Sunday, July 1, 2012

Delivering a Consistent Twitter Experience

Michael Sippey:

Back in March of 2011, my colleague Ryan Sarver said that developers should not “build client apps that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience.” That guidance continues to apply as much as ever today. Related to that, we’ve already begun to more thoroughly enforce our Developer Rules of the Road with partners, for example with branding, and in the coming weeks, we will be introducing stricter guidelines around how the Twitter API is used.

Brent Simmons:

Were I a Twitter client developer, I would get in touch with other client developers and start talking about a way to do what Twitter does but that doesn’t require Twitter itself (or any specific company or service).

Dalton Caldwell:

When Twitter started to get traction, a year or two into their existence, I decided that Twitter was the Best Thing Ever. I realized that Twitter, because of their API, actually was a real-time protocol to connect various services in a novel way. I had debates with my other tech-nerd friends about whether Twitter could be one of the fundamental building blocks of the Internet via their powerful API.

Update (2012-07-07): Dave Winer:

Conclusion -- corporate APIs are good for the corporations that own them, and pretty much bad for everyone else. I would be reluctant to develop on any corporate API unless I was prepared to have my work completely deleted or obviated or usurped by the platform vendor. You really don’t have any power. However it’s pretty much impossible to avoid them. But try to.

2 Comments RSS · Twitter

I'm read that Twitter Corp thinks it should be evaluated around $8 billion. There are supposed to be something like 140 million Twitter users. So the evaluation is roughly $50 per user.
So here's a crazy idea: Maybe the Twitter users could buy Twitter Corp !?! And then run it as a coop.
Of course not all the users would be willing to participate in such a buyout. Maybe the numbers could still come out right if a fraction of the users paid a higher price and then made back their investment by charging a small per-year fee for a Twitter account.

Of course for that kind of money ($8 billion), we could do a fair bit of development (!). But a lot of the price (if we believe it) is just in having that number of users already signed up.

And of course, many of us would prefer that Twitter would just start charging a reasonable fee and become a user-centred (instead of advertiser-centred) company.

Proprietary platforms tend to evolve to serve the interests of their owner. Generally, that means that the more popular they become, the less open and interoperable they are. And those lock-ins in the long term makes our lives more miserable.

What we should seek instead is a decentralized, interoperable system, just like email. The good news is that it already exists, sort of, it's just lacking users.

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