Twitter announced on their blog on August 16th, a severe tightening of the slow moving noose its had on third party developers over the last few years. On one hand I understand Twitter’s dilemma, to control the future of its mobile apps and advertising. On the other hand its handing an ugly betrayal to developers who made Twitter’s plain vanilla service in its early years, the success it is today.
I remember joining Twitter in 2008. Twitter was boring and confusing and not much has changed. Thanks to 3rd party developers they made seemingly endless innovations and cool apps that made Twitter fun and interesting. It was exciting to see all the new apps that just kept making it better and better. Twitter helped fund a whole industry whose job it was to make it both interesting and popular. It taught other startups that the key to potential success was to get a developer API out as soon as possible. It also started an industry of Social Media Consultants who helped guide and market business’ on Twitter.
All the while Twitter has stayed fairly one dimensional and plain, lacking exciting innovations internally, other than advances for Advertisers. While Twitter is walling off its garden, Google+ and Facebook are becoming more open and public. Facebook’s App Center is seeing record traffic for developer apps. Its interesting to me that Twitter is seemingly trending backwards and closing off. Developers are eagerly waiting for a solid API from Google+. Rejected developers have swarmed to App.net.
While developers have been slowly sent packing, Social Media Consultants that promote Twitter to their clients dont realize THEY are ALSO under attack. Twitter has quietly rolled out its own competition emails offering cheap advertising to companies. You can now advertise on Twitter for as little as a few dollars with Twitter offering inexpensive ads and Follower promotions. Most Social Media consultants are asleep as Twitter is now moving into their business and directly after their clients they put on Twitter in the first place. What happens when no one is interested in promoting Twitter?
While I realize Twitter has to make money somewhere, what happens when it kills off the Developers and Consultants industry that makes Twitter relevant and effectively works to promote it? Ask Digg.com. Years ago after sending top users and promoters packing they moved to Twitter and the rest is history. Twitter has stayed one dimensional opting to see itself as a news service. What happens when no one promotes Twitter, except for Twitter? What happens when the cooler bells, toys and whistles are innovated by developers for Facebook, Google+ and new networks?
Does Twitter tell the story or journal of your life? Is it a great place to share pictures and experiences that are recorded for your family and friends in notes and photos to peruse? No. Other than driving traffic to links, news and being a mass texting service Twitter doesnt have much more to offer in longevity compared to other networks. If I were to pick between Twitter, Facebook and Google+ as to which would likely be abandoned and dis-interesting first…it would be Twitter.
One way or another it will interesting to see what develops. Twitter is too plain and I can see that out of all the offerings of the other 2 major networks it would be the first easily abandon-able and forgettable service comparatively. All of its focus is cashing the check on users to sell to advertisers at this point. Google+ is a hybrid replacement of Facebook and Twitter. How long will people endure the 140 character limits that now seem antique and behind the times?
I’ve always loved Twitter and saw a vision of it being much more. One way or another the story unfolding will be interesting to say the least and in the meantime stay tuned….