Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Twitter Cards with link to mobile app

Twitter had a developer meetup and announced upcoming Twitter Cards.  The concept of Twitter Cards have not changed much.  It allowed third party developers to embed their rich content, such as summary of content, photo or video clip as part of the expanded tweet.  But what's new was the link to mobile app where viewers can download the mobile app.

This means as tweets get passed around, so does the link to the original app through which the content was shared.  Just like Facebook users clicked on click to play FarmVille link, Twitter third party developers can use Twitter to spread their adoption and maintain active user base.

Twitter has all grown up.  It has come full circle and realized that it now has to compete with Facebook to compete for mobile user's eyeball time.  As its final act to demonstrate that it's now fully claiming itself as its own social network, Twitter wants to be a social network that is friendly to app developers again.
I can understand why Twitter needs to court third party app developers.  That's because social networks are compartmentalized by users, and there will always be smaller networks and mobile apps where people are going to use regardless of how feature-parity Twitter will be with all the other networks.  But what I don't get is the reversal of how Twitter suddenly decided to be more friendly to third party developers and hope that they all come back to leverage their user base after shortchanging many developers leading up to the event.

I'm sure Twitter was looking for a way to monetize their platform, and one of them is to make money from third party developers who are using their platform.  In order to do that, I guess they figured Twitter had to clean up their older API usage terms and get ready to clamp down the API access by restricting what kinds of apps are okay and what the acceptable rate limits would be.

I am not sure how developer communities will react to this.  Using Twitter to bootstrap a new social application is and will be a risky maneuver because the relationship between the newbie and Twitter is such a lopsided one.  Twitter is already a huge player, and upcoming social app developers will have to agree to more onerous terms to get access to Twitter user base.  Relying on purely Twitter to distribute the app is not going to be the strategy adopted by many.

This means third party app developers have to think about going sans Twitter even if they work with Twitter to integrate with Twitter Cards.  I'm not sure how much value this will be for the app developers.

If you are a developer, what is your thoughts on the Twitter Cards announcement?

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