Without the help of third-party apps like Tweetie and Tweetdeck,
the company likely would not have been nearly as successful at
building the network (and a ready-made client like Tweetie
certainly wouldn’t have been sitting there waiting to be
acquired). But the ecosystem didn’t just build demand for the
network — it also helped build and distribute the behavior that
now makes Twitter so valuable: the @ mentions, the direct
messages, re-Tweets and so on, none of which were Twitter’s idea
originally. That created a huge amount of goodwill, and led to the
(apparently mistaken) idea of an ecosystem.
Great piece, and I share Ingram’s sentiments. It’s not that I think Twitter is wrong in any moral sense to do whatever they want with their own API — it’s that I think they’d be foolish to do anything that dampens the diverse ecosystem of client software that has evolved around Twitter. They’re acting against their own self-interest, but apparently don’t realize it.