Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Twitter’s Landscaping Problem

MG Siegler:

Rarely is more better. But with Twitter, I think it’s actually detrimental. Twitter was born out of simplicity. It’s the natural extension of post cards and SMS and status messages. It’s the service that everyone in the world should have access to regardless of device.

These Twitter Cards sounds like a move in the opposite direction. Rich media, best viewed on computers and smartphones. Shiny stuff. Distractions. And ads. It just doesn’t sound like Twitter.

I know why they’re doing this — there’s no money to be made solely in 140-character blurbs. But there won’t be a company at all if Twitter doesn’t play this right. So far, it looks like they aren’t. Between shutting down API access to Instagram users, and delivering a “consistent experience” (amongst other nudges in the direction of a vertical Twitter ecosystem), it’s not looking good for those who love the Twitter experience of yore.

I’ve previously linked to Craig Hockenberry’s list of things Twitterrific did first. Just a couple of days ago, Twitter made official the $[ticker symbol] syntax implemented in a number of third party clients. These are simple, elegant improvements to the existing infrastructure. The idea of Cards is a step in favour of complexity, not simplicity. And it’s a sign of VC meddling in favour of increased revenue, instead of maintaining a happy user base.