Some recent topics that are on my mind having to do with the Twitter Ecosystem might be worth getting out and on to my blog. So here it goes.
“The Twitters” in my title refers to any service who has relied on Twitter (API, FireHose, Partnerships etc) and has evolved to the point where their own user base is significant enough to lift them out from a reliance on Twitter. They get into a position where they become their own competing realtime Info Network. The Twitters are typically companies that have revolved around their Twitter Client Software which is where many users interact with Twitter. It is this business that Twitter has been trying to
kill slacken in order to control the user experience with consistent UI and of course to “control the flow”. Twitter continues to modify developer terms and tighten access to the pipes.
Twitter purchased the most popular iOS Twitter Client (Twitter for iPhone) and released their own official Android app and they are working to improve upon the consistent user experience in the coming months. Meanwhile, It’s been interesting to watch how companies have been pivoting and strategizing in response to Twitter’s clamp-down. Some shift focus to the Enterprise market while others who have the resources gear up in a different way.
UberMedia has been a significant player and most recently acquired TweetDeck, arguably the most popular Twitter Client independent of Twitter, Inc’s own apps. Now in order to evolve in this space and move forward, 3rd party companies will need to balance between partnerships and competition with Twitter. Their will likely be a tilt where we will see more emphasis on the competition side with more increased pricing by Twitter for access to their FireHose and smaller data stream options in addition to other entries into the Twitter product lines. But partnerships will of course still be in the mix. It may take a while before these companies play nice with each other though. It seems that we’re entering a fierce phase where small developers are certainly left in the dust and larger companies are shaken up… and those who remain afloat will be the fittest and best candidates for new partnership terms. Their are a few other companies that are probably worth mentioning but UberMedia seems to be the most relavant and agressive player right now. Just look at their site and see how many Twitter related products are a part of their line-up. Not to mention that it was born out of Bill Gross‘s IdeaLab.
Obvious stuff, right? Monetization via ads is still the business at hand here. Sure, their is some experimentation and innovation and money-making outside of ads (most just different/new forms of ad units) but these companies are gearing up for the next revolution in the ad market… beyond what Google has done in Search….. Now it is the monetization of Social and News. When twitter charges for the FireHose, it’s not really to make money. They are weeding out solo developers, unfundables and dying startups. Likewise, their product offerings are all targeted to big pockets (for now). Business is Business. Way it is. Way it should be. Even when it doesn’t start out that way. Truth is, developers who latched on to twitter’s open API in any serious manner (starting a real business) had to do so while knowing the inevitable evolution of a successful mass-adopted service. If you expected an everlasting Utopia, then that’s your own fault.
So what are we going to see happen next? Will we see a shift similar to the Myspace Fall and Facebook Rise in the next 3-5 years where Twitter loses its traction as one or two viable competing networks rises to the top? Will it inevitably be in the control of Mass Media Channels and which Darling Company they pick next and plaster all over their TV shows, newspapers, magazines, radio, apps, web etc? Would Twitter have risen as they have without the FREE promotion they received from the Celebrity Circle (not to mention the early adopters in the tech Industry)?. Either way, Twitter has enough money and traction to last more than five years at or near the top…. probably closer to ten years. Still, UberMedia and NewCos are out there and coming. And it will be very interesting to see the co-evolution of Social & News Info Networks.
I can’t end without talking up the little guy. Yeah a little something called the Open Web. Quite vast and powerful as it is, it has been getting pushed aside in favor of focused centralized corporate efforts that can iterate and (re)invent and (re)innovate quickly and ruthlessly (dismissing most prior art, standards, and working groups etc in favor of proprietary (re)inventions with a sprinkling of patents on top). So what of the Open Web in context to all of this?
And as always, Content Remains King. Wherever it lives.