I knew it was coming, but I wasn’t following it that closely: The death of the third party Twitter client. For those who don’t know, Twitters quick ascent to popularity was greatly added by the huge developer support in making twitter available on every platform both new and old. This backing saw devices like commodore 64 and even houses being able to tweet. Not particularly useful, but it was proof of how simple and powerful twitter was as well as how dedicated the community was.
With any large platform, you see advocates and it’s these people that the developer community ended up catering for. As a result of this a lot of features that you see built into twitter today were actually conceived by the community and then twitter implemented them. So happy days; a growing platform and a vibrant developer community. It was all looking great until twitter became mainstream and the advertising dollars started rolling in. Now it seems that twitter is trying to push third party apps to the sidelines by introducing limits on the number of people that can use a third-party app (through the token system) and effectively killing all apps that don’t update to twitter’s new 1.1 API.
To most people this won’t seem like much of an issue, Facebook only has one app why would there be another Twitter one? For me, it makes Twitter far less exciting since we’ll be less likely to see cool new services or apps make use of twitter as a platform because it just won’t be worth the hassle for that develop.
It’s a huge shame, but there are alternatives. App.net is a platform I’ve been exploring over the past couple of days and I’ll post about in the next couple of days. In the meantime, since twitter is mainstream and chances are you have to still use it the official Twitter app and Tweetdeck are your best choices.