This has an impact on people who have been collecting and analyzing data from Twitter. Twitter has given and taken away with the new 1.1 API. Mostly taken away. More Tweets are sometimes available from the new API, up to 18,000 rather than the old 1,500 tweet limit. This is a big change, but normal users often do not get much benefit from the limit increase if the topic they are interested in has fewer tweets. The length of time tweets are retained and served is not much longer than it was.
The big change is the effective loss of the “Follows” edge. Some users of the 1.0 API used to be able to get a significant number of queries that asked about who each user followed. These queries generated data that allowed a network to be created based on which users followed which other users. The “Follows” network in Twitter has been very informative, pointing to the key people and groups in social media discussions. But now the “Follows” edge will be effectively impossible to use.
Twitter API 1.1 changes the limit on the number of queries about who follow who in Twitter to 60 per hour. In practice, a network may have several hundred or thousand people in it, making a query for each person’s network of followers impractical. With the follows edge effectively gone, the remaining edges, “reply” and “mention” become more important. These edges are far less common than the “Follows’ edge. Many people follow lots of other people but mention the name or directly reply to very few. With the loss of the Followers edge, Twitter networks can become very sparse, with few connections remaining. Dense structures give way to confetti.