Twitter throws another hand grenade in the swimming pool, and decides that photo-sharing is something it needs to control.
The bigger question isn’t just photo-sharing (although why didn’t they buy one of the existing players instead of a odd partnership with Photobucket?) but their larger ambitions.
We live in an increasingly liquid world, and everything of interest seems to flow through the Twitter stream first. These bits are linked by URLs, usually shortened ones, and we now generally click on the links to see what they point to. That takes us out of Twitter, and inevitably, Twitter management would like us to stay in Twitter.
So, ultimately, Twitter will want to resolve all the media that are referenced by these URLs, and pull that into context for its users. That will include photos, videos, news, and anything else that the world can dream up.
So the real fallout of this most recent move isn’t just the crumbling of the dreams of photo sharing startups, but the reverberations through any service that is operating as an appliance on top of Twitter, resolving any sort of URLs and rendering them for users.
Twitter obviously wants to control the user experience of Twitter users, and wants to keep those users looking at Twitter real estate. So that means they will want to own and control the experience of contextualizing media in the stream.
The next ones to worry should be all the hot new social news apps that rely on the Twitter bloodstream to bring them oxygen.
We should expect Twitter to build or buy a Flipboard or News.me app, and destabilize that niche just like it is doing in the photo sharing space, today.
- Photobucket: Twitter’s surprise new partner for photo-sharing tool (guardian.co.uk)
- Twitter Announces Photo Sharing With Photobucket, New Search Capabilities (blogherald.com)