Twitter Chaos and TweetKit

Here’s a part of this Twitter chaos that I don’t understand.

Okay, so there’s a new limit where a particular application can only add 100,000 user tokens before it hits a limit, and needs to “talk to Twitter” to request more. People are assuming that this talking to Twitter won’t go well, and that effectively there will be a hard limit of 100,000 users on any new Twitter app.

So let’s say I have a successful Twitter app, and I want to make some money off of it. I’ve hit my 100,000 user limit, however, and my app is cut off. Should I turn out the lights and go home?

Why wouldn’t I just launch a new application, using the same code base, rebranded? If I do that, under the current rules, I’m good for another 100,000 users.

Twitter could block this by changing the rule to be 100,000 per company, in which case you start a new company under a new name. Another option would be to sell the app as a “kit” that others can use to sell their own 100,000 copies.

Twitter has set themselves up for a game of whack-a-mole here. Their alternatives seem to be blocking out third party clients completely, or stop trying to block them at all.

Here’s an option I haven’t seen discussed: How about working with third party Twitter client developers to have them be working towards your own goals?

As I understand it, the problem Twitter has is they want to have more control over the branding, appearance and behaviour of Twitter clients, so they can have a richer platform upon which they can sell things.

Third party Twitter clients (like TweetBot or TweetDeck) have created alternate experiences for Twitter users, and that works against Twitter’s goals.

Here’s my proposed solution: Have Twitter produce a library that third party Twitter clients must use to display tweets.

It could be as simple as a view that renders a single tweet:

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Or code that you call to render the tweet onto an existing context. The view would have a delegate that it could use to tell the app when things happened like the user clicking on a link or toggling “expanded” or “regular” view of the tweet. The lower-level tweet drawing code would have a lower level API.

I believe a solution could be found that would let Twitter control the in-Tweet experience while still giving app developers the ability to build cool apps around Twitter.