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Twitter’s Breakup With LinkedIn Signals A New Direction – But Is It The Right One?

Twitter-bird-001After a nearly three-year partnership, LinkedIn has announced that posts from Twitter will no longer be displayed on their site. The news comes as Twitter works to encourage users to visit its own services directly and not through third parties, or as Twitter’s Chief of Products Michael Sippey said in a recent blog post, to provide “the core Twitter consumption experience through a consistent set of products and tools.”

Previously, LinkedIn users were once able to connect their profiles to their Twitter accounts so that Tweets would be appear in their news feeds and on their profiles. While this will no longer be the case, updates from LinkedIn can still be sent through to a user’s Twitter account, but not vice versa. This one-way street content strategy falls perfectly in line with Twitter’s new willingness to feed content in, but not out.

“Consistent with Twitter’s evolving platform efforts, Tweets will no longer be displayed on LinkedIn,” wrote Ryan Roslansky, Head of Content Products at LinkedIn in a blog post. “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.”

In what is most likely an attempt to boost advertising revenue, Twitter has been focusing heavily on getting more people to consume tweets through its own website and on their mobile application. In fact, it has been estimated that Twitter expects to generate at least $1 billion in advertising revenue by 2014.

While this strategy is seemingly wise in enticing advertisers to enhance bottom line profits, Twitter could be leaving third-party developers out of the picture, in turn leaving little room for creativity and innovation.

"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," Sippey wrote.

This also puts Twitter on a road to become less like Facebook (for better or for worse), in that it will be less likely to become a platform to host an app marketplace of its own.

“They don’t want people to consume and interact with Twitter in places where they probably have no ability to put ads,” said Greg Sterling, analyst at Opus Research to Business Week.

Many in the developer community have expressed concern regarding Twitter’s stricter guidelines, afraid that it will ultimately end up harming its own user base by stifling innovation in exchange for short-run profits. Twitter, however, insists that these changes are aimed to benefit the users:

“We’re building tools for publishers and investing more and more in our own apps to ensure that you have a great experience everywhere you experience Twitter, no matter what device you’re using,” says the company.

According to an official count by Twitter back in September, the company claimed 100 million active users (members who log in at least once a month), making the microblogging site about an eighth of the size of Facebook. Given its trajectory, speculation has been circulating that Twitter will reach 250 million active users by the end of 2012.

This level of influence can either be a very enticing number for advertisers, or a huge opportunity to do something unique and potentially change the world. Which lens is Twitter’s leadership team looking through?

Only time will tell… 

Hisham Dahud is a Senior Analyst for Hypebot.com. Additionally, he is the head of Business Development for Fame House, LLC and an independent musician. Follow him on Twitter: @HishamDahud

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