Suggestions for Twitter (#helloworld)

I’m glad to see Dorsey come out with promises to improve developer relations. The benefits of having a more open, developer-friendly platform could benefit both devs and Twitter itself. They’ve asked for suggestions for improving Twitter; I’ve added mine below.

First, a few things I’ve written in the past related to this that I hope Twitter will read (Instagram and YouTube could adopt many of these things just as well):

Links, embeds, and permission on today’s semi-open web

A discussion on the above

An older discussion on improving Twitter that has several suggestions already being implemented (hooray!)

Now, my short list:

  1. Add low-cost “filtered firehose” API plans. Rather than the full feed, allow people to pay for access to feeds by search query, location, etc. These would have much higher API limits than the free ones do. Make it so that you can sign up for plans just like with other public-facing services: pricing, sign up forms, etc. Company-by-company deals only work with larger developers.
  2. Give users the ability to prevent embedding of their posts either globally or on a post by post basis. Drawing a very bright line like this makes what is and is not OK to embed very clear. Removing the cloud around acceptable use of user-generated content is sorely needed.
  3. Supply a UI or API for automatically obtaining licensing permission (requester goes to Twitter post, clicks/taps “request license to use in/on {web, billboard, TV commercial, etc.}” which sends a message to the original poster, poster can than choose to consent/refuse, response is sent to the requester.
  4. Make some public statements / legal guarantees (i.e., a promise to stand behind people/companies if they get sued when using service-provided embedding tools. The ToS does not seem like enough.) about what Twitter considers acceptable usage.
  5. Using developer relations people or ombudsmen, ask questions and listen to the answers. Allow developers to do the same. Particularly in cases where in the past something might be considered to be in a gray area. Try hard to work with people, rather than abruptly cutting off access or service.

Finally, and I don’t love saying this, but: if relations get repaired now and then broken again, I don’t think they’ll be fixable a third time.

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