Twitter has often been referred to as the hippie of social media, presenting an open and friendly demeanor to third party applications that sync with the social media giant. As a result, there are literally thousands of apps out there that can be used to post to Twitter feeds. Twitter apps are so prolific that as many as 90% of Tweets at any given time are coming from third party sources.
The problem stems not only from the loss of revenue that results from fewer Twitterati viewing ads on Twitter.com, but also the loss of control over the experience and interface that comes from having so many removed users. Providing an intentional and consistent image is very important to presenting a strong brand to consumers. In the beginning Twitter willingly relinquished this opportunity in favor of camaraderie within the tech space and quick growth. Now the company seeks to reclaim its right to interact ‘face-to-face’ with a following of 200 million.
Just a couple of days ago Twitter announced that it will acquire TweetDeck, one of the largest third-party applications. The acquisition carried a reported price tag of $40 million. This deal represents a big step for Twitter toward gaining more control over the user interface, as TweetDeck users account for an estimated 5.5% of postings every day. This deal is not the first of its kind; Twitter acquired Tweetie, a popular iPhone and Mac desktop application, on April 9th, 2010. In addition, Twitter has requested that companies seeking to create apps for private revenue should stop.
Twitter continues to strive to live politely amongst the field of complimentary third party applications that it encouraged in its fledgling years. According to company leadership, the desired result from recent acquisitions is to first and foremost perfect the user experience and create a more cohesive Twitter brand.