By updating its iOS and Android apps and releasing an all-new iPad app, Twitter aims to bring more users than ever back into the fold. Read this blog post by Daniel Terdiman on Internet & Media.
With the "mobile first" strategy it unveiled today, Twitter achieved two key goals: creating a look and feel that more than ever resembles Facebook's, and asserting new dominance over users' Twitter experience.
On the surface, the announcements of new Twitter profiles, common across all devices and operating systems and top-heavy with a single cover photo, as well as a new photo stream, and an all-new iPad app, are essentially incremental moves, albeit ones that streamline users' mobile experiences.
But for years, the company has been trying to bring its users back into the fold, slowly limiting their third-party options, either through acquisitions of popular apps like TweetDeck or Posterous or through locking out third-party photo services like TwitPic, and yFrog -- which Twitter quietly did today with the new versions of its mobile apps. And all in the guise of gaining more control over the advertising dollars generated by the service.
Today, despite Twitter's base of more than 140 million active users and 400 million daily tweets, the user experience is clearly fragmented -- and so is revenue generation. Whereas Facebook keeps its users essentially locked into a walled garden of its Web site and its mobile apps, Twitter's users access the service not just through Twitter.com and Twitter's own apps, but also through a broad set of third-party apps such as Hootsuite, MetroTwit, Echofon, and others. "Twitter was built on the back of third-party developers," said Noah Everett, the founder of TwitPic, "but now those developers are getting the shaft. I'm sure the pressure coming down from [Twitter's] boardroom is pretty intense [to try to] control the eyeballs and control the message."