While Twitter's "days of imminent technical meltdown" may be in the past, the company has run into a host of other troubles in recent months. As a part of its efforts to monetize and stabilize its once shaky servers, the company has sent signal after signal that developers should watch where they stand, lest they be squashed in future developments. The effect has been one of creating a great deal of fear, uncertainty and doubt amongst those - the developers, founders and CEOs - who have elevated Twitter to the height it enjoys today.
This week, however, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey announced his return and these self-same members of the Twitter ecosystem have renewed hope that they and Twitter could work together again.
Dorsey, who had since moved on to found mobile payments company Square, announced in a Tweet on Monday that he would be returning to Twitter.
"Today I'm thrilled to et back to work at @Twitter," wrote Dorsey, "leading product as Executive Chairman. And yes: leading @Square forevermore as CEO. #200%"
The announcement has proven to be good news for many in the ecosystem and we asked around to see what the founders, developers and CEOs who've found themselves in the middle of it all lately had to say.
"I think having the father, the architect of Twitter (the service) returning should galvanize the team around his product vision and direction. Can't see that being a bad thing. Unsurprisingly, I'd ask if this vision is predicated on the one size (UI) fits all - although I'd ask that of a lot of services, especially Facebook."
TwapperKeeper Founder John O'Brien
"Jack's return will be a huge step in the right direction. I believe we will see more innovation in the Twitter product / platform - which will be good for both users and developers. However, I don't necessarily think that we will go back to the wild wild west of the early days. I think control (via ToS, etc) will continue to be maintained as the platform matures and strives for profitability. But a step in the right direction no doubt..."
"As a founder of a startup that integrates with Twitter, the announcement of Jack Dorsey returning as executive chairman is a positive sign that the company is looking to reduce the tensions between Twitter and the developer ecosystem. As one of the original visionaries for Twitter, Jack is uniquely positioned to re-align the company and mend fences from the ubermedia and #dickbar events. [...] Structurally, Jack's return will not directly affect developer relations. The new rules that @rsarver posted aren't going to change. Emotionally, however, bringing back an original co-founder seems like Twitter is moving in the right direction to 'fix' things."
"Personally it gives me hope that some of the awesome from years past will be returning to Twitter. Most of the innovation over the last year or so feels monetization orientated - not for the users benefit. While that's got to continue to grow Twitter's profits, I hope that we see some more interesting innovation occurring again. They've innovated in their clients - but not so much in the base utility that's available for apps to build on top of.
I think a common feeling amongst the developers I've spoken to is that Twitter's sent a pretty clear message with their last API announcement. Basically that they're not interested in external developers playing much of a role in the ecosystem anymore. I don't think Jack's involvement will change that.
As a user, I have hopes that he'll be bringing more innovation to the core product (probably to Favstar's deteriment eventually) and we'll be seeing Twitter becoming a more useful tool for finding out about topics you're interested in, rather than just following people you're interested in."
"Jack is a visionary and he invented Twitter. It can only be good news that he's coming back somehow to drive product. I am really glad to hear that and I could not believe it at first. It's also great news for the developers as Jack really values an ecosystem around his product. I think Twitter has grown up though and won't let others compete with its users eyeballs and advertising dollars, that's why I'm happy I have positioned Seesmic to help brands grow on Twitter, we're not competing in any way."
Hacker Advocate Abraham Williams
"Square has amazing polish and refinement. If that eye for detail is turned to @twitterapi it could push it to the next level."
What do you think? Will Jack's return be good for users and developers alike? Or has Twitter set in motion the eventual demise of its developer ecosystem?