Will Twitter Raise the RSS Shields?

I have not read the Twitter TOS nor researched this much. But we all know about Twitter’s seemingly sudden enforcement of their game rules (new and old). I’m waiting for the next bombshell which I have a feeling might involve how content is imported into Twitter, usually via RSS/Atom feeds, by services such as Twitterfeed, dlvr.it and others.

These 3rd party services monitor their users feeds for updates and then pushes those posts into Twitter on your behalf using the Twitter API. Technically, this is perfectly reasonable. If API limits are reached, such companies work through details of their partnerships and whitelisting terms etc. But what if these terms become undesirable or unsustainable for these 3rd party companies? Twitter could easily kill this segment of the ecosystem too and push publishers to form direct partnerships with them instead. Twitter could offer support and provide software/plugins or refer to existing solutions that help publisher’s CMS to connect directly to the Twitter API instead of through a 3rd party service.

Why would Twitter do this? The obvious reason would be a reiteration about “System Health” and reducing spam.
Essentially, this would be Twitter Pipe Cleaning. And i’m not saying it would necessarily be a bad thing either. Personally, I have used the Twitter API directly many times with my own custom software or other apps such as WordPress plugins. It’s not difficult. But some of these 3rd party services are very good and enticing. I choose the service at dlvr.it for cross-posting some of my content into Twitter. Other people praise twitterfeed.com who enjoys a very large user base right now. These services work well and are easy to use and setup. But this is also why these services can be abused and become a source for spam into Twitter.

Ideally, Twitter will allow these services to continue to run and monitor them for the type of content that comes through them. If the content is too spammy, they will get warnings and blocked when necessary. This is how it is setup now (regardless of whether or not Twitter staff/software is on top of this or not). Yet, it is entirely within the realm of possibility that twitter may prefer to make it easier on themselves and close down open automated content importing and place emphasis on partner relations with publishers instead.

Total speculation here but I would not be surprised at this point. And the truth is, the more Twitter reveals itself as a utility with certain terms and conditions and restrictions… it allows for the more open flow of content within federated networks to remain viable and relavant to the future of the Interwebs. The Open Web becomes harder to dismiss when corporate interests start to seep out into the culture of developers and publishers who are the ones that help to create these rare bottom-up network entities that become a global cultural phenomena. It’s great to have Twitter but this greatness needs to be balanced with decentralized networks that are void of any corporate financial interests.

Related posts:

  1. RSS, Twitter, People, Power And The Negligent Tech Bloggers
  2. Bitter on Twitter
  3. Yet Another Rant on RSS and Related Topics of Federating the Social and News Pipelines
  4. A Good Day for RSS and the Open Web
  5. A Response to: Rebooting RSS/Feed Readers