ping timeout_

New Twitter Display Requirements: Open letter to Twitter

Dear Twitter,

Michael Sippey has recently released a post on the Twitter Developer Blog, in which he explains that Twitter was closing its API. This strategy, of course, has its pros and its cons. Unfortunately, the pros are mostly for Twitter itself, and cons are for its users.

Let’s look at what’s written on this blog, shall we?

That is, we want developers to be able to build applications that run within Tweets. Just a few days ago, our CEO Dick Costolo said, “What you’ll see us do more and more as a platform is allow third parties to build into Twitter.” This is something we’ve been talking about for a while, and we’re looking forward to adding new ways for developers to do this.

Alright, so encouraging the development of third-party apps seems to be the right thing to do if you want to gain popularity from all kind of users. A user + an app that fits him = a happy user, that will probably spend hours on your network, and eventually click the ads that you placed.

These efforts highlight the increasing importance of us providing the core Twitter consumption experience through a consistent set of products and tools. 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.

“Should not build apps that reproduce the mainstream Twitter experience”? That looks nice, apps providing a new Twitter experience should be valorized, don’t you think so?..

…because it looks like you don’t. That was obviously the post written just before you released info about that API 1.1.

Let’s take a look at those Display Guidelines, that will soon be required. Overall, they’re really restrictive. What if the user doesn’t like those guidelines? What if I want the avatar to be on the right side of the tweet? Oh, heresy, I’m banned. Too bad.

No other social or 3rd party actions may be attached to a Tweet.

I just don’t get those kind of decisions. If you can share a tweet on Facebook, for example, doesn’t that show the people on Facebook the kind of cool content you can get on Twitter?

The user’s name and @username should be displayed on one line, with the name first.

This kind of details is really personal. I won’t review all of them, but why not just let the developer or the user choose what layout he likes the most?

Tweets that are grouped together into a timeline should not be rendered with non-Twitter content. e.g. comments, updates from other networks.

Why not? I mean, I get why, as a society, you don’t want that, but you users want it and they got it for multiple years. So why take that from them now?

Oh, and by the way: Twitter for Mac can’t even show an individual tweet. Please update, before Tweetbot for Mac gets all your clients.

Wait, actually, don’t; if it gets updated you’ll make it use the #NewNewTwitter guidelines, which I don’t like at all. I might use Bootstrap, but this is just too much. Useless features, lag and bad design choices… nooope.

Tweetie used to be good.

On a last note, think about it: innovation and differentiation is what makes an app unique. If you just force all the apps to look the same, they will not sell. Make all the Twitter clients look exactly the same as your shitty (sorry for that) official clients, and you will die.

Google+, Diaspora, Facebook, App.net, Heello, all their doors are opened, but I chose yours. Don’t make me return on my decision.

Thanks for your time.

– Baptiste Candellier (@outadoc)

PS: also, this.

This project is maintained by outadoc