Hope You Weren’t Too Attached to Twitter Instant Messaging

    October 13, 2008
    Chris Crum

TwitterIt seems like Twitter is always acknowledging its shortcomings and apologizing for them. Some might take this as a weakness, but I tend to look at it admirably. Not many companies would be so straightforward when it comes to taking responsibility for their missteps. Twitter is all about communication though, so it only makes sense that when they’re having problems, they talk about them openly.

The latest such issue is with Twitter instant message functionality, which is being removed completely. After dealing with problem after problem with various aspects of this, Twitter has decided to just pull the plug on it (at least temporarily). In other words, they’ve moved it off of the "Things That are Broken list" and onto the "Things We Want to Build list," as Twitter Co-founder and CPO Evan Williams puts it. On the Twitter Status blog, he writes:

 We first killed AIM support after struggling for months to make it reliable (which was a side-project to trying to keep the service as a whole reliable). And our Jabber support has been up and down until about four-and-a-half months ago when it’s just been…down.

We’ve been unclear about its status and what to expect; I want to clarify that now.

First: I know a lot of people love this feature. I’ve heard personally from many folks who say it’s critical for their enjoyment of Twitter. So it kills me that we haven’t been able to deliver on this consistently. And the bad news is, we don’t have a quick fix.

Excla.imRather than continuing to deliver a flawed product, they’re not going to deliver the product at all until it’s flawless, from my understanding. In the meantime, Williams suggests using excia.im, a third-party application built using the Twitter API, that describes itself as "a jabber bot that allows you to update your twitter status very simply."

Corvida at Read Write Web notes, however that "Excla.im does not allow you to see your friends updates (yet)." Twitter is welcoming other third parties to roll out IM solutions, so I would imagine we’ll see more popping up before long.