Monday, June 07, 2010

Need Twitter help

Bah.

I have enjoyed using Twitter both at home and while out playing poker. But I've hit a major snag that I can't resolve.

My phone is a crappy out-of-date thing, no question about that. Still, it's hardly the oldest piece of technology in use. It has a browser, but is really only happy with mobile-web optimized sites. That has been fine for Twitter; it connects to the mobile version of my home page, omits the photos and some of the options (like retweet buttons), but presents nice, clear, easy-to-read text.

A couple of days ago, though, something changed. It seems that Twitter changed the format of its mobile site. Now the messages appear much longer left-to-right, and to read one on my phone requires left-right scrolling back and forth, which is terribly awkward and time-consuming. I didn't have to do it previously; message lines were broken where they needed to be to fit on my screen.

It's bad enough that if that's what I'm stuck with, I'm basically done with using Twitter on the phone. Scrolling up and down the list of tweets was not and is not a problem, but left-right scrolling is. Not only does it take about four times as long to read each message, but the bad, bad design on my LG phone has the tiny scroll controls right on top of the "last page" and "reload" and "home" buttons, so when I try to scroll I often get one of those functions instead. It's maddening.

This is clearly the mobile version I'm seeing. There are no photos with people's names, and at the bottom of the page is the option to view mobile or standard. I am in mobile. I can switch to standard, and then the page view is the same as I see on my home computer (which just compounds my troubles). The page view is the same whether I go to twitter.com, m.twitter.com, or mobile.twitter.com (unless I specifically click the "standard" view button). In short, the problem seems to be that Twitter for some reason changed how its mobile page appears. Or maybe AT&T sent my phone some sort of firmware update that changed how the browser interacts with the Twitter page, though that seems less likely.

I have looked at the Twitter blog--no announcement about this. I have tried Twitter's mobile help section. Nothing. I tried sending messages to the Twitter mobile help team, and they are being ignored.

I have tried everything I can think of to get things back to the way they were. I don't know exactly what changed or why. I only know that it has taken Twitter on my phone from being a pleasant little diversion to being an experience so cumbersome and unpleasant that I will only attempt it when there is some compelling reason. This isn't a smart phone; I can't just download a different application to do Twitter.

I am soliciting help from my more tech-savvy readers, though frankly I'm not optimistic that it can be fixed.

10 comments:

Conan776 said...

Is it a Java enabled phone i.e. is there an online app store (however rinky dinky compared to iPhone's or Android's)?

If so, you should be able to download the mobile Opera browser, either for a small fee at the "store" or... well try the store first.

It'll run circles around whatever browser came pre-installed.

Of course, I kill a phone every year or so and can't necessarily comprehend how "out of date" your phone might be.

Anonymous said...

Try logging in via www.dabr.co.uk on your mobile. I've found it to be better than m.twitter.com .

Rakewell said...

Dabr site not an improvement; still doesn't break lines of text.

Rakewell said...

Conan: Good suggestion. Yes, it is Java-enabled, so there are a few applications available. (I had looked only at games previously.) Turns out that there is a free app called "AT&T Social Media" for Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace. I downloaded it and tried it. It's a marginal improvement. The stupid thing displays only the first half of most messages, so I have to click on each message to read it, then click "back" to get back to the list. It does work better than trying to scroll horizontally, so for now it will become my default method of use, but why oh why can't I just have back my text-only appearance? Grrrr.

andrealynn0707 said...

I would try a twitter only ap, then. I think they are better in general. I know a lot of people like tweetdeck or tweetie, but I like twitterific.

The other option might be to go in to your mweb settings and see if you can adjust the resolution or font size- though that might make it even harder to read.

Rakewell said...

Sorry, I should have added that the AT&T Social Media is the ONLY app they have that does Twitter. No other choices.

Cotty said...

I have a blackberry but I still feel your pain Grump. I am pretty sure the changes were made by the twitter people to make the mobile version of the site look prettier on fancy shmancy screens. The update also allows you to do more stuff. I am getting used to the new look on my BB screen but if I had view it on a regular phone screen it would be torturous. Sorry I couldn't be of more help :(

Keiser said...

I would definitely look at downloading Opera Mini if you don't have it, it's hands down better than any pre-installed browser. Don't think you'd need to pay a fee to get it, should be able to just snag it from the Opera site.

Michael said...

I wish I could offer some assistance, but I had a similar issue when I was using the straight safari browser for twitter viewing and tweeting on the Iphone. I would regularly get two different versions of the website. The only good thing for me at the time was that it didn't have the issues you've experienced, but I could track down no rhyme or reason to why I was getting different versions. Either through Twitter or the phone. Not that it helps at all, but thought I'd share my experience. Unfortunately it sounds like my workaround (twitter apps) isn't readily available for your phone. You may want to check and see if there are any operating systems/software upgrades available for your phone, I'm doubtful there are, but it's worth some checking if you are planning to keep the phone and can't find another work around.

Conan776 said...

@Keiser That was going to be my part two suggestion. On my not-so-smart phone it was a little tricky -- I had to download it, copy it over a data wire to my phone, dial a magic phone number to access my phone's "real" file system, move it from the data to the hidden applications folder, and one or two other steps. I imagine the Grump should be able to google around to find out if he needs to go thru similar acrobatics for his particular phone model....