It’s day 8 of Gizmodo’s March Madness bracket challenge to name the greatest app of all time and one of the most controversial apps of our time has entered the ring. Venmo buried I Am Rich in yesterday’s battle of the money apps, taking more than 78 percent of the vote. Today, the king of micro-blogging apps takes on the bastion of long reads.

If you’re just tuning in, you can read all about our selection criteria for this historic contest right here. Check out the full bracket of contestants embedded below. And as always, if you think we missed your personal favorite app of all time, yell at us in the comments. Now, let’s get into today’s contestants.

Let’s make one thing clear, our first nominee is Twitter, not X. So if you’re hesitant to give a thumbs up Elon Musk’s app, your conscience can be clear. Likewise, if you want to lick Elon’s boots with your vote, you’re out of luck. We’re talking about the bird app here.

After 17 years, we don’t really know how many current users X has but it has reached as many as 500 million monthly active users, and at various times in history, it could’ve reasonably been called the most important app in the world. What started as a place to tweet about what you’re eating for lunch grew into a reliable firehose of real-time news (and fake news). Some of the strangest characters on the internet dedicated their time to posting simply for the love of the game. And the Arab Spring briefly convinced many that Twitter was capable of toppling despotic governments. By the time Donald Trump became the Tweeter-in-Chief, it started to look like the app may be just as capable of propping up despots.

While other social platforms were in a race to stuff their apps with as many features as possible, the beauty of Twitter was how little it changed. It gave users 140 characters to express themselves, and that’s about it. In 2017, that number increased to 280 characters and people thought the sky was falling but the extra digits arguably improved the experience. Experiments with live video and audio floundered, but the simple tweet remained powerful.

But it wasn’t all great. Like every other social platform, Twitter has screwed up when it comes to privacy, security, harassment, misinformation, censorship, and the exploitation of children. There’s certainly a very good argument to be made that Twitter was always a very bad app. People have made that argument every day since Elon’s takeover. And while the quality of the app has declined since Twitter died, X remains the best place online to get yourself canceled.

Taking on Twitter we have Read It Later, which is better known as Pocket. Launched in 2007, Read It Later solved a big problem: There’s way too much shit to read online. Browser tabs were piling up as that 7,000-word New Yorker feature waited to be read. Read It Later simply gave users a place to save all the interesting things they saw while browsing at work and let them read it later, even if they weren’t connected to the internet.

Besides the rebrand to Pocket in 2012 and the addition of some discovery features, not much has changed about the core functionality of the app. They got it right the first time. But how we consume content has transformed considerably. Social networks and search engines push us towards low-quality news that’s designed to get a reaction, making it all the more important to put a great long read in your pocket as soon as you come across it.

So, reader, what’ll it be? Have you wasted so many hours on Twitter that you simply must send it to the next round, or are you grateful that Read It Later brought a little sophistication to your browsing experience?

Voting has closed, and Twitter will advance to take on Venmo in its next round!

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Image for article titled The Greatest App of All Time Day 8: Twitter vs. Read It Later

Graphic: Vicky Leta

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