Everyone Has To Have At Least One App.net / Twitter Rules Post, Don't They?

Hot on the heels of the kickstarter funding of App.net came this announcement from Twitter:

In the coming weeks we will release version 1.1 of the Twitter API. To help you plan ahead, we’re announcing these changes now, before the new version of the API is available. Changes will include:

  • required authentication on every API endpoint

  • a new per-endpoint rate-limiting methodology

  • changes to our Developer Rules of the Road, especially around applications that are traditional Twitter clients. [[link]](https://dev.twitter.com/blog/changes-coming-to-twitter-api)

Of course, for the new backers/supporters/users/evangelists of App.net1, this is manna from heaven. Suddenly the vague antipathy towards Twitter’s new direction that they’ve thrashed into a righteous frenzy of revolutionary rabble-rousing has a much more tangible talking-point. It couldn’t have happened at a better time for them, and it makes you wonder if anyone at Twitter ever actually goes on the internet, or if they just read about it in their textbooks in business school. The changes made by Twitter affect (most directly) developers… and guess what 90% of App.net’s new backers do for a living?2

The unfortunate truth is that only 23% of Twitter traffic is from 3rd-party apps. I’d imagine that a lot of those using that 23% are presumably more invested in Twitter, meaning that if those apps go away, or start focusing more on other social services, they’ll jump ship back to the official interfaces, just to stay connected with their followers and followees. App.net is a great thing… but not truly a Twitter contender. That’s probably fine, if there’s enough self-awareness there to recognize that.

The real danger for Twitter, I think,3 isn’t the crackdown on 3rd-party integration. The real danger is that implementation of monetizing strategies will drive users away - and to be honest that’s hardly much of a threat either, if you consider how happy the average browser user is to install ad-infested toolbars.

After all’s said and done, it’s hardly surprising that Twitter has come to this, from the hobbyist-style 3rd-party beginnings that made it succeed where others failed, to the on-message MBA closed-system that it’s fast becoming. That’s capitalism for you, and you can see a similar story told a hundred times over.4 The question is, do they have the critical mass to weather decreased user-satisfaction? I think so.

One glimmer of hope for me was this post from Paul Haddad of Tapbots:

There?s been a lot of fear, uncertainty and doubt generated by Twitter?s latest announcement. I wanted to let everyone know that the world isn?t ending, Tweetbot for Mac is coming out soon, Tweetbot for iOS isn?t going anywhere. So sit down, grab a towel and let?s go over some of these API changes. [[link]](http://tapbots.com/blog/news/dont-panic)

A little bit of calm amongst the storm.

  1. I happen to be on App.net myself as “it”.

  2. Or want to do for a living. There is an awful lot of posturing and bravado and “we developers” on App.net, but I’m not sure exactly how many of the users are just picking up an Objective-C primer for the first time.

  3. and what might actually drive users away from the service and onto App.net.

  4. As of this writing, AAPL is worth 648.11…