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Show HN: Write-Only Interface for Twitter (typefully.app)
219 points by linuz90 12 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 91 comments

Despite what many comments here might suggest, Twitter is a microblogging site. You do not have to consume other tweets in order to contribute your own tweets to Twitter. That’s why you can follow 0 people and still tweet.

That’s why I love this idea. Imagine writing a blog but everyone suggesting to you that you have to consume other people’s blogs in order to contribute your own. Twitter can be toxic. But it can be great. If you are not in a mental space to consume the doom scroll, this is a good way to post your thoughts while protecting your mental health.

I’ve been tweeting from the command line for a few weeks now but will probably switch to this.

Wow I couldn't have said it better. This is exactly what we're trying to achieve with Typefully, thanks for expressing it so nicely.

Unfortunately the author cannot read your thanks, see upvotes, engage in a conversation, or learn from others’ input. They use a write-only client to access this community.

That would be funny, but there is a difference between Twitter and HN.

In this case, the author wants to use twitter as a microblog -- the use case it was designed for. If they don't want to read other input on their twitter, why would they?

Meanwhile HN is explicitly designed as a community with a focus on curiosity, exploration, and discussion... none of which your comment provides.

Twitter has features to Share, Like, Subscribe, Explore via Hashtags. Twitter does not have a feature to "Edit". I'm unclear how we can look at these core strategic choices and decide it's designed not as a community, but as a blogging engine.

The point is not that twitter cannot be used as a community, but that it has been a microblogging platform as long as it has existed. In addition, each of the features you listed can be quite useful for discovery in a blogging type situation.

For external sources:


> However, by 2006 and 2007, the term microblog was used more widely for services provided by established sites like Tumblr and Twitter.


> Twitter, online microblogging service for distributing short messages among groups of recipients via personal computer or mobile telephone.

Regardless, another client that treats the microblogging side of twitter as it's sole focus is not unreasonable. Much like reddit.com being better suited to memes and images and old.reddit.com is better suited to discussion, different clients can have different focuses, which is a Good Thing.

Twitter, true to its name, is a bunch of little birdies chirping all around one big tree. Mostly noise, worth it for the occasional song. Like most chit-chatter at most parties. I could show up to a party, get on a soapbox, do my monologue, then leave. But I won't make any friends or impact that way, even if these parties is where the audience is.

Even the "Stoic & Enlightened" accounts like Naval regularly engage with the birdies around them.

> Mostly noise. Like most chit-chatter at most parties. I could show up to the party, get on a soapbox, do my monologue, then leave. But I won't make any friends or impact that way, even if these parties is where the audience is.

Good point. However, making friends/impact is not what everyone wants from twitter.

Some people just want a place to put their thoughts out, and don't really care what anyone else is doing.

Edit: I'd like to apologize for being overly aggressive in my first comment. That was uncalled for. This chain clearly has started a discussion, for which I thank you.

> Some people just want a place to put their thoughts out, and don't really care what anyone else is doing.

Not being snarky: this is what personal journals are for.

It's difficult for me to reconcile "I want to put my thoughts out, but for as many people as possible to see them, and without caring about impact". At best, it feels like void navel-gazing, and at worst it might be a source of so much thoughtless/marginalizing content on Twitter: because the author did not care what their words will do to the reader. The feedback loop is essential not only for enriching the overall community, but for enriching our own understanding.

> "I want to put my thoughts out, but for as many people as possible to see them, and without caring about impact".

I suppose I've interpreted the thought process differently. I see it as "I'm going to put my thoughts out, maybe someone will find it interesting.", with the key difference of not caring about many people see/interact.

> at worst it might be a source of so much thoughtless/marginalizing content on Twitter: because the author did not care what their words will do to the reader.

Alternately, this could be caused by echo chambers where people scream endless affirmation at you because you said something that lines up with their political views.

Neither method of using Twitter is more wrong or more right, just different.

Props to both of you for keeping it civil. Genuinely interesting to see slightly opposing views work out through discussion - something that wouldn't be possible in a write-only scenario...

> Genuinely interesting to see slightly opposing views work out through discussion[.]

One of the reasons HN is one of the few places I actually post on the internet. People here are generally willing to discuss in good faith.

> something that wouldn't be possible in a write-only scenario...

/me sighs

yes. That was the whole point of the conversation, and why we are having this discussion in a forum designed for discussion, instead of in a platform that is equally designed for microblogging and discussion.

In addition, it's perfectly possible to put contact info in your twitter bio. Someone is just as capable of looking at that and emailing you as they would be if you were blogging off your own website.

Twitter allows for this just as many blogs (like books) don't have comment sections but have the author accessible via email or not at all. This doesn't mean they shouldn't be allowed to publish.

Where it's written, if it's designed so, doesn't really matter. I mean it's not practical to do so over text, but email? Yes.

There are even a subsection of people who never engage in twitter and just consume...

You can still allow people to visit your site and email you... But many people tweet successfully without replying to anyone.

If you disagree with what these non repliers say, stop reading.

Other readers don't need protection. They need exposure to more ideas, not fewer.

> Twitter does not have a feature to "Edit".

If you don't care at all about others interacting with your tweets, then Twitter has an edit button: delete the tweet and post a new one.

Hacker News would actually be the opposite if I was going to go single-sided with it. I don’t normally participate in the conversations but I love reading them.

This conversation though just happened to touch on something I’ve been experimenting with so I was compelled to comment.

That said, give me the read only client for HN (I know this exist already) :)

When we were texting our tweets to Twitter a decade ago they didn’t respond with 200 random retweets.

> Imagine writing a blog but everyone suggesting to you that you have to consume other people’s blogs in order to contribute your own

It would be pretty weird to write a blog, but never read others. Especially if you avoided reading blogs because you thought it was bad for your mental health. Why make more of a bad thing?

People want different things. This reads to me like why date if you’re not gay and also your own type.

I think it's more like an oncologist who avoids smoking for health reasons being on the board of a cigarette company.

Because it makes people feel good.

Twitter is toxic, yet people enjoy that echo-chamber.

Typefully cuts a long text into several tweets. Apps like https://threadreaderapp.com/ or https://the.rip/ unroll these stories again.

What's wrong with this network where sharing content requires to use such tools both for authors and readers? ;-)

The thing you're missing is that each of the tweets in a thread has its own set of replies & quote tweets, some of which may themselves be threads. [1] This is why I like to think of Twitter as a fractal annotation platform: it allows people to write commentary on specific portions of other people's commentary. Twitter's innovation is that it forces the writer to divide their text into annotatable segments before publishing it.

I think it's great that we're coming up with better tools to facilitate the process of writing modular text. Hopefully these tools will make it clearer to writers what Twitter threads are for and reduce the prevalence of behaviors like splitting sentences across tweets.

[1] Unfortunately Twitter's thread-composing UI isn't available when writing a reply to someone else's tweet. It would be nice if they fixed this. (Perhaps the reasoning is that a multi-tweet reply would work better as a quote tweet. I still think it would be nice to have the thread UI available for every tweet, regardless of the context.)

Twitter is awful for longform, but it's where the eyeballs are.


It's neat being able to link to an individual tweet in a tweetstorm, and to be able to favorite and retweet individual ones and have the counts vary, indicating which tweets are the most interesting.

I think this tool is not very useful, because writing tweets in the character limited box is what forces you to get to the essence of the idea that you are trying to communicate. Your tweet thread will be very unreadable if you use this tool.

Consuming using "unrolling" is fine, because it only gets rid of the interface that some people don't like.

> Your tweet thread will be very unreadable if you use this tool.

Isn't that only the case if you don't work with their built in tool on the right to see what the thread will look like? I personally have no problem reading through a thread in this way, especially when the thread is crafted with the individual tweets in mind.

Think on it. We've created a wonderful packet-switched network, on top of which we:

* first built an app that made its users break a message into packets by hand;

* then built apps on top of that app that do the packet disassembly/reassembly for the first app automatically.

There is theoretically no end to the heights this tower of madness can reach! A driven young Hackernews could theoretically be occupied for decades adding to it, all to chase that VC money or Show HN whuffie!

What's wrong with the web where sharing content requires the use of tools for both authors (a text editor) and readers (a web browser)?

We're so used to social networks being all-in-one, but that doesn't mean it's the only way. A network that doesn't come with all of its own tools isn't necessarily worse -- it might even be healthier that people can solve their own use cases with their own apps.

It forces you somehow de be concise. :)

That nobody reads what you write.

Jokes asides I am a big fan of blogging[1], but it's not the best medium for reach.

[1]: https://francescodilorenzo.com

Hmm, I'm not sure if encouraging people to shout without listening is a good thing. It seems to me like it would just exacerbate the problems with social media.

Two thoughts on this:

1. There are definitely times when I just want to post something I found interesting to Twitter and not, at that time, get sucked into other tweets

2. It also depends on what you think Twitter is. Wikipedia describes Twitter as a "microblogging platform" and "social network". I think this app looks good for the microblogging aspect of Twitter.

If everyone used it, no one would read it, so I’m all for it, in that context.

I admit I'm a bit confused by this statement. To me it reads as saying a platform everyone posted to but no one ever read would be a good thing, basically twitter as cat > dev/null.

I would find it good for partial use, like tweet on that all day and limit your browsing to once per day or something like that

Fair point, which I didn't think about a lot to be honest. On the other hand, this enables people to write more mindfully, without all the noise around them, and also think twice before "shouting", so I'd be very curious to see what kind of output this will produce.

it also feels a little disrespectful of people who follow you. if I reply to you I know you won't read it. so if someone bragged about using your app it'd be a prompt for me to unfollow them.

I'm working on something in the social networking space, and I'm curious about your views and where you are coming from.

If you don't mind me asking: What type of people do you follow - people you met irl or online, or friend of friends, or famous people? And how do you want to interact with them?

My own approach to make Twitter useful for me is to separate the concepts of following and reading. The key is to never look at your timeline:


The example tweets for this app are attributed to @Naval.

He follows zero people on Twitter. That is a huge red flag if, like me, you are trying to avoid narcissists who aren't interested in listening to others. It's clear that the developers of Typefully are oblivious to this Twitter syndrome.

At best, it's for people who are in transmit mode (like Rob Rhinehart on his blog) and this is a dangerous way to operate because you're not engaging with your hypothetical audience before pontificating.

See, e.g. https://klwightman.com/2016/07/11/zero-twitter-following-cou...

"What a zero following count on Twitter really says is that you are more concerned with your image than your connections. Your ego is more important that the conversations you could have to genuinely build your character.

A zero following Twitter count shows that you don’t care what others on Twitter are saying. Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. Because actions speak volumes, a zero following count says that you don’t.

No need to worry. This strategy often fails, and for good reason.

Many Twitter users see through this strategy. How much fun is it to follow someone who doesn’t care what anyone has to say, even you?

So many will unfollow these ego accounts and their Twitter follower account once again dwindles."

The angle here is not about shutting other people out. It's about carving out the time to think and write, and letting other peoples in at your leisure, maybe once or twice per day.

It's not permanent. They could easily check for replies a few minutes later.

I don't think this fairly captures the use case.

I have a bunch of drafts up as unsaved tabs in a VS Code window. Having a UI that encourages me to put my drafts in a dedicated spot and is oriented towards creating threads seems really nice.

This looks well done. Although I have to laugh that it exists or needs to exist. It's like a fireproof suit for venturing into a dumpster fire!

FYI, Asking for upvotes or comments is against the rules.


Hi, I wasn't asking upvotes in the post, but I've deleted anyway for goodwill. Thanks for pointing it out!

I have to admit that I'm not too excited about the default "ad copy". Are "business influencers" the target demographic?

I want this for everything. So many times I go to text or email someone and then get distracted by the new messages in my inbox and forget what I was doing in the first place. It's especially bad on my phone where there might be cross-app notifications. Why did I pick up my phone again?

In response to https://twitter.com/adamwathan/status/1335953939473326081?s=... or coincidence? (Nice work)

Incredibly I missed that tweet, and also we've been working on this for many weeks, but love the coincidence!

This presents a nice way of dealing with Twitter, if it fits your use case.

Some good choices too (e.g. Plausible for analytics).

Only thing I wonder is, why I can only learn that you are Mailbrew Inc. from the PP or Terms of Services, and ...

> For our Patron in-app purchase flow, we collect related information such as payment amounts, times and currencies to validate and secure payments.

... that your revenue model apparently is in-app purchases?

Why not be more open about that with a nice About page where you present yourself and the product you offer.

(Note that this same feedback holds for so many services that are launched, where the lack of this transparency imho is an oversight).

Thanks so much for the feedback!

We've put a "by Mailbrew" logo in the header, and also if you click on the chat widget in the bottom left corner of the app, you'll see info about the team.

As for the business model, this is a little experiment to play with the write-only Twitter idea and create awareness around Mailbrew, which is our main product and core business.

Finally regarding Plausible, it's not just better because of how privacy-friendly it is, it's also such a great product that we recommend everyone to use.

I was going to try it out, but the OAuth scopes include way more than just posting in my timeline, is that something you are considering changing, reducing scopes?

Congrats with the launch! Proud to see that https://chirr.app inspired you!

Made this before discovering Chirr. But very happy to see another great product in this space from a fellow maker!

I'm an ADHD person who is tired of being trapped by the doomscroll, but like the idea of sharing random thoughts with some friends. Sometimes I just want to write something, but without receiving instant feedback, and I think Typefully will be very useful in these moments. Thank you!

I would like to have this for email.

I try to stay out of email except for defined time slots so that I don’t get distracted. But sometimes I would like to send an email outside those times.

Most clients require you to see your inbox if you want to send a message.

Thank you for making this a progressive web app. I’ve been preaching the benefits of PWAs for a while now and the first thing I do on any new site I access from my phone is try to add it to the Home Screen. Well done!

Cool! But also, thank you for allowing us to try it without logging in. This should be table stakes, but so many Show HN posts don't do this and I click right back out of them.

Thanks! Yes we realized that not everyone is ready to give access to their Twitter account, and it's only fair we let it try it. We ourselves would love to see this in more products.

This is very nice indeed. I would totally use it for my twitter threads but I usually add images and other media to my tweets. Would you consider adding that feature?

Totally. It's the first feature we'll work on adding.

Awesome. Once it has that (including GIF search ;)) you'll have one more happy paying customer

I would pay actual money for a Twitter-like site that only provided factual updates on topics I care about.

I believe everyone has the right to express their opinion, but I'm just not emotionally equipped to handle being blasted daily by the firehose of all the opinions in the world.

But I like to get updates.

I love this idea!

I've also recognized you. You're the duo from Mailbrew and Boxy Suite! I wonder, how do you find ideas for the great apps? Looks like you start from a need but at the same time I feel like you must be data-driven.

Hey thanks!

We actually very rarely start from data or market research, but basically from our own needs.

We liked Gmail but hated it using it in the browser, so we've built Boxy Suite.

We like following many websites, authors and creators, but felt overwhelmed by feeds, so we've built Mailbrew.

We love Twitter but needed a focused writing environment to remove distractions when we want to publish our thoughts, so we've built Typefully.

In every case, we decided to go ahead when we felt there might be thousands of people with the same need, and that we can address it effectively, leveraging our specific knowledge.

When we have an idea that feels great, but we feel there's no real market for it, we don't pursue it.

Hope this answers your question!

That's really good answer! Thanks for it! I guess I will need to get better into identifying my needs

This is fantastic. I had been wanting to make this exact tool for a while and so happy your team both built it and executed brilliantly. In particular, the mobile UI has a level of craft that I know took a while to get right! Well done.

Reminds me of the good old days of Birdhouse[1].

1. https://sandwich.co/work/a-notepad-for-twitter/

This is, by far, one of the best product marketing work I have seen in a while.

A write-only interface for Twitter.... you, dear sir or madam, have my clicks. All of my clicks.

Use a blog instead.

We do that too. This was initially born as an easy way to cross-post from our markdown blogs to Twitter.

Great idea!! It seems you can't paste an image inside the text though, which you can do on the regular Twitter webpage?

Finally a use for write only memory.

I’d like to use this, but I’m not approving that massive list of permissions.

This is a great idea, I've been looking for it for years!

awsome, thanks for developing it

This looks very nice. Me, I would rather need a read-only twitter client. I'd like to be informed about Dionne Warwick and the occasional new cogsci paper without periodically making a fool of myself.

I'd like a general "follow people" app, where I get an easily navigable interface (i.e. not just a dump) of posts on twitter, facebook, hacker news...

That's doable with a RSS feed service. Some providers which support reading twitter, youtube and other popular feeds without any setup.




If there are sources that they don't support, you can host your own rsshub instance or use the default.


Happy to help you get this set up.

Thanks, I'm a pretty heavy RSS user, mostly with regular desktop clients. Where my usage pattern is pretty much a single dump for everything and just quickly scrolling through the 100-200 updates/day, scanning some, reading others, postponing some by opening them in browser tabs (I still habitually check "loadDivertedInBackground" in Firefox' config, even years after google reader ceasing to exist). I don't even categorize the feeds.

But for a comprehensive, all sources in one app, I'd want even more than categorization. I'd want different reading modes (concatenate tweets, leave other articles alone), maybe an expose-like overview to quickly filter, some intelligent ranking etc.

rsshub seems interesting though. Can it do hackernews user's posts?

Neat, thanks!

We make a product[1] that might fix this for you. It's a tool to create digests from Twitter and other sources. You get the best content via email every day, and it's read-only.

[1]: https://mailbrew.com/

1. 99.00% people don't even think before tweeting. 2. 0.99% think but tweet only one tweet at a time. 3. 0.01% only think and create a long thread.

Hence is it really required? What REAL pain are your really trying to solve? For how many people will use this? Are people already searching/paying for this?

This is a cold hard and harsh truth. May save you lot of your valuable time in the near future.

Pls DON"T build something that NOBODY wants.

We'll see about that :) We're seeing nice traction, and early feedback is from people that were tired to get sucked into the Twitter timeline and algorithm, and finally have a nice focused environment to tweet their ideas and move on with their day.

"traction" = paying customers or people being nice to you on launch day? don't confuse the two. that said, all the best for your launch :)

They are targeting a niche who is likely more willing to pay for this than average internet user. I only ever see long twitter threads from VCs, developer advocates, CEOs, startup people who spend $$$ on productivity software to optimize their life, etc.

It's fine if it is $100 from 10 customers than $5 from 1000.

Did you pull these data from the air? I follow a lot of people who tweet long threads, a lot of the time

I follow a lot of people who sometimes tweet out intelligent, multi-post threads.

> Pls DON"T build something that NOBODY wants.


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