To Tweet… or to find some other way to stay connected

First off, I want to say that I’m an average person with average knowledge of “how shit works” and I have no authority whatsoever. I do, however, have an opinion.

Today’s opinion is about Twitter trying to rein in 3rd party developers.

Over the last few years I’ve come to know a fair number of application developers and they all have one thing in common: they tinker with EVERYTHING. A developer is always trying to reinvent the tools they use most often. They’re always trying to create shiny new features and applications, and typically they aren’t even looking to get rich off these things. (They know better, and they just love to code.)

I’ve also witnessed the storm that is Twitter. Facebook became legend, but Twitter is on the way to becoming as standard as email. Why is that? Because developers caught hold of it and propelled it farther than the Twitter founders could have EVER done on their own. Twitter owes a large portion of its success to 3rd party developers.

When Twitter mobile apps sucked, there was a 3rd party developer to give the user the experience they desired. When the Twitter site continually goes down there are 3rd party apps that continue to send/receive tweets and keep that user experience positive. When is blocked, 3rd party apps can break through and give users a voice… So WHY is Twitter using the “user experience” as an excuse to force other developers away from their product?

Bad Business.

It is a fact that developers will develop. It is a fact that developers love the idea of Twitter. This means that there are two futures for Twitter:

  1. 3rd party developers make 3rd party apps that expand on twitter.
  2. 3rd party developers make another OPEN twitterish service.

The more that Twitter restricts developers, the more frustrated they will become, and the more likely that the second option will be the future of Twitter. Look at Internet Explorer… and Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Safari, etc. The internet (and technology) is about growth and innovation. This innovation comes from open development.

But… user security?

I don’t see “security” brought up in any of the articles I’ve read on this. It was all about experience, and standards, and restrictions. There was pie, but it was all graphical charts and nothing really tasty. No security issues. So I believe that leaves Twitter’s reasoning being that they want to control the way the user experiences their service.

Do you know what I say to that? I wonder how many services 3rd party developers added to Twitter, that Twitter themselves have now “developed” versions of their own to match?

If the user experience is paramount, and the 3rd party applications deliver 42% of the tweets for a single day, I think the users rather enjoy the experience they’re getting with those applications. I think that the user should decide what experience they prefer.

Do you know what I think, Twitter? I think your mobile app is frustrating, and I much preferred Twidroyd for usability, or even Tweetcaster. I don’t think I would bother tweeting on my phone so much if the only app I could use is the official Twitter app. Maybe you should be hiring these developers instead of shutting them out.

The point is that Twitter is about to die.

If Twitter stops 3rd party development of their service, the developers will turn elsewhere. Have a look at this: I Can’t Believe It’s Not Twitter

Soon the “World Wide Watercooler” that is Twitter will be shattered into a dozen services. The connectivity will be gone, and the idea will be broken. Wise up, Twitter, and realize that you either take advantage of change or change takes advantage of you.