Apple’s gone all in with third-party social integration in Mountain Lion. Facebook integration is due out in the fall, and Twitter is already system wide in OS X 10.8. Problem is, Twitter integration in Notification Center has a lot of potential, but it seems to miss a lot of it in its current state.
There have been plenty of reports that Twitter is looking to kill off third-party Twitter applications, and on the surface that incites a lot of hostility from the hardcore Twitter crowd. But spending five minutes with Notification Center’s Twitter integration reveals that deeper integration with operating systems could easily remove a lot of the need for third party applications for most.
Twitter notices in Notification Center could easily replace a large chunk of time I spend in Tweetbot for the Mac. That said, there are three things Apple needs to do to make it more useful to the average customer.
Whether you have notifications popping up in the traditional Growl method, or you have banners turned on, Apple removes the notification from Notification Center the moment you click on a pop-up notice. Clicking the pop-up notice takes you to the Twitter website and forces you to log in to access what you’re trying to read. Kinda pointless.
Apple needs to either keep the notifications in Notification Center, or redirect me to my Twitter application of choice, much like it does for URLs and your favorite web browser in OS X. As it stands, it makes little sense to redirect me to a website that I never actually use.
This leads me to my next point…
If I can see Tweets in Notification Center, and I can send random tweets from Notification Center, why can I not reply to or direct message friends from a notification entry in Notification Center? Having to read a partial tweet in Notification Center, open the website, then reply is not ideal. Frankly, it’s wasting my time. I don’t take kindly to services wasting my time.
Tweets have a maximum of 140 characters. Notification Center only shows approximately 56 characters of a Tweet. Kind of pointless, no? I’m not sure where to place the blame for this one, or for most of these complaints. Is Apple simply misunderstanding what people want out of these Twitter notifications, or is Twitter so deeply self-involved that they forget that third-party clients built the network from nothing into something? Is Twitter just a little bit worried that OS X integration could stymie people from hitting their website? It’s likely.
In Messages for iOS, you can simply add an image from your photo library before sending a text message or iMessage. Most Twitter applications have this kind of stuff built right into the application as well. I’d love to see Apple add the ability to add images from either iPhoto or Aperture to my tweets. The company, either Twitter or Apple (again, it’s difficult to know who to blame these days), has no problem letting me attach my location to a Tweet, but I can’t add an image? Doesn’t really make much sense at this point.
Only a couple of days into my Mountain Lion experience revealed that I could easily replace a majority of my third-party Twitter client usage with Apple’s Notification Center client. There are still some kinks that need to be worked out, but if Apple and Twitter are serious about making Twitter a service to be relied on, it shouldn’t be too difficult to replace most third-party applications with deep operating system integration in OS X. I’m kind of excited to get simple Twitter integration around OS X. If these aforementioned things get addressed, OS X is going to lower distractions, increase my productivity, and make it easier for me to reply to direct messages and at-replies than any other third-party can at this point.
The less time I spend bouncing around various email, instant messaging, and Twitter applications to communicate, the more time I have to actually do things. I like doing things.