Adam Green
Twitter API Consultant

The coming Twitter land rush

by Adam Green on July 12, 2012

in Apps in Tweets,The future of Twitter,The next wave

“We want developers to be able to build applications that run within Tweets.”
- @Sippey post on changes to Twitter API

I’ve been through the usual round of emotions in reaction to one of Twitter’s periodic “adjustments” to the Twitter API access rules. Denial and anger took a few days. I tried bargaining with my contacts at Twitter HQ earlier this week. Depression was yesterday. Now I’m up to acceptance. What would it mean to actually build apps into tweets? It could be really cool. (Note to self: adopt stance of suspension of disbelief. Act as if Twitter can build something this big in a reasonable amount of time. ) Sorry, back to acceptance.

As I was saying, being able to add your own code to a potential base of 400 million tweets a day is a huge amount of new real estate. Developers won’t be able to resist this much fertile territory. If everything people now do on the web can be done inside tweets, then Twitter becomes the new web. Imagine a web suddenly opening up with no apps. Think some people will try to populate it?

Let’s be honest. Twitter is now the transport protocol for the Internet. If a huge percentage of the information packets are sent and received as tweets, then more content and functionality should be attached to those tweets. Instead of passively residing on websites, this content and functionality will have a date, sender, and multiple recipients attached. It is a paradigm shift, and those always breed new waves of development.

But won’t that make developers even more dependent on Twitter? Yes. Won’t Twitter be able to arbitrarily kill competitors and substitute their own apps? Yes. Isn’t this just another huge case of letting a thousand flowers bloom? Yes. The risks are clear. The rewards are too great to resist. If Twitter builds this, the developers will come. The VCs will follow. The land rush will happen.

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