Just two weeks after Twitter introduced expanded tweets for brands, product team director Michael Sippey reiterated Twitter’s intentions with regards to its product and distribution of content on the company’s developer blog. Upon reading it thoroughly it’s never been clearer that Twitter aims to control its product more so than ever before. In aiming to deliver a consistent experience, the days of third party apps seem to be numbered.
As Sippey noted in his post, Twitter’s director of platform Ryan Sarver last year fired a warning shot at third party developers to discourage them from creating applications that mimic Twitter’s own and deliver identical Twitter experience to consumers. This is simply an extension of that directive and LinkedIn is the first casualty.
At the same time, LinkedIn published a post on its own blog noting that it will no longer be deliver tweets on its network. The relationship between these two companies began in 2009 and LinkedIn users were able to display their tweets on their LinkedIn profile page. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether synchronizing your tweets to LinkedIn is a wise move, but in any case, this is no longer possible as of today.
LinkedIn is the first casualty of Twitter’s strict implementation of its intentions and rules regarding its API. Twitter has, over time, introduced tools to get content delivered via Twitter and to have tweets featured or embedded on external sites or services, but as it turns out, it no longer means doing it like LinkedIn does.
Here’s what Sippey said about Twitter going forward:
“We’re building tools for publishers and investing more and more in our own apps to ensure that you have a great experience everywhere you experience Twitter, no matter what device you’re using. You need to be able to see expanded Tweets and other features that make Twitter more engaging and easier to use. These are the features that bring people closer to the things they care about. These are the features that make Twitter Twitter. We’re looking forward to working with you to make Twitter even better.”
As I said two weeks ago, it doesn’t look like Twitter has plans to allow third party apps like Tweetbot, Echofon, SocialScope, MehDoh, and the rest to integrate expanded tweets into their apps. Third party apps also do not deliver Twitter’s advertising efforts which is becoming the primary backbone by which Twitter generates revenue.
Getting third party Twitter clients to deliver these promoted tweets, suggested users, and promoted trends in addition to expanded tweets for brands means Twitter may have to work out some sort of a revenue sharing agreement and rather than do that, looks like it will choose to cut off these apps altogether under the pretense of delivering consistent experience.
Twitter is treading on dangerous territory here. Unlike Facebook, Twitter’s existence had always been strongly supported by third party developers providing fully featured applications that enhance the Twitter experience. Facebook on the other hand had always had its own apps for mobile devices except for the iPad for over a year. There are still third party apps that try to deliver the Facebook experience but they are far from being significant and very few take advantage of them.
Without third party apps, Twitter would not have been the significant network of information that it is today, but also during that time, Twitter had no revenue to speak of. Once Twitter figured out that delivering advertising is going to be their revenue source, it wants to make sure every member gets to see their ads and this means severing ties with apps that deliver similar experience.