At first glance and skimming main point of Twitter’s new API announcement, my thoughts were “Twitter is a bunch of jerks.” They loudly and clearly state they want a unified user experience across all registered Twitter Apps and will enforce their policy on anyone who doesn’t follow. This instantly reminded me of the tyrannic hammer they brought down on UberTwitter for “policy violations.” Litterally shutting of access to API until specific demands were met.
I read this announcement a few times (5 to be exact) and pulled out all the sentiment. First, consider Twitter as a business. User experience is going to be very high on their priority list. It’s true what they say, there are many apps and all offer a slightly different twitter experience. That’s why we have “favorite” apps. I recently just converted to Hootsuite from Tweetdeck because I realized a better experience. What I feared when reading the announcement was that my experience would change! After calming down, I realized in all likelihood it would not. I used to be a TwiDroyd user, one of the companies Twtter cracked down on, and their experience even after the changes, weren’t altered too drastically. Second, understand Twitter has grown significantly and has become more influential in that past year than I think even the guru’s has expected it to be. There have been 100′s of third party apps hitching on the train of ever increasing Twitter users. It was never going to be a free ride. At some point some governance of Twitter and it’s third party developers was going to take place.
In their announcement, I don’t think Twitter is becoming a microblogging Nazi – although that was my first impression. In fact, I believe they are truly open to developers. In their recent growth they’ve recognized the importance of a unified experience across the board – a great business move. Is it going to be a pain the ass for some developers, yes, but it’s not going to ruin anyone who had a quality product in the first place.
The true test will be to see what Twitter considers the best user experience. Will they, in spite of their wants, listen to the wants of users and developers a like, in true democratic fashion.