Claiming a desire to deliver “a more consistent Twitter experience,” today the San Francisco company announced a laundry list of changes, many of them vague, to how developers can access tweets, prompting outrage, confusion and frustration from the third party developers who piggyback on the microblogging site’s ecosystem.
Many view the change as the latest move from the company towards tightening its grip and owning the platform, a move that will eventually choke out and steer users to only use Twitter’s own apps.
“It’s going to require energy and it’s not ideal,” Benzer said. “We’re going to have to register for an API key which isn’t that big of a deal, but we’re going to have to make it work.”
Benzer said he’s more concerned about his FanMix site, a Gmail like service for social networks, collecting all your social conversations and email, into one unified inbox. Right now FanMix users can sign in with their Twitter accounts, which uses Twitter’s API.
“Basically it (FanMix) pulls in all your tweets and mentions of you and displays them,” he said. Today’s move by Twitter threatens that model.
“It’s obviously a move for a more restrictive API,” he said. Today’s move will stop public developers from writing script that gets data from Twitter. “That signals a shift in the company’s direction. The general feeling is that they want people to use Twitter and not apps built on Twitter.”
Bottlenose CEO Nova Spivack took to Twitter to vent this afternoon. He swayed from angry to acceptance and back again, seemingly by the minute.
Not long after that tweet, he wrote “Information wants to be free. Twitter is going against the tide. The music industry couldn’t stop it from happening. How will Twitter?”
Brian Norgard, the founder of social video site Chill sees today’s move as the logical step in Twitter’s move towards owning the field. He says the writing on the wall was clear to see, several months ago. Twitter has gone from being a toy, to being one of the most powerful media companies on the planet, he said.
“You’re dancing with the devil when you’re building on top of another platform,” said Norgard. He thinks the move was done to maintain control. “If you’re going to do something core, like reading tweets, Twitter is going to probably want to control that aspect of the business.”
Norgard says his site won’t be affected, but says “I feel for a lot of developers.”
Still, he tempered that by saying the changes have happened before and will happen again, citing Photobucket building on the back of Myspace.
“Twitter’s not the first, won’t be the last.”