Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Twitter have banned LinkedIn. Now they ban Instagram. Instagram is owned by Facebook. Twitter is walking on dangerous ground.

Well Twitter are at it again.

Having pulled its API from LinkedIn last month (http://streamabout.blogspot.ie/2012/07/twitters-row-with-linkedin-is-about-ad.html,) thereby denying LinkedIn users the ability to post via Twitter, it has done it again. This time on Instagram.

It breaks the link between Twitter and Instagram.

What's interesting here is that at the time of the Twitter/LinkedIn announcement, a view circulated that Facebook was next to get the Twitter shove and Instagram is of course, owned by Facebook.

What Twitter are doing is to try and generate more cash, more revenue, by driving its users away from third party platforms and back onto the Twitter site itself. In doing that, it will generate more eyeballs and therefore, more advertising.

But the consequences could be high given that it seems to me anyway, as a trade between advertising dollars versus good user experience. Twitter users want to express themselves on third party sites, there's no doubt and now they can't.

Instagram is of course the darling of mobile. With 80 million users and over 4 billion photos shared, it's extraordinary growth in under 2 years for what is, a mobile only play. The 1 billion dollar acquisition by Facebook earlier this year will of course further Facebook integration and growth for Instagram which will leave Twitter out in the cold.

At the time, when Facebook paid, what was generally considered a high valuation, there was a feeling it was because there were two bidders. Subsequently I heard the other was Twitter and if this is a reaction to losing the bid, it's poor business. Forbes today have hinted at something similar.

What these Twitter moves are also doing is to aggravate the community - they'll have lost friends at Instagram and LinkedIn - not a good thing when it comes to Social Media, in return for a quick buck.

The internet started as, and always will be, an open network where things are shared and exchanged. Closed networks just don't work.

If Twitter maintains this stance and it says it is going to, it will open the opportunity for a copycat that will allow third party access. And those third parties (like LinkedIn, like Instagram) will not only adopt the copycat but make damn sure their users in turn, know all about it. Twitter will then be faced with the power of competitors.

Twitter is walking on dangerous ground.