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Show HN: Chirr App splits text into tweets and posts it as a thread (getchirrapp.com)
36 points by kossnocorp on Aug 29, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 31 comments

Why are Twitter threads so common? What makes them better than a real and accessible blog post? I don't condemn threads, but the user interface and reading experience is so awful that I cannot like them as they currently are.

It's difficult to navigate forward or backward in a thread, specially when there are a lot of tweets, as every few tweets it has to load more. Plus, every tweet can have its own replies, so it's hard to read comments or reactions.

The only thing I find useful in threads is that, since every sentence is a separate tweet, it's easy to share a particular point in a conversation by sharing the URL for that particular tweet.

#1 reason has to be the low overhead. You could say having to include a counter is overhead, but it's still less than setting up your own blog and fragmenting your online presence into some other platform that wants you to publish there all the time.

#2 is that your followers are much more likely to read a thread, since a thread of length N will appear in your timeline at least N times. I often scroll through my feed and see a (28/30) marker, view the thread and read the rest of it. (Yes, 30 whole tweets!) If you tweeted out a link to an article you wrote 30 times, nobody would follow you. Some people will tweet twice for people in other timezones, but that's all you can get away with for out-of-band links.

#3 is that a thread often evolves out of discussion that's already on Twitter, and must participate where that discussion is happening at the time. Reacting to fast-paced news is a key one. Take this example: Josh Chafetz (the constitutional law professor, not the Congressman) watches Twitter respond to the Arpaio pardoning, and tweets a thread on why people are hot-taking it wrong[^1]. The next day, he turns it into an op-ed[^2]. But what good is an op-ed about rushed hot-takes a day late?

[^1]: https://twitter.com/joshchafetz/status/901244717115080706

[^2]: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2017/0...

Edit: I wouldn't be surprised if Twitter made thread counters a first-class feature. People use the platform how they want, and it will stretch to do what is needed.

Regarding #1, you could post it to some site like JustPaste.it (no affiliation, just found it via Google) and tweet the link. Chirr App itself could publish it on its servers and tweet the link with a single button.

#2 and #3, fair enough, though both of them sound like anti-features (spam, and fast soundbites over longer explanations) to me.

I can't say for others, but personally, for me, threads brought back the interest in Twitter. A thread allows to express much more than a single tweet, yet the limitation forces authors to be concise. Reading replies allows to discovering opinions from outside of the social circle from people, I don't follow. Also, threads are a nice way to tell a story.

As the maker, I'm definitely biased and the Twitter UI isn't perfect, but I believe it's a step in the right direction.

> What makes them better than a real and accessible blog post?

The audience. You want people to read your stuff, put it where the eyeballs are. And while threads do have a bit of friction to them, it's quite a lot less friction than opening J. Random Link, especially on mobile.

Twitter threads are still more concise than a long form blog post where you have no limits on the verbosity of your thoughts.

Twitter helps me as a writer to communicate more concisely. The same goes for Twitter threads.

Also, as others have mentioned you post where your audience is if your goal is for others to read it.

I think this is pretty straightforward actually: the UX of a Twitter thread sucks, but only a little bit less than opening a link and waiting for the page to load. People don't want to leave their Twitter client. Twitter needs to allow long tweets, which they could do with virtually no disruption to the existing Twitter UX.

Except it'd change the whole dynamic of Twitter as the restriction forces people to communicate in a certain way. Allow "long" tweets and people will just use the space and it'll be a nightmare to read a timeline, like a giant multi-user Tumblr..

They wouldn't have to change the timeline much at all, except to add some kind of 'expand' feature.

I guess stuff like this is the heart and soul of geekery "Look! I wrote a tool to use Imgur image descriptions as a very slow and unreliable filesystem!", but this just seems like a perfect example of why the ability to do a thing isn't necessarily a reason to do that thing.

Twitter threads are objectively terrible - they are hard to post, hard to read and hard to share; not because of some technical limitation, but because the people who built the tool designed it to resist being used in that way.

As long as there's a million places you can post text that's over 140 characters and then link to it from Twitter, this will remain a bad idea - because it's a misuse of a tool that makes it harder to use for both the creator and the consumer, while ignoring that there are trivial ways to avoid the problem entirely.

Sorta unrelated, but I wrote a tool that allows me to use Bandcamp for filestorage haha.


> …this just seems like a perfect example of why the ability to do a thing isn't necessarily a reason to do that thing.

Some Twitter post occasional tweetstorms. This tool makes it easier to do that. Is it possible you're over-thinking it?

Twitter threads are somewhat broken and often in a chain of tweets, it shows only the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 8th tweet and then you have to go digging under each individual tweet to find the rest of the threads.

That happens when the 3rd tweet is a reply to the 1st and 4th a reply to the 2nd which breaks the whole thread

Hey, everyone! I’ve built Chirr App to scratch my own itch: it’s tedious to plan and post Twitter threads (aka tweetstorms).

It’s built with Preact on top of Firebase. It’s free and open-sourced: https://github.com/kossnocorp/chirrapp. Check it out!

The numbering is broken when using the manual splitter, see http://imgur.com/a/HcHZd

> it’s tedious to plan and post Twitter threads

Maybe Twitter isn't the right tool for this then?

Now what we need is something to reassemble tweet storms into a coherent block of text.

This. I don't even use twitter, but that even that doesn't keep one safe from seeing links to twitter threads and 'storms'. Often labeled 'Must read!' My usual response is 'will not read!'

I really dislike Twitter threads.

I'd rather read something scrawled in blood on a bathroom stall wall than a twitter thread.

(I understand some apps make this easier than others, mine appears to be in the harder category)

(But at least with this tool they will be well done...)

I had built the same thing and posted to HN a couple of years ago.


Didn't get any upvotes so shut down the site. Made the same functionality available as a Chrome extension as well.


The source code : https://github.com/singhshashi/tweetsmart

Built it as I was learning React.

I think this would be really cool if you could take this text, tweet storm it out, then publish it as a blog post (on wp or someplace else).

Often, a tweet storm pulls me in, but twitter's functionality is always a bit wonky.

My tweetstorm tool is Mastodon.

1. Post something approximating a complete thought on Mastodon.

2. Screengrab it.

3. Tweet this image, along with a link to it, and text like "Thread".

(Today I learnt that HN ignores emoji in your comments.)

Posting a thread as an image is on my todo list. It's good to know that there is a demand!

Dave Winer created something like this 3 years ago: http://scripting.com/2014/06/06/theEasiestWayToTweetAStorm.h...

If you can't say it in 140 chars it does not belong on twitter.

Can also be used as a quick way to get people to unfollow you :-D

It's good. One thing I feel is missing is embedding images into the tweets. Are there any plans for that?

Yup, it's on my todo list!

great idea

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