Twitter client not working? You need to take the OAuth

It seems some people are not aware that Twitter flicked the switch yesterday and moved over fully to OAuth. “Tweetdeck isn’t working!”, “Hootsuite #FAIL!”, “My UberTwitter is down. OMG how will I survive?” are the cries rippling through the Twitterverse. Fear not, fellow twaddicts, because help is at hand.

Twitter recently announced the changeover in their blog. What is Oauth? Twitter explains: “In order for Twitter applications to access your account, developers have been able to choose one of two authentication methods: Basic Authentication or OAuth. Both require your permission, but there is an important difference. With Basic Auth, you provide your username and password for the app to access Twitter, and the application has to store and send this information over the Internet each time you use the app. With OAuth, this isn’t the case. Instead, you approve an application to access Twitter, and the application doesn’t store your password.”

In a nutshell, it’s a more secure method and should help to stem account hacks. Your username and password will now reside on Twitter only, and you will have to provide your Twitter client with authorisation to access your Twitter account.

This is not another Twitter third-party killing rampage. The company is well-known for assisting some of its most successful third-party clients to commit Twittercide. So far sponsored tweets, some image hosting sites, iPhone apps and url shorteners have all become victims. The move to OAuth may actually kill off some lazy third-party apps. Twitter told developers way back in December 2009 about the move to Oauth and most of them have been expeditious in implementation. Third-party clients like Echofon, TweetDeck, Twitterrific, Seesmic, and Twitter for Android, iPhone, and BlackBerry, are already using OAuth, so you may not have to do anything.

How do I make sure I’m compliant?

If your Twitter client has stopped working, go and download the latest version of the app. This should rectify any issues.

Tweetdeck Hint: Since Tweetdeck runs on Adobe Air, you may also have to download the latest version of Adobe Air AND the latest version of Tweetdeck.

Twitter and Third Party Clients

Twitter is fairly unique in that many people don’t actually access Twitter on the web to use the service. Up to a third of Twitter users are using 1900 different third-party apps. According to a study in August 2009 by Rapleaf two-thirds of tweets are updated using computers at However, the top 5 clients account for 82% of tweets; and the top 10 account for over 90% of tweets.

If you’re using any one of those 1900 third-party apps, you may have become a victim of the Oauthpocalypse. The good news is you can do something about it.

Happy Tweeting!



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