to stream interesting events.
Although third-party apps allow for attaching photos, videos, and GIFs to a tweet, you can’t start a live stream using those apps. On the official Twitter app, there’s a “Live” button when creating a new tweet that starts the live stream.
Can Third-Party Twitter Clients Stand Alone?
As you can see, Twitter’s approach to third-party apps isn’t entirely fair. It is disappointing that third-party apps don’t get access to features, some of which have been around for a long time. It’s also disappointing because people pay for some of these third-party apps only to face an inconsistent experience.
It’s necessary for many people to keep the official Twitter app installed, even if they don’t use it as their go-to Twitter app.
Do you miss the above features on your favorite third-party Twitter client? Have I missed anything else that’s exclusively available in the official app? Let us know in the comments below.