I don't know much about Twitter politics, but we've got:
- Developer hostility this week
- User hostility last week, with the dickbar
So maybe this is just how it goes now that Costolo is in charge. "Fuck the loyalists, we're here to make some money. Getting sick of these third party tools charging coin for our damn API while we get nothing."
If so, the question becomes: who creates more value on Twitter? Is it the old guard, who use it as a communications and community medium? Or is it the mainstream, following celebrities and talking about sandwiches they're eating, eyeballs to be sold to the highest bidder?
(edit: My hunch is that, too late, the Pareto principle will be discovered hard at work: 20% or less of Twitter users actually generate 80% of the value. I just can't see it as a bland, empty consumption tool. There's surely peril in optimizing toward that.)
It sounds to me like Twitter wants to round up its user-cattle and drive them on down to monetization gulch. Anyone who gets in the way of this is going to be flattened.
Uh, yeah. Is that really surprising? We're all being driven to Monetization Gulch to escape the absolutely fatal Winter of Unprofitability.
Your sarcastic grunting aside, it's utterly shocking. Imagine Google, circa 2001, with crass, interstitial banner ads between search and SERP. It would have destroyed them. The opportunity for heaps and heaps of money, gone in a single, vulgar puff of smoke.
Twitter has the opportunity to leverage a critical mass of enthusiastic users. This is a rare, golden gift.
Last time this happened, Facebook minted some billionaires while discovering a sustainable, user-virtuous business model. There were growing pains, especially with the early, spammy apps, but overall, Facebook has managed to balance the needs of a lot of people without screwing up the magic of their product.
The time before that, Google did the same thing.
Sadly, rather than pushing toward a business model that makes the most of the very impressive ecosystem they've cultivated, it looks as though they want to break down the most interesting portions of it and then find money in whatever turns out on the other side.
The lasting virtue of Twitter, to me, always seemed to be that it would always be whatever any given user needed it to be, thanks to the wealth of apps that dip into its API. If that goes away, Twitter's shelf life is curtailed.
To me, it seems nutty, and not terribly imaginative. Ask Digg: pissing off your core constituency so you can hopefully make money is not the same as actually making money.
So, after all this ranting about Twitter's change - what do you suggest they do to "actually make money?" Isn't that the end-game for every company? Is twitter even close to justifying their private valuations with revenue? I haven't seen anything from you that suggests an alternative approach that actually makes them more money, other than "don't do that."
You also previously mentioned that twitter has a rare golden gift of leveraging a critical mass of enthusiastic users.
My thoughts about that? Show me the money! So far, they aren't doing that.
I don't mind the current promoted trends/tweets/follows, I guess the only thing I would change is call the promoted trend something else, because it isn't really a trend.
It's not. That's not easy, that's a fundamentally realignment of the product.
What if you're a normal guy and you get famous from some youtube video? Now you're a celebrity. Pay up - but oops, you're broke? Fuck it, you're off Twitter.
Not gonna work. :/
There are definitely options.
On a similar note, though, I am surprised that this hasn't sparked more discussion about the distributed open source social networking movements. I know Dave Winer's been talking about quitting Twitter working on some sort of alternative. There seem to be some interesting answers to Facebook that could orthogonally solve similar problems to the ones Twitter does. Anyone know of any other interesting work along these lines?
Why yes it is. Twitter went out of their way to say how much they supported developers and considered them key to their success. That wouldn't seem to include making Titan off limits.
If we start seeing a lot of Dickbar-level gaffes from Twitter though, it may end up that the other 20% starts flocking to something else (kind of like the slow exodus from MySpace to Facebook).
Since the nerds founded the Twitter community, I wouldn't be surprised to see the next move be some sort of open, distributed, federated Twitter-clone that mirrors the existing APIs. Easy win for the client developers, no one to be a buzzkill, and it's not like spam can be any worse than it is now anyway.
I've used identi.ca almost as long as twitter, and my preferred client Twidroyd on the Android supports both of them (thanks to the fact that identi.ca has an option to use an API made to emulate the twitter-API).
I highly prefer identi.ca to twitter, and the only thing keeping me on the twitter-network at all is the fact that most of the people I follow only are on twitter, and for some strange reason it's very hard to convince people to change, even though, in my opinion, identi.ca is superior.
I really hope they soon manage to get a twitter-pull up and running (they have been talking about that for a long time now). If they managed that I would convert fully to identi.ca.
Edit: Got to update my browser more often... Sorry bingaman
Generally I almost only use free software, and prefer open-platforms whenever possible. I actually can't remember the last time I used non-free software.
You can see this in action at https://identi.ca/conversation/60337615 (which also points out some of the rough edges).
well, if one didn't put him/herself into Myspace in the first place, the one wouldn't need to seek refuge.
I don't really think this is hostility - I think it makes sense for Twitter and for developers; people who've just been trying to replace Twitter themselves were always fighting a losing battle.
Until today, "Twitter itself" referred to the network, not the clients.
Except when it doesn't.
It's not a zero-sum game-- the house winning doesn't mean that the bettor loses. Zynga, Rovio, and FourSquare are all pretty fat on platforms they don't own.
The point is that in the end, you're never going to be in a better position than the guy who runs the show. You can often win alongside them, and that might be the bulk of developers, but if you're enjoying a better position than the platform operator, that's not going to last forever.
Zynga is making $50M per month: http://www.engagedigital.com/2010/05/14/zynga-revenue-estima... (they've raised $500M).
Foursquare is a bit farther from monetizing... Not sure if I'd bet on them but they would be nowhere without the FB/Twitter platforms under their feet. But they've raised ~$20M on a rumored $100M valuation.
That isn't debt. In both cases, the companies sold a small minority stake of ownership for a huge pile of cash into the company coffers.
Not debt, but it's still money owed.
False, and inanity.
> (edit: My hunch is that, too late, the Pareto principle will be discovered hard at work: 20% or less of Twitter users actually generate 80% of the value. I just can't see it as a bland, empty consumption tool. There's surely peril in optimizing toward that.)
Sounds like what Digg tried. On the other hand, while we can see how that one went Digg had competition.
What's Twitter's competition? What other almost-but-not-quite-as-used (say within an order of magnitude) microblogging service is there out there?
tumblr, for some demographics.
Convore is infinitely more optimized for community than Twitter was, though it remains to be seen if the structure helps or hinders organic community growth.
This service was built when Jaiku was being run down by Google, and features microblogging with threaded comments, embedded media and language filters
A lot of people also made money in these areas but clung to their companies' obsolete business models for so long their net gain was modest or negative by the end as they rode them down to the crash.
Twitter, like Apple, right or wrong, wants to have complete control of their platform. It certainly is within their rights and not at all shocking that at a certain point, they would reset certain parameters. Whether they go too far remains to be seem. We probably don't need any more Twitter clients, but who knows. Maybe the slickest, most awesome. voice-activated, built-in hipness meter, Twitterlishous(tm) has yet to be written.