Twitter changes the way that third-party clients can interact with the service, tightening the clamps that they put in place last year. Basically, that end of the ecosystem is effectively dead.
Matthew Panzarino, Twitter API Changes Set Maximum User Cap for 3rd Parties
There’s no way to sugar coat it. These changes effectively kill off the growth of the third-party client ecosystem as we know it. Twitter wants people to be using its official apps and seeing tweets exactly as they’re displayed both there and on the web version of Twitter. This has a lot to do with features like Twitter cards and advertisements, which in turn have a lot to do with Twitter’s partnerships with media companies and brands.
The silver lining, if you can call it that, is that your favorite clients that currently exist will likely stick around and there’s nothing that is going to stop you from using them or the developers from continuing to work on them. The caps are sizable and there is room for many, like Tweetbot, to continue to grow.
But it likely does kill off the desire for others to get into the client game, which is just fine with Twitter. And, at some point, those clients will hit their maximum limit. That’s when their developers will start having to ask some hard questions about their business.
The future is all about Twitter and its official apps, you might as well get used to it.
Panzarino lists all the tech specs of the API throttling, but it doesn’t matter. It’s over. Get used to official Twitter clients.
Twitter doesn’t want to be an Erector Set, where anyone can build a crane or a race car or a bridge. They want to build a well-engineered customer experience, where Twitter can push sponsorships, new sorts of pages, new kinds of inline expansions of URLs where they can pull in media content, and where they can make deals with the publishers of that media.
Just think about the possibilities with TV. Imagine clicking on a URL from HBO that allows a sixty second clip from Game Of Thrones to be run, along with an HBO banner along the bottom. But the context for the URL to be expanded has to be managed in a specific way across all clients, so that Twitter can get paid by HBO, and where customers can rely on a consistent experience.
Twitter is headed right into the central DNA of medialand, and no third party clients are invited along for the ride unless they have already been absorbed as organelles already, like Tweetie and Tweetdeck. The rest are evolutionary dead-ends.