It’s not about the nerds
The thing that most of the commentators on Twitter’s API changes aren’t thinking about is this: Twitter started out as a cutting edge service used by the tech savvy. The people (myself included) who have been tweeting since 2006 or 2007 feel like they’re in some small way responsible for the services current mainstream success. Any maybe they are, but Twitter doesn’t see it that way.
Jamie brings up an excellent point. No matter how attached we are to Twitter, the company isn’t that attached to us.
Tech people have this funny way of feeling entitled to dictate how a company should be run, especially when we feel that we’ve made them successful. To a large extent, that’s how we feel about Twitter.
That would also explain why App.net was able to raise more than $500,000 – disgruntled Twitter users that feel like the company sold out. I can see the reasoning behind that, but it’s not going to stop Twitter.
In order for App.net to achieve long term success, it needs to reach critical mass. Can a service do that by charging $50 a year and having everyone start over? I’m not so sure they can.
The service will definitely get a lot of geeks on board – I gave them money and a lot of people I know did too. I did it just to give the guys behind it an opportunity to make their thoughts for a new Twitter come true.
The bottom line with many of these services is that they start off as a geek paradise, but when the time comes to make money, they are a business. Often times, those things don’t mix.