Twitter seems to be in the midst of an evolution which involves both some deaths and rebirths. Beginning tomorrow, May 24, the social media company will no longer support its TV apps on Roku, Android TV, or Xbox. The company made the announcement on Tuesday, May 22, noting that users looking to get “the full Twitter experience” should turn to their mobile device or desktop instead. But as that door closes, Twitter is opening another, and has implemented a few updates to Twitter Lite and Twitter for Windows that allow these clients to support night mode, real-time updates on replies, likes, and retweets.
For the last several months, Twitter has been attempting to streamline the user experience, driving folks to fewer and fewer apps. Not so long ago, the company got rid of its stand-alone Mac client, and recently, Twitter moved toward new developer tools that could make it more difficult to use some other third-party apps. Ultimately, the goal seems to be to keep traffic contained to www.twitter.com, and the existing Android and iOS apps.
To be fair, these changes and app shutdowns likely aren’t affecting all that many people. The vast majority of the Twitterverse uses Twitter either on their phone or on their desktops via the web client, so Twitter probably isn’t expecting a huge backlash to accompany its announcements. That said, it’s unclear why the company is suddenly moving away from supporting a larger app ecosystem. After all, if someone is watching Twitter on their TV, it’s likely that he or she is a Twitter superfan.
The change is also a bit strange considering that Twitter has been growing its live-streaming video content in the last 12 months or so. Its television apps were initially seen as a technique to ensure that TV watchers were viewing live Twitter content using their preferred large-screen device. For example, when Twitter launched its Roku app just last year, it called the app a way for users to “watch live events and see what people are talking about, keeping them connected to what’s happening.” We can only assume that didn’t work out quite as planned.
In any case, you still have quite a few options when it comes to using Twitter. The company’s other TV apps — namely Twitter for tvOS and Twitter for Amazon Fire TV — are still around.
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