Twitter vs. Third Parties

Yesterday, Twitter posted a new entry on their developer blog talking about their desire to deliver a “consistent Twitter experience” across platforms.

Twitter is full of crap. What Twitter really wants is to push ads in your face. Recently, they started running “Sponsored Tweets” in user timelines online and in the official Twitter app for iPhone. These tweets are not regular tweets that you might see in your timeline. They are tweets that companies paid to put in your timeline. They are advertisements.

Twitter isn’t pushing these ads in third-party apps, though—at least not yet. Many developers are worried about yesterday’s “ominous” blog post, and see it as a potential threat to their software and API usage.

Let me ask you a question. If Twitter truly cared about delivering a “consistent” experience, would they really have so many different interfaces across platforms? The iPhone, iPad, web, and Mac versions of the “Twitter experience” are all so different that I really can’t begin to fathom how Twitter could possibly claim to care about uniformity or consistency.


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Twitter ipad app profile view


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Twitter for Mac doesn’t even support Twitter’s own native photo sharing service yet! Twitter for iPad, which is the same exact file as Twitter for iPhone, does not yet have the new design debuted several months ago. The Mac version still looks like the (old) iPad version, is full of bugs, and is generally unreliable. None of Twitter’s clients have been updated to use the new icon Twitter announced a few weeks ago.

And yet Twitter says they care about “consistency”. I say that’s a load of crap. The only thing consistent we’re going to see from Twitter anytime soon is a bunch of unwanted ads being pushed in our faces consistently no matter where we look, not to mention a consistent track record of making life as difficult as possible for the third-party developers who got them where they are today.

Twitter did not own any first-party clients until just a few years ago. Without third-party clients, we would have still been using Twitter the way it was originally created: using SMS messages and a web interface. Imagine that for a minute, then thank a Twitter app developer for their hard work (and PAY for their work, if they charge).

Twitter would have been dead in the water years ago if not for the work third-party developers put into creating the best social networking software they could imagine. Twitter is being incredibly selfish and greedy by continually updating their developer agreement to make life harder for those who brought them success, all in an attempt to get more money through ad impressions in your timeline.

One thing is certain: if Twitter cuts off third-party developers entirely, a new service will rise up and take its place in a heartbeat, and users will undoubtedly flock to it if the developers take their talent there. I know I certainly will.