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iPhone Twitter App Now Awful

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Here's one: A Twitter user walks into a Quick Bar. He immediately leaves, installs TweetDeck, and complains at length using the hashtag #Dickbar.

Last week, iPhone users saw an update to the official Twitter app, bringing it to Version 3.3. Along with several bug fixes and a "cleaner, redesigned Tweet compose screen," users saw a new, delightfully obstructive banner known as the Quick Bar. The Quick Bar -- immediately dubbed the Dickbar after Twitter CEO Dick Costolo -- displays "trends and other important things without leaving your timeline!" Not mentioned, it's also overlaid on your timeline, making it a tremendous distraction -- a flashing, ad-generating distraction.

And the best part, there's no way of turning it off.

Upon posting, Version 3.3 has unleashed a torrent of angry comments on the iTunes page. "Please remove the trending topics banner on the top. It is really annoying," one says. "Quick Bar is obtrusive. Get rid of it," another writes. "Do NOT like the new promoted drop down thing at the top." And so forth. One star reviews abound, as well as promises to switch to competitors like Seesmic and Echofon.

Not only an awful distraction for users, PC Magazine's Sascha Segan argues that the Quick Bar's untargeted advertising doesn't benefit the company.

"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."

In short, what works as a hashtag among friends doesn't necessarily work across the Twitter universe.

Amidst all the complaints, Twitter has responded. The company's "Communications Guy" Sean Garrett posted on Saturday: "Twitter submitted an update to Apple yesterday for our iPhone app. It fixes some bugs & makes it so the quickbar doesn't overlay on Tweets."

It's a nice effort, but if users still can't disable the Quick Bar, that #Dickbar hashtag ain't disappearing soon.
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