Twitter: Turning Kings in to Serfs

Ben Brooks felt strongly enough about the changes to the Twitter API changes that he pushed this [post][art] past his recently implemented pay wall.

> When you are focused on just making money you not only end up screwing people over, but you end up gutting your service. Twitter is gutting the soul from itself and that makes me sad.

I think that Ben is missing the real problem here. The issue is not that Twitter is just focused on making money, the issue is that the focus that made the service great is gone.

When Twitter started it’s goal was to get users. To get users Twitter had to treat those using it’s service like kings. They let 3rd party clients crop up all over, simply because there was no way Twitter on it’s own could keep up with the demand.

The goal of Twitter has changed, now it’s make money. We’re not even talking steady growth of money, they need a huge amount. All those early investors want to see big returns, and Twitter has to deliver. So Twitter doesn’t focus on bringing the best experience possible to it’s users, it’s trying to make it’s users as appealing as possible to advetisers. That’s a whale of a different colour than how Twitter started.

If Twitter started out with a solid business model (paying for API access, or charging users) we would have a very different Twitter. Twitter would have been profitable reasonably quickly (there certainly is an amount of users needed to break even) and the goal would still be to provide the best experience possible to users.

The current problem with Twitter is not that they’re now trying to make money, it’s that they didn’t have a viable business plan from day one. They’ve turned those kings into serfs that are for sale.

[art]: http://brooksreview.net/2012/08/twitter-bullshit/

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