Social Media Update

Twitter Threatens Third Party Clients

Developers are worried that Twitter may begin to limit their ability to create third party clients. An announcement from Ryan Sarver on Twitter’s development mailing list has angered the developer community by suggesting that the proliferation of alternative apps and clients is damaging to overall user experience.

“Twitter will provide the primary mainstream consumer client experience on phones, computers, and other devices by which millions of people access Twitter content (tweets, trends, profiles, etc), and send tweets. If there are too many ways to use Twitter that are inconsistent with one another, we risk diffusing the user experience.”

This is bad news for companies like HootSuite, with its newly introduced tiered pricing system for pro users, and TweetDeck, recently acquired by UberMedia for £19m. While it is unlikely that Twitter will revoke API access for the most popular clients, it is possible that new restrictions will be imposed on positioning of ads and elements of interface design. Let’s hope Twitter doesn’t allow a desire for control to stifle innovation on the platform.

Anonymity, Authenticity, Privacy and Circles

Interesting article on ReadWriteWeb discussing anonymity and authenticity as part of a SXSW debate. 4chan founder Chris Poole makes the case for anonymity: “Anonymity is authenticity… It allows you to share in an unvarnished, unfiltered, raw and real way. We believe in content over creator.” Robert Scoble, on the other hand, argues that “real change comes from people putting their necks on the line”: investing in an argument with their real identity, in a community where they are known and have status.

The introduction of Facebook-powered comments on third-party sites brings the issue of identity to the forefront: users have to decide whether they want every blog comment to be tied to their real name, and visible to their real-world connections. The adoption of multiple personas and the difficulty of segregating content for consumption by different circles in our real life networks has led some to speculate that there is a gap in the market for a tool that can help us navigate these privacy challenges. Rumours that Google is set to unveil a new social network called Google Circles show there is appetite for such a service, though Google has repeatedly denied any such product is in development.

Social Tools for Japan Earthquake

In the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, everyone has been doing what they can to help. Google created a Crisis Centre, along with the Person Finder tool allowing relatives and friends to both search for and contribute information on missing people. Twitter has compiled a useful list of accounts and hashtags to follow for crisis news. As mobile networks suffer outages, people have been communicating via Skype: the service is apparently providing free WiFi and 80 yen of free credit for all Japanese users.

You can donate to the relief fund via Facebook on the American National Red Cross Causes page, and you can even donate through iTunes.

Diesel Island

The new Diesel Island campaign has been building buzz over the past couple of weeks. Visitors to the island are encouraged to sign in with Facebook to become a resident: residents can then become citizens in the community, and claim their own territory as a settler. You can tell the island’s government what you dislike, propose new laws, or run for president.


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