Over the past few weeks it seems that Twitter has been moving to drastically redefine what the service is about. Moving to limit API connections and placing restrictions on how third parties interface with it.

This has limited the usefulness of third party tools that others love and risks damaging the ecosystem that has built up around the service – although, as I have remarked in the past, building a business around a single third party service is asking for trouble.

Now, there must be sound business reason why the folks at the big blue bird decided to do this but I can’t help feeling that they’re missing an opportunity to reach out to these developers.

Twitter is more than a messaging service, it’s a protocol. It’s a way of loosely connecting services together without having to write a specific connection mechanism, for example, this is how I get IFTTT updating my todo list.

It would be a real shame to see the utility of this sacrificed in order to turn Twitter into just another eyeball engine for adverts. Thankfully, other systems exist, and my hope is that we will see a more distributed ecosystem evolve.

Update 20/9/12: Got an email from IFTTT today, and it seems that they are being forced to remove all Twitter triggers from their service. Which means no more archiving, or traffic updates among other things. I’m sure this must all make sense from a business point of view, but it seems a crying shame to systematically make the service less useful to people.

Image “Fail Whale” by Yiling Lu