Archive for December, 2012

Suggestions for a Better Tweetbot

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I need to start this post with a disclaimer. I’ve tried a lot of different Twitter apps. Some have features that others don’t. Many lack features that others have. The absolute best iOS Twitter app out there that does what I need it to is Tweetbot, without question. It’s a wonderful app, but it could be better. In this post, I’m going to list areas needing improvement. If your preferred app has any or all of these features, great. I’m not going anywhere. This is simply a call to the creators of Tweetbot to hopefully consider some of these tweaks in a future update. I don’t know the first thing about creating smartphone apps, so I’m sure there’s way more to it than what I realize. This is simply user feedback. So, without further ado, let’s begin.

1. Better RT counter

When scrolling through my timeline, I’ll often come across a tweet that I just know has caught fire. Luckily, Tweetbot has a feature that allows you view the number of RTs on a given tweet as well as who the RTers are. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work. Below is a screen cap displaying RTs of the most RT’d tweet in Twitter history, President Obama’s “Four more years.

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Oh, 93 RTs, you say? Uhh, no. How about 817,000+. I want to be able to see this detail. For whatever reason, Tweetbot caps its RT counter off in the high 80s/low 90s. Popular Twitter accounts often blow past those numbers within minutes. Now that Twitter has added accurate RT counts to the detailed view on any tweet, Tweetbot needs to follow suit.

2. A counter for Favorites

Similar to the RT counter, another tweet metric I often like to check is the Favorites count. Tweetbot offers a “View in Favstar” option, but again, it doesn’t work. I’ll use the same Obama tweet for this example.

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Just a tad off on the Favorites count there, Tweetbot. The true count is 300,000+ Favorites. The “View in Favstar” option isn’t even a work-around to get an accurate RT count, as you can see. I want to be able to see accurate Favorite counts, and I want to have the ability to do it natively within the app, not through some third-party site.

3. Added feature for push notifications for specific accounts

I consider myself a power Twitter user. I do check my timeline quite often, but there is certain news that I just can’t receive quickly enough. This time of year, it’s NFL news. I want to know breaking NFL news the second that it happens. Twitter gets information out quickly, but only as often as you check your timeline. There are certain accounts that tweet vital, need-to-know information, and I’d love the ability to receive tweets from specific users via push notifications. As a current work-around, I am SMS subscribed to the following three accounts: @AdamSchefter, @MatthewBerryTMR, and @Deadspin. These three accounts pretty much cover every sports angle as it happens. Receiving their tweets via text message does the job, but it would be nice to cut out that step and receive push Tweetbot notifications of new tweets from desired accounts.

4. Auto-capitalize the first letter of @replies

I’m as conscientious of grammar/spelling/punctuation as they come, and I’m no different on Twitter. I pore over every tweet before sending to be sure and catch any errors. When composing a new tweet on Tweetbot, the first letter is automatically capitalized for you. However, when replying to a tweet, it is not. This is a minor annoyance, but it would save a step for grammar freaks like myself.

5. Auto-complete Twitter handles when composing a DM

I follow plenty of accounts, so I don’t have everyone’s handle memorized. The auto-complete feature when comping a new tweet or @reply is a life-saver, but for some reason, there is no auto-complete when composing a DM. This would be nice to have.

6. Allow push notifications to go through while you’re in the middle of composing tweet

Tweetbot’s push notifications for RTs, Favorites, and @replies are lightning fast, but for some reason, they don’t go through when you’re in the middle of composing a tweet. Any incoming push notification when you’re composing a new tweet gets stuck, then the minute you submit your tweet or cancel out, the notifications finally go through all at once. Again, a minor annoyance here, but I’m often late in conversation threads because of this. If someone replies while I’m in the middle of my reply, I won’t see it until after I’ve submitted my tweet. I’d like to be certain that I’m replying to the most recent tweet in the conversation thread.

7.  Allow a default recipient in the “E-mail Tweet” option

Whenever I see a tweet that I want to read or refer back to later, I e-mail it to myself. My e-mail inbox is my to-do list. Some people use the Favorite button for this, but I prefer to only Favorite tweets a) that I think are funny/interesting, or b) to acknowledge that I saw and enjoyed a tweet, but don’t necessarily have a reply to. So anyway, I e-mail myself a lot of tweets throughout the course of a day. It’s a handy option, but I have to manually type in my e-mail address in order to send a tweet to myself. Tweetbot needs to add a “Default Recipient” option to save users this step. Back in my BlackBerry days, my Twitter app of choice (UberSocial) had this feature, which I loved. I do e-mail tweets to others on occasion, but 99% are to myself.

8. Improved “Copy Tweet” function

Whenever I see an interesting tweet, I’ll often copy it and text it to friends who don’t have Twitter. Tweetbot has a “Copy Tweet” feature, but it isn’t good. All it does is copy plain text from the body of the tweet. It doesn’t include the handle of the original tweeter, a time stamp, nor the tweet’s URL. UberSocial included all of this detail with their “Copy Tweet” function, so it would be nice if Tweetbot added the same.

I could create a list twice this size of all the things I love about Tweetbot, but that wouldn’t help in making it better. The developers behind Tweetbot are constantly pushing out tweaks/updates to this fantastic app, so I’m confident we’ll be seeing some of these features (and more) in future releases. Here’s to hoping they come sooner rather than later.

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Thursday Night Football is Awful, and the NFL Should Get Rid of It

serious-funWith the Bengals taking care of the Eagles 34-13 to kick off Week 15 of the 2012 season, Thursday Night Football (TNF) has finally come to a close. Back in September, I wrote a blog post with a hunch that TNF, for a variety of reasons, was going to suck this year. Now that we have 13 TNF games under our belts (Weeks 2 – 15, with the exception of the Thanksgiving games in Week 12, which were aired on CBS/FOX/NBC), I decided to take a look back at the games and see how they stacked up.

To determine the quality of TNF games this year, I looked at a couple things: 1) The records/scoring output of each TNF team, and 2) QB performance. Since the NFL has become a passing league, I figured this would be the easiest and best way to determine how efficient teams were on offense, and in turn, how exciting the games may or may not have been to watch.

I started by creating a spreadsheet to dump all relevant stats into. You can check it out here if you’d like. I listed every TNF matchup, the final score, and the QB stats for both the winning and losing teams. In games where multiple QBs saw action, I simply ignored the backup and focused on the starter. I then compared these TNF performances to each QB’s season averages. Since showing you a spreadsheet with a bunch of numbers scattered around wouldn’t tell you much, I did some analysis and picked out a handful of stats that I found quite telling. Like I said, I had a hunch that these TNF games were going to be bad, but honestly, I didn’t expect this.

  • The combined Win-Loss records for teams heading into their respective TNF matchups this year was 83-91.
  • There was only one TNF matchup out of the 13 in which both teams entered the game with a winning record (SEA @ SF in Week 7, which turned out to be the lowest scoring TNF game all year. San Francisco won 13-6).
  • The average margin of victory in TNF games this year was 13.5 points.
  • Only 31% of the games on TNF this year were one-possession games. 69% of the games were double-digit victories.
  • 54% of the winning teams on TNF this year scored below their respective season averages.
  • 77% of the quarterbacks who played on Thursday Night Football posted a QB rating lower than their QB rating for the season. And we’re not talking barely lower, by the way. We’re talking an average of 22 points lower. Horrendous QB play on TNF this year.
  • A grand total of 22 touchdown passes were thrown on Thursday Night Football this year. Compare that to 30 interceptions. In 13 games. Remember, these are totals. 13 games x 2 QBs per game = 26 total QBs. TNF QBs averaged less than a TD per game this year, and more than one INT. That’s insane.
  • Only four QBs (Bradford, Freeman, Rivers, Palmer) posted multi-TD games this year on TNF. That means that 85% of the QBs appearing on TNF this year threw zero or one TD.
  • Over half (58%) of QBs appearing on TNF threw for fewer yards than their season average. An average of 60 yards fewer, to be exact.

So what does all this mean? Ratings must have been horrible, right? Well, I’m not so sure about that, but I do know that I personally watched 100% of these games. Why? Because I’m addicted to the NFL. No matter how bad the matchup is or what day it’s on, I’m going to watch.

Who are the winners and losers in regards to Thursday Night Football? The only winner is the NFL, assuming the ratings were where they wanted them. The losers? The fans. The teams. The players. Literally every other party involved got totally shafted with Thursday Night Football this year. Players are not rested enough come Thursday, teams are not prepared, and the result is the steaming pile of crap that we were forced to endure every week. TNF is a total money grab.

The NFL needs to do away with Thursday Night Football. If they cared about the quality of the product they’re putting out (and more importantly, the health of their players), they’d get rid of TNF or AT LEAST trim it back to the late-season start like it used to be. I didn’t mind TNF in years prior when the games didn’t start up until Week 10; that was like finding money in your pocket. Instead, they hit us with Thursday games right out of the gate, which I believe diluted the overall viewing experience.

I love the NFL as much as the next person, but in regards to Thursday Night Football, there can be too much of a good thing. Get rid of it.