On Monday of this week, reiterated its demands that third-party developers of software interfaces and/or added features to the enormously popular ‘micro-blogging’ site hold development on their products. As Juan Carlos Perez points out in an article published on MacWorld.com, those third-party developers are neither happy nor stopping their development.
The original statement from Twitter (available here) points out the still-expanding success that Twitter has been enjoying over the last year or so:
Since this time last year, Twitter use has skyrocketed. We’ve grown from 48 million to 140 million tweets a day and we’re registering new accounts at an all-time record. This massive base of users, publishers, and businesses is a giant playground for developers to build their own businesses on, and this means the opportunity has grown for everyone.
Yet as developers tap into that market, the statement continues, the developers have really only added confusion to the user experience:
Still, our user research shows that consumers continue to be confused by the different ways that a fractured landscape of third-party Twitter clients display tweets and let users interact with core Twitter functions. For example, people get confused by websites or clients that display tweets in a way that doesn’t follow our design guidelines, or when services put their own verbs on tweets instead of the ones used on Twitter. Similarly, a number of third-party consumer clients use their own versions of suggested users, trends, and other data streams, confusing users in our network even more.
Therefore, Twitter is adjusting its Terms Of Service to bring those developers back in line, or having them cease-and-desist development. As Perez’s article points out, the response has not been positive, nor have respondents taken Twitter’s claims of wanting to clarify the the service at face value.
But starting in late 2009 and very clearly ahead of its Chirp developer conference a year ago, Twitter, having grown its staff and business significantly, has made it clear that it intends to provide by itself or in exclusive partnerships whatever functionality it considers of core importance to the Twitter user experience. …
Some developers think the real issue is that Twitter, with its new focus on aggressively growing its revenue ahead of a possible initial public offering (IPO), now finds that having third-party Twitter client applications could dilute its ad revenue generation efforts.
The concern for those of us who are not developers will be that we will likely need to reconsider how we brand ourselves and our organizations via Twitter (Will some of our hashtags be forced into oblivion?) and how we interact with the service, and thus(Will we have to abandon ? Will some of our donors or peers walk away from the platform rather than work back through the realignments?).
These developments from and about Twitter might not be as weighty as the tragic and catastrophic events unfolding in Japan or Libya, but they might have a notable impact on how we get to follow such events through the postings of those on the ground. We might also need to readjust how we share that information with our own constituents. Stay tuned…