Is Twitter a victim of its own success or is it alienating its community with a number of dubious business decisions?
Whatever you think of the choice of business model we have you accept that Twitter is intent on making itself as much of a destination as possible, negating the need for users to leave with enhanced functionality and expanded tweets. The company is in self-preservation mode.
In the past users would clamour for "user-led" functionality to be included within the product: @replies, hashtags, retweets were all included after being proposed and adopted by members of the community.
How times change
Twitter has been consuming its ecosystem and stifling third-party opportunities and a backlash against the company means that many if its actions come in of some heavy criticism. Take the latest feature "adoption" (some may call it feature theft) in "cashtags" - clickable stock price codes such as $GOOG or $AAPL.
— Twitter (@twitter) July 31, 2012
Roll back a few years and this adoption would have been universally welcomed and applauded but now, in light of API changes and client restrictions, it is being lambasted by some as another attempt for force everyone else out of the ecosystem as it starts to replace functionality offered by StockTwits but without actually mentioning the price (yet).
Howard Lindzon of StockTwits is, obviously, not happy with the move.
There is a gulf in division of opinion between normal users of the service on the one hand and third-party developers, along with a selection of powers users, on the other. The gulf is staggering.
We have seen the start of Twitter's move towards being a fully fledged media company, with the Nascar hashtag and NBC partnership for the London 2012 Olympics, so you have to wonder whether we are heading for the logical conclusion where Twitter provides full channels such as a newsroom and a full stocks offering including rates and trends.
An advertising model requires "eyes on" so you can't blame Twitter for heading down this route but, while it might upset entrepreneurs who having been filling holes in the networks functionality, does the general public actually care beyond the primary service?