Last week Twitter announced that they would be making changes to their API that developers use to access all kinds of content and information from the social network. In the announcement blog post, Michael Sippey laid out the new rules for developers and what they’re calling version 1.1 of the Twitter API. The apparent undertones of all of these new rules show that Twitter is trying to make a universal experience for everyday users of their services. In layman’s terms, they want consumers to use official and officially endorsed Twitter clients instead of those built by third parties on their own.
Some of the changes that Sippey announced included:
- “Required authentication on every API endpoint” (meaning no anonymous accessing of data)
- “A new per-endpoint rate-limiting methodology” (limiting the number of API calls a program can make to Twitter per hour)
- “Changes to our Developer Rules of the Road, especially around applications that are traditional Twitter clients” (which include strict guidelines for how any client can display tweets, having any device that comes pre-loaded with a Twitter client to be certified, and apps with large amounts of users to work directly with Twitter on their products)
[NOTE: The bracketed italicized explanations are mine, not Sippey’s.]
Twitter made a similar announcement last year when they started to make their push for a more consistent user experience. At the time of that announcement, we got intrigued and investigated which Twitter clients were actually being used. In that investigation we found that 58% of tweets were already coming from official (applications they actually own and/or operate) Twitter clients. With this latest announcement on their quest to make the user experience more consistent, we’ve decided to update our numbers from last year.
Looking at 300,000 tweets per hour over the course of August 14-16 2012, we found some very interesting results that have significantly changed from what we saw last year. For one, the use of official Twitter clients has seen a significant rise. In March of 2011 we found that 58% of tweets were coming from these official clients. Now, official Twitter clients are putting out 71% of all tweets.
Even more interesting is the shift towards mobile that we found. The Twitter website is still where the greatest number of tweets originate from, accounting for 23.36% of the tweets we analyzed (last year the site accounted for 35.4%). The remainder of that 71% is coming from official Twitter clients on mobile devices (phones and tablets), or their official mobile site. Twitter for iPhone is the most used mobile client (17.85%), followed by Twitter for Android (13.2%) and then Twitter for Blackberry (12.4%). What this is showing us is that Twitter is increasingly being used as a quick and mobile way to stay in touch with friends and the world. Rather than logging into the site or using a desktop client, more people opt for the ease of their always-accessible mobile devices.
Even when we look to the non-official Twitter clients being used to send tweets, the top two are Ubersocial For Blackberry (3.07%) and Echofon (1.87%). Both of which are Twitter clients for mobile devices.
As Twitter makes changes and tries to take back control of how everyday consumers use Twitter and see tweets, it turns out that they may not have as much to worry about as first thought. Yes, there are lot of people still using third party clients to access tweets, but Twitter’s official apps seem to have a huge dominance in the market currently.
So, what client are you using to access Twitter? Is it on your computer’s desktop or on a mobile device?