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Where Does Twitter’s ‘Consistent Experience’ Guidance Leave Developers?

Twitter cut off LinkedIn’s ability to post tweets and followed that up with a post meant to guide developers’ efforts. This post has developers in it a tizzy. Why?

Well, Twitter is committed to creating a ‘consistent experience’ for users and from the tone of the post, developers haven’t been taking that commitment seriously enough.

They will now though. Oh yes, they will.

So what does Twitter mean by ‘consistency?’

From a user standpoint, The New York Times has the overwhelming sentiment pretty succintly summarized:

[T]he only thing consistent across Twitter is the lack of consistency among the products the company makes itself. . . .Users are frustrated by these inconsistencies.

From a developer standpoint, there is dismay and confusion. It seems an odd move from a company that just posted a guide to its streaming APIs little more than a month ago, with no mention of these reaffirmed Developer Rules of the Road.

Will Twitter be cutting off or severely restricting access in the coming months? Well, what would you think if you were a developer reading this?

Back in March of 2011, my colleague Ryan Sarver said that developers should not “build client apps that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience.” That guidance continues to apply as much as ever today. Related to that, we’ve already begun to more thoroughly enforce our Developer Rules of the Road with partners, for example with branding, and in the coming weeks, we will be introducing stricter guidelines around how the Twitter API is used.

We’re building tools for publishers and investing more and more in our own apps to ensure that you have a great experience everywhere you experience Twitter, no matter what device you’re using. You need to be able to see expanded Tweets and other features that make Twitter more engaging and easier to use. These are the features that bring people closer to the things they care about. These are the features that make Twitter Twitter. We’re looking forward to working with you to make Twitter even better.

Why is Twitter cracking down on developers all of a sudden? Forbes says Twitter is just cutting off the leeches . . . but isn’t that really an oversimplification? Doesn’t the platform NEED developers when thinking long-term?

Tell us what you think in the comments. Is Twitter making a mistake? And if you’re a developer does this drive you to Facebook?

(Developers image from Shutterstock)

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