That Twitter wants to exercise more control over their user’s experience and, hence, its whole ecosystem, it is not new. Until now, Twitter’s moves in this direction haven’t had major and practical impact on how we were used to consume the service. For example:
- Twitter stopped displaying app names in tweets.
- Twitter sets maximum user caps for 3rd party clients and tightens API rules to direct users to official apps.
Ok, I admit that this second one, represents a threat for some users and developers in the medium term. But, fortunately, I haven’t seen any issues because of it. However, that only means that I am not aware of them, not that they don’t exist. So, if you happen to know of any, just let me know!
The context is quite different now. Substantially, I’d say. Why? Because we have started to directly observe and feel the consequences of Twitter’s “Developer Rules of the Road”. For example, IFTTT users have recently received two notifications regarding Twitter-owned services:
Additionally, RSS feeds for user’s timelines have been integrated into the API. In other words, the traditional RSS links no longer work. For example, these were the old URLs for my own Twitter account:
- http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/47080357.rss – No longer works.
- https://api.twitter.com/1/statuses/user_timeline/47080357.rss – No longer works.
And this is now the correct way of retrieving my timeline in RSS format:
Let me remark some excerpts found on the “Developer Rules of the Road”:
Twitter maintains an open platform that supports the millions of people around the world who are sharing and discovering what's happening now. We want to empower our ecosystem partners to build valuable businesses around the information flowing through Twitter. At the same time, we aim to strike a balance between encouraging interesting development and protecting both Twitter's and users' rights.
So, we've come up with a set of Developer Rules of the Road (“Rules“) that describes the policies and philosophy around what type of innovation is permitted with the content and information shared on Twitter.
4. You will not attempt or encourage others to:
A. sell, rent, lease, sublicense, redistribute, or syndicate access to the Twitter API or Twitter Content to any third party without prior written approval from Twitter.
- If you provide an API that returns Twitter data, you may only return IDs (including tweet IDs and user IDs).
- You may export or extract non-programmatic, GUI-driven Twitter Content as a PDF or spreadsheet by using “save as” or similar functionality. Exporting Twitter Content to a datastore as a service or other cloud based service, however, is not permitted.
… and now some particular phrases from the “Twitter Rules”:
Our goal is to provide a service that allows you to discover and receive content from sources that interest you as well as to share your content with others. We respect the ownership of the content that users share and each user is responsible for the content he or she provides. Because of these principles, we do not actively monitor user’s content and will not censor user content, except in limited circumstances described below.
I’m convinced that everyone will have his own opinion about this. Anyway, you should realize that the wording is clear but carefully ambiguous. It is true that current changes seem to be impacting Developers and Service Providers that consume the Twitter’s API. But:
- What about Twitter’s RSS feeds (Twitter Content) consumed from blogs in WordPress.com (a Cloud Service)?
- Will RSS feeds be shut down? Will they be banned from certain “Cloud Services”?
- What do they mean exactly by a “Cloud Service”? Will it mean the same tomorrow?
- Are RSS feeds considered by Twitter a content export channel?
- If we are the owners of our content (because we are responsible for it), and RSS feeds our export channel, why Twitter has the right to tell me what can I do with it once it is outside their domain of control?
Of course, there are many more questions and debates around this …
Fortunately, Twitter RSS feeds keep working the way they used to do. They are a powerful tool and I will keep using them for as long as possible. However, in my humble opinion and given the current wording of Twitter’s Terms and Conditions, I don’t know why, sooner or later, they might not be at stake too.
Anyhow, at least from an integration perspective, dealing with Twitter has become a risky business. That is why I no longer consider Twitter a main Social Hub in my social integration strategy. Of course, it is a channel which acts both as a content Source and a content Destination but not a Social Hub any more.
My original plan was to update and review the Social Media Interconnection Map over the next year. Unfortunately, all this has happened too close to the release of the 2012 Edition and I didn’t feel very confortable with a published solution that no longer works and that have had such a short life cycle. Therefore, over the past weeks I’ve been doing a full redesign and testing of a Social Media Interconnection Map 2012 v2. And here it is! I wish you like it! :D
Anyway, in the long run, a Social Hub is an important piece for a Social Integration Architecture. So, even though, we have temporary workaround, it is only a matter of time that we will need it again. So, it’s worth investing efforts in this area. But, for now, let’s wait for 2013! ;-).
Well, this is it! What do you think about this new version? What do you think about this problem?
Image source: http://bit.ly/Ryrl6C