Throughout Twitter’s infancy, the company had a loose philosophy toward its APIs. Six years later, Twitter has grown up. And as the 140-million-plus user service continues to expand to reach main stream audiences, Twitter knows it needs to assert and define itself more than ever.
Which is why it seems Twitter decided to end its tweet syndication partnership with LinkedIn. Previously, LinkedIn had a deal with Twitter which allowed for syndication of users tweets inside of LinkedIn’s flowing user activity stream. As a result of that syndication, much of the recently added tweet features — expandable tweets, threaded conversations, and the like — weren’t showing up on users’ LinkedIn pages.
“Ultimately, we want to make sure that the Twitter experience is straightforward and easy to understand,” wrote Twitter consumer product lead Michael Sippey in a company blog post, “whether you’re on Twitter.com or elsewhere on the web.”
I’ve heard from several sources that while ending the LinkedIn deal was big, more of the same is coming. Twitter Product Manager Sippey’s blog post, which went up just minutes before LinkedIn’s, contained some especially strong wording, a harbinger of what’s to come for other developers:
“…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,” Sippey wrote.
So who’s next?
All those who are using Twitter APIs but not displaying it the way Twitter wants. As Sippey’s post notes, it seems that copycat clients — or third party apps that really don’t add much value outside of what Twitter.com offers — may be on the chopping block: “Back in March of 2011,” Sippey writes, “my colleague Ryan Sarver said that developers should not ‘build client apps that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience.’”
Some people who should start worrying: Flipboard, Tweetbot, Hootsuite?
Twitter-mimicking developers take heed: There is a sea change coming. And Twitter, not you, will soon be in fuller control of its user experience.