The recent news that Tweetdeck, a third party timeline app recently acquired by Twitter, was being shut down on all but two platforms, was another reminder to the early-adopters and tech-savvy crowd of just how much the company's DNA has evolved over since 2006, all in the name of profitability.
A developer's dream
When Twitter first started out it was this curious startup that only geeks and early-adopters got. Even after its success in 2007 at SXSW, most non-tech or geeks reaction to their first few uses of Twitter was "I don't get it". However to geeks, it's openness in the form of their stable and inviting API was a stroke a genius and it quickly converted many geeks into evangelist. Twitter added fuel to the fire by being very active within the dev community, adding features to the API and in general being very collaborative. It's safe to say that in the early days Twitter not just survived but thrived because of it legions of loyal geeks. In this point in the game it was about growing the user rolls..
An early fork in the road came in April of 2009 when Ashton Kutcher openly challenged CNN to a race to the first millionth follower. The event created a lot of fanfare for Twitter and was the first sign of its growing cultural relevance outside of Silicon Valley. Soon after, now that Twitter was on their radar, many public figures including Oprah would create. Presence on the network. This jumping of the shark would do wonders for it in terms of new users. A few years later in 2011, Twitter would hit a magic milestones for advertisers, the 100 million active users mark. With its user rolls now fat, Twitter's mission was to figure how to make money.
The Day The Twitter Universe stood still
On march 11, 2011 a message to theTwitter Google group signaled the end of the era of no-limit collaboration by making it clear that Twitter was focusing on the timeline experience and that it was reclaiming the experience in the name of consistency. However it was clear that Twitter felt it had to own and tightly control the timeline experience in order to make money.
More of the same
What has happened since is more events that push twitter towards a more closed and controlled environment with making money still a goal. One is left to speculate as to why it has chosen to abandon its first fans. While that API remains the spirit of collaboration is lone gone. Developers and tech-savvy users are left to wonder why. Was it a resources issue as there were more than 300,000 apps leveraging twitter or was it reclaiming the influencers and power users, the very audience for 3rd party apps, the ultimate goal.
Lost in that endaveour are its identity and most ardent supporters. the irony is that it is now at its most popular and vulnerable point. the audience that uses it are fickle and new entrants like a Snapchat could quickly spell the end of Twitter. Now heather it makes money or not, the implicit contract it entered with its early users is null and void. We're no longer needed, since having been replaced by Oprah, the Trump and hashtags in superbowl ads.
What do you think? Do you still trust Twitter and have a positive view of them? Why?