There has been a lot of noise over the last week about Twitter revoking access to their API to LinkedIn. It was billed as a battle of the social media channels, with Twitter choosing to flex their not inconsiderable muscle towards LinkedIn and taking a stand. Most of what was written was actually rubbish. I was surprised by the quality of some of the names who chose to get involved. Lets take a close look at what has actually happened.
Twitter have chosen to disable a feature that was massively unpopular. That being the ability to post tweets direct to your LinkedIn profile. A few months ago LinkedIn chose to remove the twitter app from those available to use with your profile. The reason given was that the users hardly used it and it was only cluttering up the app suite. On the most part this app was preety useless, as it only served to add tweets as a constant stream of updates. This practice was hugely unpopular with LinkedIn users who got a flooded stream of mostly irrelevance. I turned this off when I installed the app, though I did like having the facility to see which LinkedIn connections I had that I didn’t follow, so that I could follow them. I would like to see that facility back in either channel, or some other app. It could be that Twitter chose to remove some access in retaliation for the removal of this app. The only other change is that I can no longer update my LinkedIn profile by adding #In to my tweets. Again that is brilliant, because I occasionally retweeted a blog post and left #In in the title, inadvertently updating my profile with someone elses content. I never used this feature because I always wanted to add an image to my updates (you get a lot more opens when you do), and I can only do this from LinkedIn.
I can still post LinkedIn updates to Twitter from my profile, groups, comments, polls, questions, jobs etc. Sharing the LinkedIn link from updates is more valuable because retweets count as shares in the algorythm that calculates and promotes trending content to other users. For me at least, the changes mean business as usual, and it is my LinkedIn user experience that is improved by removing the tweets from the updates.
Looking at the wider picture though, Twitter taking a tighter, LinkedIn like stance over the use of their API may have other ramifications for other applications. If, for example, they were to introduce a non-compete clause as with LinkedIn, might we see the end of applications like Hootsuite that compete with Twitter owned Tweetdeck? I should think other apps that currently export Twitter profiles and data to other locations will also be sweating a bit, and there are quite a few of those. Could be that Twitter feel they have now achieved a critical mass of 100million users, and want users to stay in the channel, rather than work outside of it. Time will tell,
Interesting times ahead, but does this change impact on me now? No, not really. It is much-a-do about nothing for now, at least.