Like a bully in the playground of their own creation, Twitter is respected and avoided by other kids. There is one cool kid who is as feared and respected as the bully though. And his name is Tweetdeck.
After a couple of years of tussling with various external clients, Twitter has made the decision that if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em and is now digging deep to buy Tweetdeck for a reported $40-50 million.
Twitter has behaved like a stereotypical bully. It wants to be the best in the playground and has warned app developers against building anything too similar to its own products – just look at the way it suspended UberMedia for trying to cash in on Twitter’s features.
Twitter has been acquiring companies like Summize (a search engine that index Twitter posts), GeoAPI (a location service), Tweetie (another mobile/desktop client), and even Cloudhopper (a sms service company) over the past couple of years – steadily contributing to their growing Twempire. Why? Well, the most obvious reason is that these small additions make the site, and therefore, the Twitter experience, rich with features. The other, is that the bigger and more feature-rich Twitter.com becomes less threatened by competing third party platforms like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, and Cotweet become.
Twitter finally had enough some time ago and told third party developers to abide their policies or hit the road. UberMedia were a recent victim of this new hard-line. When they violated Twitter’s tradmark (including the use of the word Twitter), the god-father suspended their operations.
So why buy Tweetdeck? Well, there are two reasons: One being the opportunity to cement its popularity with Twitter’s power users. The people who love Tweetdeck because of the columns for easy browsing, quick updates and the way it acts as a command centre for all things social media (integrating Facebook, Linked In and Foursquare features). The other reason is a purely financial move on the part of Twitter, Tweetdeck currently holds the key to an audience and potential money revenue for Twitter. Twitter may have the 200+ million people but the organization is still struggling to find a consistent way of making money. Tweetdeck will allow Twitter to monetize their platform in a way the current “promoted tweets” system isn’t delivering. So this is a big Win for twitter because it’s essentially regaining it’s own customers again.
Mario Almonte, a Huffington Post Tech and Political Blogger shared his thoughts with us on about Twitter’s latest toy “By buying a formal, third-party platform like Tweetdeck, it will give them an excuse to throw advertisements at its users without necessarily polluting the pure experience of tweeting.”
However, with positive there will be negatives to it as well; “Twitter, is all about Twitter” as Marinal Desai from Techcrunch puts it. I agree, and suspect that this deal will mean you can say goodbye to the Facebook, Foursquare and Linked In features on Tweetdeck. This is cause for celebration at the Hootsuite offices because it’s likely they’ll become the default replacement to Tweetdeck in its present form.
Lindsey Holmes, an online branding specialist, makes the point that when purchasing a business, you should add value to its consumers by improving its current state. Can this acquisition mean that Tweetdeck’s features will be implemented into Twitter.com to give it more of the same look and functionality as Tweetdeck? Will there be a way to add other accounts instead of logging in and out? Could it also mean that that the best features of Tweetie and Tweetdeck will be combined to make the ultimate Twitter desktop and mobile platform?
These features, if implemented, would be a big improvement for personal or business ease of use. We’d love to hear your thoughts about what will Twitter do with Tweetdeck.