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Twitter Cuts Off LinkedIn

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LinkedIn logoAs of June 29, users can no longer post updates to LinkedIn from popular microblogging site Twitter. The change marks the end of a two-year partnership between the two social media sites and is the result of Twitter’s clamping down on developers who use their API.

Head of Content Ryan Roslansky explained on the LinkedIn blog, “Consistent with Twitter’s evolving platform efforts, Tweets will no longer be displayed on LinkedIn starting later today. We know many of you value Twitter as an additional way to broadcast professional content beyond your LinkedIn connections. Moving forward, you will still be able to share your updates with your Twitter audience by posting them on LinkedIn.”

Just prior to the LinkedIn post going live, Twitter’s Director of Product Michael Sippey announced the change on the Developer blog, in a post called “Delivering Consistent Twitter Experience.” In his announcement, he wrote:

Ultimately, we want to make sure that the Twitter experience is straightforward and easy to understand -- whether you’re on Twitter.com or elsewhere on the web.

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. 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.

Twitter’s relationship with its developers has become more strained, as the social site tries to move toward a more heavily monetized model. In the March 2011 Google Groups discussion in which Twitter’s Ryan Sarver gave an update on the state of the Twitter platform and what it meant for developers, many sounded off about their frustrations with Twitter and its API rules.

Some feel the guidelines are a moving target; that Twitter arbitrarily changes the rules as they go.

One user commented, “All third party Twitter developers, no matter what they make, are now walking on eggshells, constantly at risk of offending Twitter's ideas of how users should interact with Twitter.”

Another wrote, “Twitter continues to make hostile and aggressive moves to alienate the third-party developers who helped make it the platform it is now.”

This latest development fared no better with developers. Some think it’s time to leave the platform entirely and start an alternative, fearing this is the beginning of the end of Twitter as an open platform. Others, such as Bottlenose CEO Nova Spivack, are offering creative solutions; his focuses on a more open Twitter API policy, with monetization built-in to third-party apps.

What did users think of the change? One CBS reader expressed their disappointment in Twitter’s decision: “For those of us that use Twitter only for professional purposes - as in my case to share article or tweets that are relevant to my area of expertise and professional passion - this is actually a loss. Twitter allowed us to add a depth beyond what LinkedIn easily offers.”

However, another celebrated the change: “No more Twitter in your LinkedIn. While on the surface this news seems sad/bad/wrong for LinkedIn it is actually a good thing. Many were growing tired of seeing Twitter jargon, nonsensical hashtags Instagram pictures of what you had for lunch and Foursquare checkins that weren't very appropriate on a professional site such as LinkedIn... Twitter has done LinkedIn a favor, in my opinion, by turning off the firehose of updates that littered the professional network.”

User reaction will be mixed, though one thing is certain. They won’t care nearly as much about the change as developers would like them to. Whether Twitter’s API becomes more closed or moves back into open territory, users aren’t apt to notice or care unless their experience using the site is affected.

As things stand now, it seems Twitter is willing risk drawing the ire of their developer community, so long as they can more tightly control the user experience.


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