Let’s be clear - a Twitter that functions as an open platform charging folks for API usage and a services model is riskier than one which makes basic assumptions about consumer engagement and ad revenue. Raising the massive amount of capital at a high valuation had implications broader than just a large deposit into Twitter’s bank account. It fundamentally meant they had a model they were doubling down on, and that model was advertising.
I must break you
Finally got around to reading Dalton Caldwell’s letter to Mark Zuckerberg. If you are in the social software business you should too.
I can relate because I’ve been there - quite recently as a matter of fact. I won’t name names but it sounds like ‘sh*tter’.
Caldwell captures the essence of the challenge for developers like him, but also for the big social ‘platform’ providers.
Once you start down the slippery-slope of messing with developers and users, I don’t have any confidence you will stop.
I believe that future social platforms will behave more like infrastructure, and less like media companies. I believe that a number of smaller, interoperable social platforms with a clear, sustainable business models will usurp you. These future companies will be valued at a small fraction of what Facebook and Twitter currently are. I think that is OK. Platforms are judged by the value generated by their ecosystem, not by the value the platforms directly capture.
He’s absolutely correct, and if history isn’t exactly repeating itself, it’s at least rhyming.
I spent many years in and around the ecosystem of former platform juggernaut Microsoft (believe it or not, there was a time - not long ago - when Microsoft was not only a but the dominant force in technology. Yes, I’m that old…). When Microsoft was clubbing companies like IBM, DEC & Novell (again, I’m old) it was specifically because of the loyalty they had engendered from their developer ecosystem.
And when they started competing with that ecosystem in the mid-late ‘90’s, it was the beginning of the end (although my friend Ray Wang, among others, has been asserting that they are belatedly recognizing the errors of their ways).
For a more current example, take a look at the IOS vs. Android market - without 3rd-party developer support, it doesn’t matter how good your phone is.
The biggest challenge facing Facebook and Twitter right now is that, because of the pressure being placed on them by the financial community, their need to monetize - directly - prevents them from having the time or the ability to cultivate the 3rd-party-developer ecosystem they need to establish their social platforms as dominant.
In many ways, it’s nice to be Zuck - but I’m not sure I’d want to be him right now. Even if he wants to be a good guy and cultivate Dalton and others, he can’t.
Whose hands does this play into right now? My money’s on Google.
Twitter vs. Facebook - Simplicity vs. Complexity
I love the direction that Twitter is going in, which is diametrically-opposed to what Facebook is doing. I expressed my thoughts on the latter on Focus.com yesterday.
Obviously, what network we use for what communication depends on a number of factors, but Twitter’s simplicity, while sometimes limiting, still seems to draw me there much more frequently these days.
‘Timeline’ does just the opposite…
Facebook is adding more features that could complicate things for the users it already has, while Twitter is focusing on making it simpler to use for “everyone”.
Terms to NOT use if you want to be followed
Generally speaking, I try to be pretty open in terms of who I follow back on Twitter - it’s a great platform for discovering new conversations and ideas, and I enjoy having the opportunity to engage with new people.
Real people, that is.
But there are a few terms that, if they’re in your profile, make you a no-follow. If you’re a real person - and you want real engagement - suggest you keep them out of your profile. Maybe that’s just me, but here are some of mine…
- Penny stocks
- Trump Network
- Let’s connect on LinkedIn and Facebook too! (uh, who are you again?)
- Real Estate - not normally objectionable by itself, but what’s with all the realtor follows on Twitter?
Nobody remembers who the first CEO of radio or TV was.
Let’s remember one of the cardinal rules of social media. Out of 100 people, 1% will create the content, 10% will curate the content, and the other 90% will simply consume it.