Times have changed; Twitterfall no longer shows trends

If you visit Twitterfall today (provided I haven’t had to roll back the change) you might notice something different. I’ve removed the Trending Topics from the left hand side.

Trends are actually what started Twitterfall. I wrote a lot of backend infrastructure to retrieve tweets from the Twitter Search API based on the trending topics and then push them out to users. Originally, Twitterfall didn’t even support custom searches, lists, logging in, or anything like that. The idea was people would use Twitterfall instead of hitting ‘Refresh’ repeatedly which was bringing down Twitter.

But that was when the Trending Topics were a bit more useful, and there were just less tweets in general so following a trending topic by reading every tweet was actually feasible. Now there’s no way of managing that!

So I’ve made the decision to remove them, and I doubt they will be missed.

Regarding the future of Twitterfall in general: It’s not going anywhere, but I struggle to find time to maintain it. I also feel it’s a bit of a waste of time nowadays, because Twitter have ceased caring about developers and want to make money instead. That’s fine; it’s a business, but that means investing time in developing something as low level as a Twitter client is a fools game. That said, I hope at some point in the future to:

  • Add support for Twitter photos, in particular viewing and attaching photos. The Twitter photo ecosystem battle is over; Twitter have won. I feel it’s safe to invest time in this.
  • Implement Site Streams on the backend to become a truly realtime client (in the style of Twitter for Mac). This is a massive job that I’ve barely wrapped my head around, but it would be awesome to manage this. I’m hopeful.
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  • Ben

    People like you made Twitter what it is today. Third party clients are not losing them money. You are wise to turn your back on them (just a little bit, anyway) because, and I hate to say this, but things will only get worse if they carry on with their current actions.

    Trending topics are useless now, you are right; but twitterfall definitely is not!

  • Do you publish the source for someone to fork or help update?

    • No, because the code is awful awful and I’d rather keep it closed source.

  • Jaz

    I’ve enjoyed my social media career since I discovered Twitterfall in Jan 2009. It has given me an edge in what I do. While I have made the decision to stop working and stay home as a full-time mom as of Jan 2012, I still hope that Twitterfall doesn’t go away. I still use it to monitor “stuff” 🙂 Thanks @jalada:disqus!