That Bird Don’t Tweet!

There are a great many mysteries in the universe: The mysteries of Stonehenge, Easter Island, why people watch TV shows about the Kardashians, is there extraterrestrial life out there, and if there is, do they watch “Keeping Up With The Kardashians”, etc.

I’m thankful those questions are all above my pay grade! However, there is one great mystery that has plagued me ever since I got my first iOS device in 2011. Namely, why doesn’t the iOS Twitter app make a “Tweet” sound when you get a notification (a mention, a reply, a new follow, a DM, etc.)?

I first joined Twitter years ago after getting my first smartphone (a Samsung Android phone) and reading on the Syfy blog about multiple genre celebrities worth following. I didn’t use it much, but a few months later, I was sleeping late one day when I was awoken by the sound of birds tweeting thanks to having both the official Twitter app and a 3rd party app for Twitter installed causing me to have double the notification sounds. As I had never experienced someone interacting with me on Twitter at that time, and not being familiar with the noise, I briefly thought a bird had flown into my home and gotten trapped. I picked up my phone in a startled, but still far from awake state to see that an actor I had followed the night before had DM’ed (Direct Messaged) me. Believing I’m still lost in dream-world due to the surreal nature of the notification I was seeing on my phone, I opened the app to read the DM tell me thanks for the follow. The next month, I would purchase my first iOS device (iPad 2), and I would eventually learn that unlike my Android phone, the iOS Twitter app does not make a “Tweet” sound, but rather the default sound for your notifications. I did not know at the time if this was the fault of iOS 4.3 or the iOS Twitter app, but I miss that sound.

iOS 9 will become old news in September when iOS users will upgrade to iOS 10, and a lot has changed since iOS 4.3, including a deeper integration with Twitter, but the sound still remains the same. In the Settings app of iOS, I can go into the Sounds menu and there’s an option to set up a “Tweet” sound (which is playable) for Twitter, but that’s supposedly for tweeting a photo from one’s Photos library, and not for any kind of incoming notification.

I’d blame the issue on Apple and iOS, but many apps, including Facebook Messenger, Skype, Kik, Snapchat, etc. have their own respective sounds for notifications, so what’s the deal with the Twitter bird? You would think they’d want to bring attention to their service by differentiating a notification for their service from your notification from the “Big River” app that your 24-pack of Tube Socks has shipped and will be delivered in 2 days.

Earlier this year I Tweeted a celebrity who favorited, re-Tweeted, and replied to my Tweet. Within seconds of doing so, many of her followers began liking and re-Tweeting my Tweet. While it was a cool experience seeing and hearing so many people react to my Tweet in such a short amount of time, it would have been much cooler hearing those bird sounds all at once instead of assuming my phone was suffering a major malfunction or fearing Florida had invaded Georgia and the news apps on my phone were warning citizens of the danger, but alas, for reasons unknown to me, that bird don’t tweet, and for the life of me, I don’t get why not.

Alan Gordon is a guest blogger for The Solid Signal Blog.