Let me start by saying something which I hope is obvious. Twitter belongs to Twitter. It's their game and they can take their ball home any time they like.
Therefore, all whinging and whining by jilted developers ought to hold no more weight than kids moaning that it's all so unfair!
Still, my blog, my rules. Let the kvetching begin...
Twitter knows a fair bit about me. I've contributed over 26,000 tweets. Enough to fill that book I keep promising I'll write. It knows my connections, what I favourite, what I retweet, what I had for breakfast.
Yet this is the bullshit which passes for a promoted Tweet.
(Incidentally, that link got around 3,250 clicks from Twitter users. Wonder how much they paid for it?)
Twitter needs to make money. For some ridiculous decision, they've decided that selling eyeballs to advertisers is the way forward.
Judged on this, and other mis-targeted Tweets, Twitter is going bankrupt soon. Their targeting sucks, their implementation is obnoxious, and their goodwill is plummeting.
So, as I said:
Then came Twitter's Night of the Long Knives. AKA "Hey! Developers! Fuck you very much!"
The Twitter of Christmas Past
A couple of years ago, I spent a few hours with Raffi - Twitter's brand-new developer evangelist. We chatted about Dabr, and I gave him some pointers on how I would like entities to work. He seemed to take the feedback on board and, happily, at least some of my ideas made it into production.
Dabr was developed because Twitter didn't have a very good mobile experience. We became very popular in countries like Indonesia where data was cheap, but phones were expensive.
The adverts on Dabr paid for the hosting and left a little over for beer money each month. We weren't major league players, yet in 2010 we had nearly half-a-million users. We stopped counting open source clones once we hit a hundred of them - although we noticed when ÜberSocial Mobile
picked us for their mobile web solution.
I wasn't planning on revolutionising the world, it was just a fun coding project that somehow helped Ai Weiwei break through the Great Firewall of China.
Which was nice.
All was good in the Twitter-verse. Or so I thought.
The March Of The Idiots
All you need to know about MBAs is encapsulated in this quote.
Harvard - one of the most prestigious universities - awarded an MBA to George W Bush. A man many of us wouldn't trust to sit the right way round on a toilet.
-- Terence Eden
Twitter decided that they needed to make money. There's no shame in that. What is shameful is how boring they have been.
- Sell eyeballs to advertisers.
- Sell access to the firehose for megabucks.
- If you're a very large company, we may do some nebulous deal with you.
That, it appears, is that. Nothing to harness the power of the crowds, no way to work with the thousands of developers, ignoring the millions of small businesses who rely on Twitter.
Either you're a big business or you can piss off. Small developers have been told they can play no part in this brave new world.
So This Is It
Twitter just isn't fun any more.
- As a developer, I've been relegated to a third class citizen.
- As a user, I'm clearly not as important to Twitter as celebrities and those who follow them.
- As someone who has directed hundreds of thousands of users to Twitter, I feel like a kicked puppy.
- As a regular contributor, I feel taken for a chump. I'm merely fodder for advertisers.
So, for now, it's goodbye. My Dabr development is now focussed on App.net. My Twitter usage is relegated to a few auto-tweets & checking it for a few minutes when the withdrawal gets too much.
Maybe I'll be back when the infamous "Twitter Quadrant" looks more like this: