Lately Twitter has become very protective over the the way it’s service is used by 3rd parties in respect of it’s application programming interface (API). The reasons are quite simple, Twitter is trying to control it’s ecosystem so it can maximise the potential from advertising.
Many have balked at the idea that the very platform that has assisted in the demise of oppressive regimes is itself becoming dictatorial. Nobody is saying that Twitter should not be allowed to make money, but that it may have a social responsibility in terms of access to it’s service.
Feelings have been running so high for many that it has lead to the birth of a fairly strong competitor, App.net. Although App.net is a paid service, in itself it is not a Twitter clone, rather a platform upon which other developers can build services from the Twitter like functionality.
Whilst the battle for your 140 characters rages, in the background users are currently experiencing a loss of functionality in some other applications, such as the ability to find your Twitter Followers who are also using Instagram for example.
Even more inconvenient has been the loss of the ability to “cross-post”; that is taking your updates from Twitter and automatically sharing them in other places, LinkedIn as an example.
This practise is frowned upon by some purists, but for others it is the only way to manage multiple social platforms in a resource demanding world. Also the ability to use your Tweets elsewhere isn’t only restricted to “cross-posting”. Archiving Tweets is also something that many found useful and a services such as IFTTT (If This Then That) made this relatively easy to do up to now.
The Efficiency of Automation
If you’ve not used IFTTT it is a fantastic service that can automate tasks dependant on other actions via what it calls recipes.
Some popular recipes include:
- Backing up your Instagram photos to Google Drive
- Text the weather to your phone every morning
- Send your starred Google Reader articles to Evernote
- Add your foursquare checkin history to your Google Calendar
Twitter’s Finger is on the Trigger
Unfortunately, any recipes that are triggered by Twitter will be removed on 27th September 2012 due to Twitter’s new policy:
In a recent statement CEO of IFTTT Lane Tibbets said “As a result of these changes, on September 27th we will be removing all Twitter Triggers, disabling your ability to push tweets to places like email, Evernote and Facebook. All Personal and Shared Recipes using a Twitter Trigger will also be removed.”
This is obviously bad news for third party developers and IFTTT, and also means this list of “Twitter Triggers” will no longer be available for end users.
BufferApp to the Rescue
If you are using Twitter combined with IFTTT to update multiple social media channels, like LinkedIn, there is a solution.
Using a tool called BufferApp you can update multiple social networks at the same time and still be within Twitters new terms of service. BufferApp is free and already integrated with many other services allowing you to send articles, images and status updates to all of your networks. Better still it will schedule your updates for you based on time slots that you pre-configure.
In addition it will record and archive all of the updates sent through it’s service and even track the click and retweets on your behalf, so you can see what updates are working and which are not.
Unfortunately BufferApp isn’t a complete solution, but it does go some way in assisting end users who wish to utilise their social media channels more efficiently.
It is a shame that Twitter feels it is necessary to make these changes, and it would be far more beneficial for all if they could find a far more creative solution to protecting their ecosystem.
But we must not forget that Twitter isn’t the only platform trying to work within it’s own micro-climate, Facebook has had fairly strict integration policies from day one. In fact, Facebook used to be a lot less business friendly than it is now, so there is still hope for the future.
What do you think about the way Twitter is starting to commercialise itself and close down access to its systems?