April 20, 2024
Twitterrific's team is back with Tapestry, an app for tracking social media, news, RSS and more


The Iconfactory, the maker of a popular third-party Twitter client, Twitterrific, that was among those killed off by Twitter under Elon Musk’s management, is hoping to recover from its losses with a new app that combines your social media, news feeds and alerts into one experience. The app, dubbed “Project Tapestry” as it launches on Kickstarter, will support Twitter/X alternatives like Bluesky, Mastodon and Tumblr, and possibly Instagram Threads when its developer API becomes available. However, it won’t support X itself due to the company’s ban on third-party apps.

A working prototype of Project Tapestry has already been developed and if The Iconfactory is able to raise $100,000 in funding through Kickstarter it will further develop the app to be launched to the public.

As described, Project Tapestry is meant to organize today’s fragmented online media into one interface, by allowing users to follow a variety of sources in one place. For instance, you could track your favorite blogs, news sites, social networks and webcomics, as well as critical updates that used to come via Twitter, like weather alerts or earthquake warnings.

This would involve working with any site that offers an RSS feed, which most blogs and news sites (without a paywall) already do. It would also integrate with the startups that are offering Twitter alternatives, like Bluesky, powered by the new AT Protocol, and Mastodon, which will be powered by another emerging web standard, ActivityPub. (The company isn’t planning on Threads support at launch, but would consider adding it, as well, if an API was made available, we’re told.)

Other planned sources include Tumblr, Micro.blog, USGS Earthquakes, NOAA Satellite and GO Comics. Facebook and Instagram will not be available, though.

After setup, Tapestry would organize all your updates into one feed, displayed in chronological order. Plus, the app could remove duplicates to cut down on the clutter — like when someone posts a link to multiple social networks at once. In the new app, those mentions could be combined, so you only see the post one time.

Image Credits: The Iconfactory

The team envisions making Project Tapestry’s timeline something that anyone could integrate with by writing plug-ins using JavaScript that will translate between the web and the native iOS app. For example, developers tinkering around with Raspberry Pi could send custom alerts to their timeline via this interface.

Other notable features include the ability to mark items as read, remember your reading position in the timeline, support for light and dark themes, and a couple more copied over from the company’s Twitterrific days — like muting and “muffling.” The latter was a popular option for those who wanted to know what was being said by minimizing the tweets, and providing a short description of what was hidden instead.

If the company’s stretch goal of $150,000 is reached on Kickstarter, the team will also work on a more advanced search feature that would allow you to search across the sources and social networking posts you already follow instead of the wider web. That aspect sounds particularly promising at a time when Google Search’s quality is diminishing due to SEO spam and AI-written pages. 

This isn’t the first time Iconfactory has turned to Kickstarter. It also used the site to fund the development of Twitterrific for Mac in 2017, which was funded in 20 days.

Though Iconfactory today makes several apps for creativity, entertainment and gaming, the shutdown of Twitterrific had been difficult for the company and its team.

Laments The Iconfactory’s Principal/Designer Gedeon Maheux, the new project came about because the team “had invested so much time and energy into Twitter,” but then Twitter “wall[ed] up their garden and people like us were forced to leave,” he says. “Now you have friends that are on different services, different places, and it’s hard to keep track of them.”

The need for crowdsourced funds was also necessary because of the loss of Twitterrific.

“The death of Twitterrific really hurt…Killing third-party Twitter apps really put a dent in [our revenue] because Twitterrific was one of our bread-and-butter apps. It really fueled development and allowed us to do these things that we loved,” notes Maheux. Since Twitterrific’s shutdown, he says, the comapny has not yet been able to “close the gap.”

“Hopefully, Tapestry will help with that,” he adds.

Twitterrific may not be a household name like Twitter once was, but the app had a sizable influence on Twitter culture.

The Twitter client was one of the earliest on the market and began using a bird logo, which other clients then adopted, too. Later, Twitter started using a bird as its official logo in 2010. The Iconfactory also contributed the word “tweet” to the vocabulary around using Twitter, and created a workaround for Twitter’s lack of an “Edit” button in 2014 by creating a feature that would delete and repost a tweet, giving the appearance of edits.

With its understanding of how to tap into the market of social apps, Tapestry has the potential to now solve new pain points for users who are leaving Twitter/X — a way to track the news, people and information that matter to them, no matter where they go.

The $100,000 Kickstarter goal will allow The Iconfactory to get the initial app done and made public via the App Store. Since launching the crowdsourced funding plea this morning, they’ve raised over $46,000.

The company has historically been averse to the idea of taking venture capital, as it wants to remain independent, but if Tapestry takes off after going public, Maheux admits it’s “never say never” when it comes to raising outside funds. In the meantime, however, if you want to use an app like Tapestry, you’ll have to donate toward its creation.



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