Twitter for iPhone. Umm… what happened?

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Any student of social media who wants a good thesis topic in their Masters of Communications class shouldn’t look much further than the strange recent plight of Twitter for iPhone.

This was, hands down, the best Twitter app in the App Store: free, fast, full of great features and updated fairly regularly. Then, without any warning, an innocuous update to the app introduced the Quick Bar – a feature that showed promoted (read: paid) and trending topics - which was quickly given a derisive and insulting name by those who didn’t like it. And some of the best extras of the app were removed, like bit.ly support. Adding insult to injury, the app suddenly got a lot less stable and begun crashing with regularity.

These changes to their iPhone app had some immediate impacts. For me, it sent me to using HootSuite full time for all my Twitter needs instead of splitting my time between apps. I was no fan of the Quick Bar and not happy about some of the other features taken out of the app.

But more importantly, the changes resulted in a good (if unfortunate) example of how small changes in an app (even a free app) can result in mass outrage amongst your user base and undermine your online reputation and result in what I can only assume is a shrinking user base.

Do a Twitter search for “Twitter iPhone” or read the comments in the App Store. It’s pretty devastating stuff. Twitter for iPhone’s reputation is taking an absolute beating online.

Twitter’s update to the app late this week didn’t remove the QuickBar. Nor did it, judging from the chatter on the Interwebs, eliminate the crashing. And people are still unhappy.

The question is: Does Twitter care?

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