Twitter turns a corner

September 15, 2010 | 1 comment

The Twitter DungeonDave Winer has weighed in on Twitter’s revamped site announcement, in which it announced 16 media partners whose content would be displayed within the Twitter interface when linked to:

For the first few years of Twitter encouraged guys like me to write little hack jobs to make it do things they didn’t have time to make it do. So I did. What’s the point if you don’t continue to support that work. I didn’t see my name in the list of 16 media partners. You say you didn’t know. That’s the point… You can’t know all the good stuff that’s happening so don’t make it all flow through you.

The reason Twitter is huge is that it listened hard to its users. Replies, hashtags, Twitter search, linked media, retweets and the notion of Twitter as a conversation medium are all things that came from the community rather than the platform’s developers. Yesterday’s announcement seemed to mark a turning point.

I’ve met both Ev and Biz, and I firmly believe they have their users’ interests at heart. I also don’t think Twitter is a dead platform, as Dave has suggested. But it does seem like they’ve had an ego injection: rather than listening and responding to its users, and maintaining a platform open to innovation, Twitter will pick and choose its partners.

One explanation is that there’s revenue involved; those partners might have paid to be included. I would call that fair – after all, it’s a private company with a lot of investors who need to see a return. But wouldn’t it be smarter to open the market for anyone to pay to be included, in (to be simplistic about it) a kind of Twitter content partner app store?

Picture: The Twitter Dungeon by Tony Dowler, shared under a Creative Commons license.