Theory: Do Not Build On Top of Twitter, Built Adjacently
Semil Shah stashed this in Twitter!
I have a theory about Twitter. My theory is that, if Twitter is a foundation of a house, that to actually build a house on that foundation is a trap; instead, one should build adjacent to Twitter, not on top of it. Allow me to explain.
If this is mostly true, then people who are building services on top of Twitter -- Chime.in, or Bottleno.se, or Prismatic -- are potentially trapping themselves. Those services are built to appeal to existing Twitter users and to build an experience that leverages information from their Twitter graph and sentiments. However, the users who have used Twitter enough to have amasse mineable data may not be willing to switch their interface and give up the native feed.
Finally, if it's a trap to build on top of Twitter, what about next to it? This is what Panda Whale, Branch (formerly Roundtable), Quora, and some other services are trying to do, to provide a place where conversations that occur on Twitter can be exported, continued, and/or memorialized in a centralized place, since on Twitter it's hard to thread conversations and nearly impossible to refer back to threads.
So, that's my theory...thoughts?
I fundamentally agree.
Apps that depend on Twitter run the risk of being steamrolled by Twitter Inc. This includes everything from Twitter clients to Twitter tools. I remember a year or two ago, Fred Wilson told developers not to work on anything critical to Twitter's core.
Apps that can exist independently of Twitter but employ Twitter as a mechanism for distribution and/or feedback have a much greater ability to determine their own destiny. Instagram is a model for how to do this well.
Yes. I should be clear to say that I think one can build something using Twitter, but the location of that build is important. And, I think Twitter has been pretty clear about where they'd like devs to focus on what territory is trickier.
Twitter could make life better for developers who build next to Twitter in two ways:
1. Make Twitter OAuth reliable. We don't see Google, Facebook, or LinkedIn OAuth giving transient failures. Twitter OAuth, on the other hand, fails regularly, making for a much worse user experience.
Very True and a definite strategy.
Twitter is like a much broader and very light weight platform.
In future, it can be part of everything we do - people don't mind too much if they tweet something stupid but they are very sensitive about sharing something stupid on Facebook. Twitter is already integrated into Fb, LI, Pinterest - anything u name and this trend is going to continue!
After learning this nature of Twitter, At Airsee.com we're developing a Live Video Social Network using Twitter's platform. Where people can broadcast live at their URL (http://www.airsee.com/name) and their followers can group chat with them and have a close connection.
Very relevant to this post, We are exactly building something heavy weight (Live Video) adjacent to the light-weight nature of Twitter.
To your point, Twitter is deeply integrated with the iPhone now. Many apps tweet stuff -- Twitter becomes the exhaust for the apps people are using.
Semil wrote, "If it's a trap to build on top of Twitter, what about next to it? This is what Panda Whale, Branch (formerly Roundtable), Quora, and some other services are trying to do, to provide a place where conversations that occur on Twitter can be exported, continued, and/or memorialized in a centralized place, since on Twitter it's hard to thread conversations and nearly impossible to refer back to threads."
Next to Twitter is good.
Twitter-as-exhaust is also good: Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Pulse.me, and Flipboard all do a good job of this, and I'm sure there are plenty of other examples...