After a rather rough start, Twitter on Thursday said it will remove the Quick Bar from its iOS app, which provided users with updates on trending topics.
Though the Quick Bar - referred to by some as the "Dick Bar" after CEO Dick Costolo - had "incredibly high usage metrics," Twitter has opted to remove it from the app rather than continually update it.
"Rather than continue to make changes to the QuickBar as it exists, we removed the bar from the update appearing in the App Store today," Twitter creative director Doug Bowman wrote in a blog post. "We believe there are still significant benefits to increasing awareness of what's happening outside the home timeline."
The Quick Bar was added to the app earlier earlier this month as part of an upgrade that also made it easier to access features like photos, trends, and links. It sat above a user's Twitter feed and displayed one of the days' current trending topics. Tapping the word would take you to a list of recent mentions.
Twitter users are up in arms over the Twitter Quick Bar, which pundit John Gruber termed the "Dickbar" after Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, a forced trending topics bar appearing at the top of the new iPhone Twitter client. To some extent, this is just whining—there are so many Twitter clients out there, it's easy to find one with the layout you prefer. But it also shows the bigger problem with Twitter's trending topics, which the service has managed very poorly since it became a mass medium.
Real estate is precious on small phone screens, and users demand that every pixel be spent on something relevant. People are willing to make an exception for ads on free apps; after all, developers need to pay the bills. But the trending topics tend to spotlight micro-communities that don't overlap much with each other. As an optional means of discovery, they're mildly interesting. Forced upon us, they bombard us with irrelevant data that breaks down our carefully constructed social-networking comfort zones.
Twitter started out, years ago, as a social service for a common techno-clique who all attended the South by Southwest music conference, so trending topics made sense. But since then, it's expanded and fragmented into a mass medium made up of non-overlapping micro-communities. Everybody uses Twitter differently, but almost everybody consciously or unconsciously cultivates their feed. The trending topics are like a loud stranger wandering into your invitation-only party.
The Quick Bar is really about advertising, of course. Twitter is trying to make money off "promoted topics" for movies and consumer products. But I don't think that's the source of the real anger here. Most people see ads as a necessary evil so we can get free stuff. But we don't understand why our screens are full of jibber-jabber about Brazilian TV presenters.
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