There has been a lot of talk over the past few days about Twitter and its announcements at the Chirp conference. To help those feeling overwhelmed at the amount of news generated by the announcements, here's a recap:
- Promoted Tweets - Twitter is taking a bold step into the world of making money, and they're doing it through Ad-Sense-like promoted tweets. Searching for tweets with the word "Microsoft" will pull from a pool of paid-for "promoted tweets" from various vendors and display one of them at the top of the search results. This is very similar to Google's implementation of the same idea. However, a promoted tweet is still a tweet, and you can retweet it, reply to it, and favorite it.
- Places - A way to add locations to Twitter feeds, and making this database of information open to developers, enabling the technology to be implemented externally on Twitter links in other websites. This opens up many creative doors for developers looking for enhanced geographic features to embed in apps.
- User streams - A development tool that allows for real time updating of desktop Twitter apps from a user's feed, including re-tweets, responses, and direct messages.
- Enhanced metadata tools were unveiled, giving developers more control over tweets.
- dev.twitter.com - This new subdomain will be a place for Twitter developers to congregate and share information, documentation, and app submissions.
- Official apps - After the success of the Blackberry Twitter app and the announcement of an upcoming official Android app, developers of third-party Twitter apps were rightfully worried that Twitter was going to run them out of the industry with newly announced features that would only apply to the 'official' versions. One of the main thrusts of the conference was to pacify the third-party developers. Evan Williams, CEO, said "We want you know that the fundamental philosophy is not changing with Twitter[.] We've already believed in openness, the diversity of ideas, and that is not changing."
Many of the announcements, especially the promoted tweets roll-out, point to the goal of embracing the revenue stream. Twitter is on the verge of becoming a full-fledged money-maker, fully equipped with revenue models, IPOs and corporate bureaucracy. Whether or not this will be seen by the public as a sell-out or a grand step forward in the hopes of providing better services to its customers will be up to smart leadership at Twitter and the tenacity of its users.