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A Developer Speaks: Why No Chirp 2.0 Conference?

Twitter’s inaugural Chirp Twitter Developer Conference went down this week last year (and with quite a bang if these party pics are any indication). So what’s the word on Chirp 2.0?

As of this writing the official Twitter Chirp page was still showing preview information for last year’s conference. All Things D reports a response from Twitter spokesman Sean Garrett:

“Twitter has not scheduled Chirp 2.0, said spokesman Sean Garrett, but it does hope to host such an event at some point. In the meantime, the company is planning smaller developer gatherings, he said, adding that Twitter is “going to do more lowkey stuff before we go big again.”

With Twitter’s recent official statements instructing developers to stop recreating core functionality and provide a constant user experience to Tweeters, there is an obvious section of the Twitter API developer community who have differences of opinion on what the API about. Twitter’s platform director, Ryan Sarver posted this to the API developer’s email list:

“Twitter will provide the primary mainstream consumer client experience on phones, computers, and other devices by which millions of people access Twitter content (tweets, trends, profiles, etc.), and send tweets. If there are too many ways to use Twitter that are inconsistent with one another, we risk diffusing the user experience.”

The implication is that Twitter itself will provide these services and developers can provide others. The email goes on to list key areas of development that are ‘thriving’ where he noted many companies that had built winning integrations with the Twitter API. Cited were a dozen companies including Foursquare, Hootsuite, Klout and Instagram – all examples of companies using the API to make their own product better and not simply repackaging something Twitter already does.

Twitter is just out of the gate as it tries to find a successful business model with Promoted Tweets and eventually other products. What produces profit, more than anything, will dictate where the API fits into Twitter’s overall plan. Last year’s Chirp conference was held at a time when the API was still relatively new.

With Twitter’s acquisition of Atebits for the Tweetie iPhone app, they announced they were turning more focus towards promoting and protecting their API as a resource and possible revenue stream. A conference was a great promotion tool for the API and Twitter in general.

Fast forward to now: we have official Promoted Tweets and an unsure view of Twitter’s API plan moving forward. Promoted Tweets will likely put a whole niche market (third-party tweet ads) out of business as Twitter tries to tighten the reins and muscle in on a bigger piece of it’s own pie. There will definitely be other niche development markets affected as Twitter broadens its revenue options.

The recent CNN report claiming that UberMedia was considering creating its own social network to compete with Twitter may be a small score for developers who would like to see Twitter’s development community to remain an open API. Competition always improves a marketplace.

If I had to guess, I’d say there will be a Chirp 2.0. It’s just not time yet.

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