My moan about the latest build of Seesmic Desktop yesterday got me thinking about what it is that I need from the perfect Twitter client.
The biggest problem is the things that I like and want – and, conversely, all that stuff I don’t need or want to see – might be at a complete polar opposite to the rest of that application’s userbase. It’s impossible to please all of the people all of the time, but if pleasing most of the people means pissing me off, any software development team would be insane to do what I want at the expense of everybody else.
But then it hit me: plugins.
Those of you who blog and have spent a little time fooling around with WordPress will be well-versed in the multitude of plugins that are available for the publishing application. There are plugins for almost everything, from comment and spam management to analytical tools and database backups. Add-ons have been huge on Firefox, too.
Wouldn’t it be great if somebody developed a pretty basic Twitter client that you could configure exactly how you liked by downloading and implementing any of a series of plugins?
For example, I’d like to see plugins for:
- Backing up, and being able to restore my profile and all of my tweets (including the metadata)
- Analytics: it would be nice to see things like which users retweet my posts the most, who I retweet the most, who I reply to the most (and the other way around), all within the app
- A way to edit my tweets
- Tweet scheduling
- Spam filters
- Keyword filters
- An improved direct message system
- A variation on Facebook’s suggestions system, that alerted you to when people who you used to communicate with regularly have dropped off the radar
And so on. Not everything here is important to everybody, but that’s kind of the point. If you wanted, you could just stay with the stripped-down, basic build of the client, maybe just adding the one or two plugins that you wanted. Other people could (and would) add dozens.
And yes, some apps and websites already do some of these things, but if you could download and action everything YOU wanted via plugins, you’d never have to go anywhere else.
Believe me: the first company that comes up with something like this – particularly if they get Twitter on board and build a community around open-source plugins – is on to a huge, huge slice of win. I mean, Twitter exactly how YOU want it – what’s not to like?